Nikos Androulakis, the president of PASOK-KINAL, preferred to celebrate Panagia in Montreal, together with his expatriate friends, instead of in Greece.
The decision as such is commendable and we welcome it unreservedly, regardless of, and beyond the political ‘calculations’ it may – contain.
We wish and hope that his act will serve as an example for other political leaders to follow.
From his statement I distinguish two points: Firstly, that expatriates and their descendants are “the best ambassadors of our country” and, secondly, that “we have a national duty to embrace their anxieties, especially in the matter of education, where the needs have multiplied in the last years.”
As for the first point, it is relatively simplistic and trite and, unfortunately, shows a superficial knowledge of Diaspora Hellenism.
The second, however, that “we have a national duty to embrace their anxieties, especially in the matter of education,” is important and shows that he was, at least on this point, well informed by the Montreal community.
Our schools in Montreal are among the best Diaspora schools in the world. However, with the demographic change that is taking place as a result of the reduction of immigration from Greece and because of a loan that the Community contracted with the then-subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece, which was sold in the meantime (the same thing that happened with Atlantic Bank in New York), and with weak, if not problematic leadership, the situation has reached a tipping point.
But beyond that, it is indeed Greece’s ‘national obligation’ to embrace, finally, the education system of Hellenism Abroad.
And it’s not just Greece’s obligation – it is also in her interest. And don’t think that it takes… crazy amounts of money.
And it is no longer only about facilities and teachers. The issue includes creating attractive programs in the communities and on our electronic devices. And more summer camps – the Ionian Village is great, but it is not enough. It’s about imagination and vision. The Greek school of the future for many is in the pockets of the children – and the adults who are also eager to learn the language and the history of their homeland – on their cell phones.
The problem is not finding the money. It is the appreciation of the importance of the subject. It is the will. It is the concern.
Will there be positive changes? I believe so. And, in the same vein, it will be proven that the vote of the expatriates – even if it is limited – counts.