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Editorial

In the End, Justice and Truth, Prevail. Take My Vindication as an Example.

NEW YORK – At 9:14 am on Thursday, October 21, 2021, I received the following e-mail from the Columbia University Associate Registrar: “I just directed that your electronic diploma be issued. You will receive the print version in three weeks. I wish you all the best…”

Indeed within minutes it hit my inbox:

“The Trustees of Columbia University confer upon Antonis H. Diamataris… the degree of Master of Business Administration…”

I knew that this moment would arrive, sooner or later.

Still, I felt a sense of relief.

Over 40 years had passed since I “studied at the Columbia University School of Business” – as I wrote in my short bio, which was posted on the Greek Foreign Ministry’s website – and nearly two years since I contacted the University requesting my diploma.

Although back in 1977, when I completed my studies, I could have gotten my diploma by filling out a form, now, after so many years, and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, this process took a long time.

 The Declaration of “War”

The story behind the scheme plotted against me is more or less public knowledge. Therefore, I will get straight to the point:

On the morning of Monday, December 2, 2019 – at the time, I was serving as Deputy Foreign Minister Responsible for Hellenes Abroad – I was informed that I had been the subject of an attack by a fringe blog.

As a public figure, I expected criticism.

Nevertheless, I expected that the criticism would be directed toward the handling of my duties; not…my studies over 40 years ago.

The blog’s main accusation was that I had “only registered” as a student at Columbia.

I did not give the post any mind;

However, things changed a few hours later, when the ex-Prime Minister and current head of the main opposition party, Alexis Tsipras, during his speech in Alexandroupoli, stated “…the university is telling us that he never set foot inside a classroom.”

Now, it’s not only irresponsible, but also dangerous for a former Prime Minister to not check his sources and to rely on a manifestly disreputable blog.

I was a “perfect” target. By taking aim at me, he was indirectly taking aim at the Prime Minister.

He overlooked the fact that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” or if you prefer, he didn’t heed the divine advice to “let him who is sinless cast the first stone.”

The Diploma

As soon as the issue of my graduate studies came up, we asked Columbia to confer my diploma as soon as possible.

Ultimately, it took almost two years for it to happen, for the following reasons:

  1. The university’s administration was obliged to scrutinize my records very carefully due to the commotion that had been stirred up against me.
  2. Its records from that era – 1977 – have not been digitized.
  3. The university closed in the early months of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. The red tape at the university was worse than expected. And, of course, my case wasn’t the only one they were handling.
  5. I was finally forced to take legal action against the university to have them expedite the issuance of my diploma. In spite of all this, I will always be grateful to Columbia for what it has given me.
  6. After the lawsuit was filed, the next date for the conferral of diplomas at Columbia University was October 20, 2021 – the date listed on my diploma. It goes without saying that the diploma could not be backdated to the year when I completed my studies – 1977. A diploma is dated the year it is actually conferred.

On October 29, 2021, the lawsuit came to an end after a stipulation was filed declaring “having reviewed its records, Columbia determined that Diamataris has satisfied all academic requirements for an MBA degree, and conferred an MBA degree on Diamataris on October 20, 2021.”

Conclusions

One-and-a-half years after my graduation from Columbia, I purchased 100% of the shares of the National Herald, Inc.

My daily struggle to ensure the survival and continual improvement of the newspaper left me no room to preoccupy myself with anything else. Not even to spend half a day applying to get my MBA diploma from Columbia.

Mea culpa. In retrospect, this was certainly a mistake.

But how was I to ever imagine that there would come a day, decades later, when I would be a member of a…government, and that the diploma would provide my opponents with the excuse to attack me – and by extension, the Prime Minister?

The regrettable part of the whole situation is this: Had I remained at my post, due to the knowledge and expertise that I developed over the past 40+ years in this sector, coupled with my close relationship with the Prime Minister, I would have solved many of the problems that have been plaguing us, Greeks living abroad for decades in their relationship with their Greek birthplace.

My dear readers,

I thank you for remaining steadfastly at my side when my character and life’s work were called into question.

This is my greatest vindication.

And please note: Justice, and truth, may sometimes be late in arriving. However, in the end, they always prevail…

Please don’t doubt this for an instant. Take my vindication as an example.

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