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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 April 2018
20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 APRIL 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM On Sunday 1 April, 350 Global Hellenic Youth delegates marched from the Zappeion Megaron to the Pnyx as part of the #bringthemarbleshome campaign. At the Pnyx, the young delegates delivered the Hellenic Youth in Action resolution statement. Driven by passion for Greece, global Hellenic youth organisations gather in Athens The first Hellenic Youth in Action Forum set out to become a point of reference for the diaspora Three hundred and fifty young Greeks; 20 countries; one shared passion - Greece, the motherland. These are the elements that ensured the success of the first Hellenic Youth in Action Forum that took place in Athens last weekend. Organised by nine Global Hellenic Unions as part of the 'Olympia 2016-2018' events program, it was run by the Zappeion Megaron's Olympia and Bequests Committee. The Global Forum was hailed as a unique opportunity for the youth of the diaspora to strengthen their relations with Greece, and to learn how to cooperate in order to achieve common goals and objectives. Over the weekend the 350 delegates delivered speeches, took part in workshops, discussed issues of local and international policy affecting Hellenic interests, issued statements and resolutions, and joined their voices to demand the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. All participants represented the youth branches of estab- lished organisations from the diaspora including the World Pontian Youth Coordinating Committee; the World Federation of Young Overseas Cypriots; the Youth Coordinating Committee of World Confederation of Thessalians; the Youth of World Council of Epirotes Abroad; the Youth of World Council of Cretans; the Youth of Pan Macedonian Association USA; the Youth of Thracian Association of Europe; the Youth of World Vlach Amphictyony; and the Youth of World Panarkadian Council. They were greeted on Saturday morning by Ioanna Samprakou, Secretary General of the Board of Directors of the Olympia and Bequests Committee of the Zappeion Megaron where the forum was held. She was followed by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Terence Quick and a series of representatives from diaspora organisations. Emceed by Greek Australian media personality Kyriakos Gold, the first day of the forum included a conference of the Global Hellenic Youth, during which representatives of the nine organisations presented their activities and suggested ways of approach and collaboration between the youth of the diaspora and the motherland. The first day concluded with a large dance festival held at Syntagma Square. After a short walk from the Zappeion Megaron to the space in front of the Greek parliament, the 350 delegates were treated to an impressive display of traditional dancing by 200 performers from nine global Hellenic associations: Cretans, Thessalians, Epirotes, Cypriots, Macedonians, Arcadians, Thracians, Vlachs, and Pontians, each showcasing their unique traditional dances. The event culminated in a spiral ‘Dance of Friendship’, choreographed by acclaimed director Fokas Evagelinos; 500 dancers and spectators joined hands to form a spiral, a symbol of tradition and contemporary Greek culture. On day two, Sunday 1 April, the young delegates attended the Divine Liturgy at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral, and to follow held a series of workshops on issues concerning the diaspora. In the afternoon they marched from the Zappeion to the Pnyx, the hill facing the Acropolis where Athenians once gathered to debate. This march was the culmination of the #bringthemarbleshome campaign held as part of the forum. Upon arrival to the historic landmark of ancient democracy, the delegation read a statement addressed to the UK parliament and the British Museum. "We, the 350 young Greeks from all over the world, ask for the illegal retention of the Parthenon Marbles to end,” read the statement. “The Parthenon Marbles are part of a Greek monument with more than 2,000 years of history, and they should be returned to where they truly belong, their homeland Greece." To follow they headed to the Acropolis Museum, where they attended a lecture by Pro- fessor Dimitrios Pandermalis, President of the Museum's Board of Directors. The forum concluded on Sunday afternoon, with a closing ceremony that included the reading of the forum's resolution statement and included a pledge by the delegates to remain faithful to the values of Hellenism and Orthodox Christianity, as well as strengthening their ties and work to provide the utmost support to Greece not only during the economic crisis, but well into the future, to keep fighting for the “National Rights of Hellenism”. The delegates took the opportunity to discuss the Macedonia issue, the plight of the two Greek army officers remaining in detention in Turkey, the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, and other issues of national interest. The participants concluded on a strong note, calling on the Greek government and all political institutions to offer their support and to create infrastructure for the teach- ing of the Greek language in all centres of the Greek diaspora. They proposed designating 2019 as year of Greek language within the diaspora and urged the government and parliament to proceed in reinstating the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, in which the Youth Network aspires to play an active role including granting voting rights to the diaspora, and establishing an official lobbying and advocacy team to liaise among prominent members of the diaspora, energising them to collaborate for the benefit of Greece. They also put forward the idea of designating a ‘Hellenic Diaspora Day’, which would include awards to acknowledge the work and dedication of individuals and organisations. "We believe in the power of Hellenism, the power of unity, to a better future, guaranteed by all of us, our fights and works," was the resolution's closing statement. "We believe in the future and prospect, because simply we are the future of Hellenism. We will make it!" Greek Australian media personality, Kyriakos Gold was the MC at the forum and presented the 200 dancers showcasing traditional dances from across Greece. Secretary General of the Board of Directors of the Olympia and Bequests Committee of the Zappeion Megaron, Ioanna Samprakou welcomes the Global Hellenic Youth delegation. The first day of the Hellenic Youth in Action Forum culminated in a dance festival held at Syntagma Square.
31 March 2018
14 April 2018