Welcome to THI/TNH Takeover! In collaboration with The Hellenic Initiative (THI), The National Herald and THI have begun a partnership to introduce the NEXTGEN of Greek/Cypriot ‘movers and shakers’ to the rest of our Diaspora community around the world. Established to inform its readers about all things related to our homeland and its respective communities throughout the world, TNH is now providing THI’s New Leaders (40-years-old and younger), with a new platform to showcase their ideas and to engage their communities in a deeper, more meaningful way while simultaneously building a bridge to Greece and Cyprus. Our next featured New Leader is Alexander Marcopoulos. Get to know him below!
Last Name, First Name
- Tulane Law School; New York University
What city do you live in?
Where in Greece/Cyprus are you from?
What motivated you to get involved with THI?
- As a member of the Greek diaspora, my roots and cultural heritage are essential to my identity. Having a deep love and appreciation for Hellenic traditions and culture, I naturally feel a strong connection to Greece, and even more so to my fellow ‘omogeneis’. As a Greek citizen, I am also directly invested in the success of my country and its people. THI’s mission is meaningful to me for all of these reasons: I truly believe that motivated people of the diaspora like myself can make a meaningful, positive impact on Greece’s future and I am keen to do what I can to further that mission.
What do you hope to achieve through THI?
- I firmly believe there is great power in numbers, so my number one goal will be to help convince other, like-minded people in the diaspora that we can – and should – give back to the land, the people, and the culture that have given us so much.
Favorite activity to take part in where you live?
- Cycling in and around Paris is a great joy of mine and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits.
Favorite place to take your non-Greek friends when they visit you in Greece?
- Voidokoilia beach near Pylos, Messinia. Seeing the look on friends’ faces when they see it for the first time is priceless.
Go-to Greek dish when you’re missing the homeland?
- Makaronia me kima, which is also one of the few things I can confidently say I can make well.
Favorite Greek product you can find outside of Greece?
- Greek yogurt is a favorite in our house.
Top three people of Greek/Cypriot descent you admire?
- Maria Callas
- Michael Dertouzos
- Giannis Antentokounmpo
What is the biggest crisis Greece faces today?
- One of the main issues impacting Greece at the moment is the ongoing refugee crisis, as the country has been on the frontlines of migration routes from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. The large numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece have placed a significant (and disproportionate) burden on the country’s resources, which has in turn created or aggravated social and political tensions within the country.
One piece of advice an elder has given you that has proved invaluable?
- The most valuable piece of advice I have received came to me indirectly. My paternal grandfather, who I never had the chance to meet, used to tell my father to “stay informed” (“na eisai panta pliroforimenos”) each time my father left his village for his apartment in Athens, where he was studying. My father passed this advice along to me, and it guides me in all that I do.
Favorite quote from a Greek philosopher?
- It may be too obvious a choice, but it is nonetheless a quote that has served me well: “the one thing I know is that I know nothing” (“en oida oti ouden oida”).
One Greek/Cypriot tradition you’ll never stop keeping?
- I have always loved our tradition of fasting for Lent. It makes the Easter holiday so much more meaningful, and helps us understand the significance of all that happened in the lead up to the Anastasi.
How has your Hellenic background helped shape who you are today?
- My Hellenic background is an inseparable part of my identity in so many ways. But if I had to pick one aspect of our culture that stands out as an influential factor in my life, it is the importance of family. Through the love and support of my family, as well as the traditions we keep, I have developed a strong sense of loyalty, hospitality, and empathy, all of which is present in virtually everything I do.