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Monday, February 3, 2014

Global Greek Power: H.E. Jenny Polyxeni Bloomfield - Australia's Inspiring Ambassador to Greece


Ambassador Jenny Polyxeni Bloomfield 

Australia’s Ambassador to Greece and one of our most dynamic Global Greeks.
addressing guests in Greek at the 2013 ANZAC Day Commemorations in Athens and
flanked by the Greek and Australian flags.

In a first for Australia, Jenny Bloomfield was not only the first woman to be appointed as Ambassador of Australia to Greece, she is also the first Australian of Greek descent to represent Australia in Greece, the land of her birth and the country she left at the age of 12 with her parents when the family decided to emigrate. 

This must surely have gone through her mind as she walked up the steps of Athens' Presidential Palace to present her credentials in September 2011.  Her return to Greece at the very top of the diplomatic ladder as Ambassador for Australia, epitomises the very essence of Global Greek success and holds very powerful symbolism.

 Presenting credentials to the President of Greece at the Presidential Palace
 Photo Source: Diplomatic.gr



 At the entrance to Athens' Presidential Palace after presenting credentials to the President of Greece
Photo Source: Diplomatic.gr
Determined, dynamic, resourceful and hard-working, Jenny Bloomfield embodies all those positive qualities which have taken our Global Greeks all the way to the top in so many fields in so many countries around the world.

A shining example of Australia’s multi-cultural policy, in a country which has relied heavily on immigration (a quarter of the population is made up of people born outside Australia), and embraces equality for all its citizens, Jenny Bloomfield has taken the positive aspects of her Greek ethnicity and turned them into a formidable weapon for Australia, and at the same time for Greece.

In Athens, she has put the Hellenic-Australian relationship on a whole new and very dynamic footing: days after she assumed her responsibilities in September of 2011, she and the staff of the Australian Embassy went to Aegina for SKAI's Clean Up the World campaign, the Hellenic-Australian Business Council was inaugurated in 2012 on her watch, as was the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, a Melbourne community initiative committed to ensuring that the very valuable ANZAC connection to the northern Aegean island of Lemnos, and its very significant contribution, is highlighted and appropriately commemorated.

Anzac Day ceremony at East Moundros Commonwealth Military Cemetery, Lemnos April 2012. 
H.E Jenny Bloomfield, Australian Ambassador to Greece, with members of the Lemnos Gallipoli Committee, Lee Tarlamis and John Pandazopoulos, the Deputy Governor of Lemnos,and other officials
Photograph Jim Claven
Source: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc 
 
A talented and motivating speaker, Australia’s Ambassador to Greece is well-travelled, cosmopolitan and multi-lingual, equally comfortable speaking in Greek or English.  She has actively participated in, and addressed, local and international forums held in Greece, promoting the strong bilateral relationship between Australia and Greece and offering insight into the ways in which Australia was able to overcome its own economic crisis of the 1980’s and 90’s, and get back into the path of economic growth at rates higher than most developed countries. 

In October 2012, at Athens' prestigious Grande Bretagne Hotel, she took part in the International Herald Tribune/Kathimerini Investment Forum "Moving Forward'
 
Her address at the forum was on a subject which is very dear to our hearts at GGW:
'Developing stronger links to the Greek diaspora: The role of Hellenism abroad in today’s Greek crisis'  Ambassador Bloomfield highlighted the role of Greek Australians in Australia's economic success and invited Greece to harness the entrepreneurial skills of Greeks living outside Greece, ie those who had been nation-builders in their adopted countries - none more so than Australia. 

The Ambassador told the conference that Australia’s migrants had “contributed to building one of the world’s most open economies, and one of the most open and fair societies. Greek Australians are an asset which can and should be utilised to broaden and deepen bilateral relations and help develop cooperation which promotes productivity, entrepreneurship, innovation and our common prosperity.''

Greeks abroad are an important bridge and a link between Greece and the world, which can help support the country’s efforts for sustainable long-term economic and social development. Just as the one million Australians who live, work or study abroad, including 150,000 in Greece, represent Australia in the world, Greeks abroad are Ambassadors for their country” 

The skills, knowledge and experience they gain, the connections they forge, their understanding of different cultures and ways of thinking, can bring substantial economic, educational, cultural, diplomatic and other benefits to their homeland.” The Ambassador said, adding “in today’s globalised world, the term ‘migration’ takes on new dimensions and new meaning. Today, mobility among professionals is a natural trend which impacts positively on the individual, but also on broader society. 
Not the so-called ‘Brain Drain, but ‘Brain Gain’” 

We totally agree with the Ambassador. 

This concept of public diplomacy is exactly the concept behind Global Greek World and we have been saying much the same thing from the day we set it up. We are convinced that Greece's diaspora is an under-utilised resource which would make all the difference for Greece if handled properly.

Maximising the benefits to be gained from our diaspora, with their knowledge, resources  and connections in both countries can only result in a win-win situation for Greece, and, as such, is of critical importance for Greece to overcome its economic difficulties. Australia, New Zealand and several other countries have already been down that road. By implementing the necessary structural reforms and providing a stable, well-managed and supervised regulatory framework for business activity and investments, Australia was able to turn around its economy and witness the results of hard work and necessary changes which have brought about 20+ years of continuous growth and, as the 12th largest economy in the world, membership in the G20 group of nations. 

'I am Greek and I am a Public Servant...' 

We particularly liked this response by the Ambassador to a disparaging remark about Greek civil servants during the subsequent panel discussion with Peter Economides, Greg Pappas and Jorge Chatzimarkakis, all prominent Global Greeks, when the role of Greece's Civil Service came up. Yes indeed. Each country's civil servants are a product of that country's policies and procedures. If you run your country well you will have excellent public servants and Jenny Bloomfield is a great example of what an excellent public servant can achieve - a wonderful role model! 

Working tirelessly, quietly and efficiently, and with an essentially personal touch, she has succeeded in raising the profile, and the bar, for Australia's representation in Greece, and has taken it to a whole new level. Whether she is talking to Presidents and Prime Ministers or helping clean up beaches, participating in high level conferences, accompanying business delegations, hosting cultural events or dinner parties in honour of visiting Australian officials, Jenny Bloomfield remains approachable, likeable, sincere and above all genuine.  

One of today's thoroughly modern women, not only does she appear to be juggling her roles as high-ranking diplomat, wife and mother successfully, she also appears to thoroughly enjoy it! We had the pleasure of bumping into her and having a chat as we waited in line at one of Athens' supermarkets one Saturday afternoon, she with her husband and one of her children and I with mineWe all know how hard women with a high profile job need to work, but with four children and a husband at home it can become a real balancing act.  No matter how much support and home help they have there will always be a child with a grazed knee, with a higher than normal temperature who needs  Mummy's hug or a kiss to make the world right again and it really doesn't matter to them if it is the Australian PM, the US President or the local Pizza delivery man on the other end of the phone. 

It takes a special talent to combine all these roles and do it well and Jenny Bloomfield certainly seems to have that talent. 

Well done Ambassador! Keep up the great work.

At Global Greek World we are very proud of our Global Greeks and especially of inspiring Global Greeks like you. 
 
You are a credit to both your countries!  

70th Anniversary of the Battle of Crete, 
Photographic exhibition and RSL scholarship presentation to students from Crete


Showing Former PM Constantine Mitsotakis, a Battle of Crete Veteran himself, 
around the exhibition of photos, at the 2012 Battle of Crete Scholarship awards

 With the scholarship winners after the ceremony


The impressive entrance to the Neo Classical building which houses the Greek Officers' Club, the venue of many Australian Embassy functions in Athens.

 
Photo Source: HABC 
Ambassador Jenny Bloomfield with Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni and Development Minister Kostis Hadjidakis, Speaker of the House Evangelos Meimarakis, Former Development Minister Christos Folias and Hellenic Australian Business Council President Michael Bodouroglou at last week's official dinner at the Acropolis Museum in Athens marking Australia's 2014 presidency of the G20 and Greece's presidency of the EU in the first half of 2014.


Listen to Ambassador Bloomfield talk about Greece and her posting to Athens as Ambassador for Greece, Albania and Bulgaria 



At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows! 
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