After many decades and not since the 1970s, AHEPA, the largest Diaspora organization in the world, is holding its annual Supreme Convention in Athens from July 25-31.
This is a decision of historic and practical importance with great symbolic significance, which can be a milestone in the relations between the Greek Diaspora and the Motherland.
AHEPA, as well as other expatriate organizations, are known to face significant challenges.
However, AHEPA, after a long period of uncertainty in terms of its orientation, has entered a course of development and optimism based on the new emphasis it gives to its identity, i.e. its Greek roots, and its potential to become a great global networking force for Hellenes.
This, after all, is the main message of the decision to hold its 99th Convention in Athens.
And so, the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the founders of this historic organization will return to Hellas to worship its sacred lands.
With this action, they express their gratitude to their immigrant ancestors who left their mothers, fathers, and homeland and took a dramatic dive into the unknown, in the then-very-distant-America, in order to help their parents and siblings, and to give their families a chance for a better life.
By doing so, they also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution and the decisive role that the Society of Friends – led by then-expatriates – played in shaking off the Ottoman yoke.
They emphasize their full support for Greece and Cyprus in the face of the serious danger that Turkey's expansionist policy poses to their sovereignty and well-being.
By holding their Convention in Greece, AHEPA is also supporting Greece as it struggles to cope with the great challenges it faces.
This endeavor comes at a time when, finally, we, the expatriates, have been given the right to vote in Greek elections through new laws – despite their great and in some senses offensive weaknesses – for which the current government is not responsible.
The AHEPA conference in Greece likely marks the beginning of a new era in relations between the Greek Diaspora and the Motherland.
It brings closer the powers of the Nation. It expresses an optimism that the Greek Diaspora, despite the challenges it faces, is fighting to remain faithful to its roots.
And it recognizes that Greece, despite its own problems, is making significant progress.
This Convention is, perhaps, an indirect recognition of the interdependence of Hellenism in Greece with Hellenes Abroad.
It is an assurance that the Nation is united and determined to strengthen and deepen its ties under these now-mature conditions, facilitated by revolutionary changes in technology.
For these and many other reasons, we must congratulate the Supreme President of AHEPA, George Horiates, its Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, and the rest of its leadership, and declare our support and best wishes for a great Convention.