Tom Ellis TOM ELLIS

The diaspora’s contribution

COMMENT

TAGS: Diaspora, Politics

The diaspora is, or should be, a fundamental parameter of the strength of Hellenism, whether this is rooted in Greece or in Cyprus. Some members of the diaspora inevitably stand out, mostly by virtue of their contribution.

Businessman and philanthropist Nikos Mouyiaris, who died eight months ago (and whose memory is being commemorated these days by members of the Greek Cypriot community) was such a case. Mouyaris was a pure patriot who gave a lot and in so many ways, without expecting anything in return, purely out of love for Cyprus and Greece.

However, aside from rare and outstanding individuals like him, the members of the diaspora are a good stock of people who have a lot to contribute.

For its part Cyprus is putting these people in good use. Despite their small number, Greek Cypriots spearhead a range of initiatives in major centers of global power. They engage, mobilize and react not only against Turkey’s illegal activities within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but also with regard to Ankara’s provocations in the Aegean Sea and (until the Prespes Agreement was signed) even on the Macedonia name issue.

Successive Cypriot administrations have recognized the diaspora’s role and coordinated policies with the Greek-Cypriot community in the United States and Britain – and effectively so.

Regrettably, the same cannot be said with respect to the relationship between Athens and the diaspora. Despite occasional meetings between government officials and representatives of the various organizations, and despite some isolated initiatives, there is very little in the form of a consistent and organized campaign.

Moreover, lack of unity between the groups that represent the Greek diaspora further undermines efforts to effectively coordinate with Athens.

It is a sad fact. Given their number, financial resources and scientific credentials, diaspora Greeks are well placed to exercise significant influence on a wide range of actions that could benefit Greece.

Overseas Cypriots, who are today and for the next two days holding their annual conference in Nicosia, seem to act more maturely. Sure, they are no strangers to division but, as in the case of the Greek Cypriots who live in Cyprus, the tragic experience of the Turkish invasion serves as a reminder of what is at stake and they behave accordingly.

Meanwhile, Cypriot politicians summon their National Council on a regular basis in the pursuit of cross-party consensus and invest in close and results-oriented coordination.

One hope is that Greece will soon reach a similar level of coordination with its own diaspora.

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