Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Global Greeks: To Vangelis Papathanassiou - Xronia Polla kai Kala!

A post to wish Happy Birthday to one of our most acclaimed Global Greeks, Academy Award winning composer Vangelis Papathanassiou.

As it is Holy Week we thought we would share with you one of his lesser known works - an arrangement from Rapsodies  - a marvellous collection of Orthodox hymns resulting from the unique collaboration of Vangelis with Irene Papas - two of our most famous Global Greeks!!

The haunting Ton Nymfona sou Vlepo - one of the most beautiful hymns of our Orthodox Holy Week, sung by Irene Papas, arranged by Vangelis Papathanassiou.

Xronia Polla kai Kala Vangeli! We thank you for the magnificent  music you given us! Na ziseis!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Global Greece: The USA Honours Greek Independence Day

The White House traditionally issues a Presidential Proclamation on 24 March each year to honour the day the Greek people rebelled against their 400 year occupation by the Ottoman Empire.


Today, as we commemorate the 189th anniversary of Greece's independence, we reaffirm the ties that link our nations together as allies and warm friends. We also honor the accomplishments of Greek Americans and their immeasurable contributions to the United States.

It was the genius of America's forebears to enshrine the pre-eminent idea of democracy in our Nation's founding documents. Inspired by the governing values of ancient Greece, they launched the great American experiment. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of our Declaration of Independence, later expressed his admiration for the Greeks and their heritage as they fought their War of Independence. Writing in 1823, he acknowledged Greece as "the first of civilized nations, [which] presented examples of what man should be."

The Hellenic influence on America's scholarly traditions reflects our Nation's high regard for Greece's lasting heritage. Our physicians uphold the timeless ethics of Hippocrates, and our students learn the mathematics of Euclid and Pythagoras. Our law schools use the Socratic Method, and the structures of ancient Greece have inspired many of our most cherished buildings and monuments.

Greek Americans have also shaped our Nation as leaders in every sector of American life, and their community has strengthened the fabric of our country with its vibrant culture and unique traditions. Above all, we were blessed to inherit the Hellenic ideal of democracy, which lives on today in Greece and America, and reinforces the enduring bonds between our two nations.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2010, as "Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy." I call upon all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


US President Obama and Greek PM George Papandreou during recent US Visit
Source: Official White House Photo - Pete Souza

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her message to mark the occasion, said the following

Greek National Day

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I congratulate the people of Greece as they mark the Hellenic Republic’s 189th National Day. This is an opportunity to honor Greece’s history and culture, which has contributed so much to our common humanity.

In the United States, millions of Greek-Americans will gather with family and friends to celebrate their Hellenic heritage. From the earliest days of our own republic, America has looked to Greece for inspiration and Greek-Americans have enriched our society and culture. From government and business to medicine and entertainment, Greek-Americans are leaders and innovators. They help cement the historic bonds that hold our two nations close.

As NATO allies, Greece and the United States work together on a wide range of common concerns. It is a partnership built on shared democratic values and aspirations.
This month, I had the honor of hosting Prime Minister Papandreou in Washington and offering my support for the resolve Greece has shown in these challenging times. And I was pleased that during his visit, we were able to welcome Greece into the Visa Waiver Program.

As we celebrate modern Greece’s independence, I offer my warmest wishes to Hellenes and Philhellenes around the globe. May you have a safe and happy holiday.

Hillary Clinton with George Papandreou

Global Greece: 25th March 1821 - Zito i Ellas! 25η Μαρτίου 1821 - Ζήτω η Ελλάδα!

Σὲ γνωρίζω ἀπὸ τὴν κόψι
Τοῦ σπαθιοῦ τὴν τρομερή,
Σὲ γνωρίζω ἀπὸ τὴν ὄψι,
Ποῦ μὲ βιά μετράει τὴν γῆ.
Ἀπ’ τὰ κόκκαλα βγαλμένη
Τῶν Ἑλλήνων τὰ ἱερά,
Καὶ σὰν πρῶτα ἀνδρειωμένη,
Χαῖρε, ὢ χαῖρε, Ἐλευθεριά!

The Oath - O Orkos
Se gnorizo apo tin kopsi
tou spathiou tin tromeri,
se gnorízo apo tin opsi,
pou me via metrai tin gi.
Ap' ta kokkala vgalmeni
ton Ellinon ta iera,
kai san prota andriomeni,
chere, o chere, Eleftheria!  

To Kryfo Sholio - The Secret School
  We knew thee of old,
O, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword.
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again,
Hail, Liberty! Hail! 
(Translation Rudyard Kipling - 1918) 
 Theodoros Kolokotronis  

The Hymn to Liberty (Ýmnos is tīn Eleftherian) was written by Dionýsios Solomós in 1823 and set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros. At 158 verses it is in fact the longest hymn in the world.   

On the 4th August 1865, the first two verses officially became the national anthem of Greece and in 1966 also that of the Republic of Cyprus. Corfiot operatic composer Nikolaos Mantzaros composed two choral versions, a long one for the whole poem and a short one for the first two stanzas; the latter is the one adopted as the National Anthem of Greece.   The Greek War of Independence, the Greek Revolution, was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1829, with later assistance from several European powers, against the Ottoman Empire.  

Following the capture of Constantinople in 1453 and the fall of the Byzantine Empire most of Greece came under Ottoman rule. During this time, there were many unsuccessful revolts by the occupied Greeks attempting to gain their independence.
In 1814, three Greeks, Nikolaos Skoufas from Arta, Emmanouil Xanthos from Patmos and Athanasios Tsakalof from Epirus met one another in 1814 in Odessa and decided the constitution of a secret organization to unite of all the Greeks in an armed organisation, in order to eventually throw off the Ottoman rule.

At the beginning, during the 1814–1816 period, there were about twenty members.

In 1817, the Society expanded mainly bringing in the Greeks of Russia and of Moldovlachia (the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia), which had a particularly strong Greek element and the Lord of Moldavia, Michael Soutsos himself, became a member.  Massive initiations began only in 1818 and by early 1821, when the Society had expanded in almost all regions of Greece and Greek communities abroad, the membership numbered in thousands. Among its members were tradesmen, clergy, Russian consuls, Ottoman officials from Phanar and Serbs, one of them the revolutionary Karageorge.   

Alexandros Ypsilantis, Theodoros Kolokotronis, Odysseas Androutsos, Dimitris Plapoutas, Manto Mavrogenous, Bouboulina  and the  Bishop Palaion Patron Germanos were among the legendary leaders of the revolution and are revered to this day.    
Because of Greece's classical heritage, there was tremendous sympathy for the Greek cause throughout Europe. Many wealthy Americans and Western European aristocrats, such as the renowned poet Lord Byron and later the physician Samuel Howe, took up arms to join the Greek revolutionaries. Many more also financed the revolution. The Scottish historian and philhellene Thomas Gordon took part in the revolutionary struggle and later wrote the first histories of the Greek revolution in English.  
 In Europe, the Greek revolt aroused widespread sympathy among the public, although at first it was met with lukewarm and negative reception from the Great Powers.
One of the Ottoman massacres inspired Eugène Delacroix's famous painting The Massacre of Chios (below) while other philhellenic works by Delacroix were inspired by many other poems by Byron, the most celebrated philhellene of all. Byron lent not just his name, prestige and wealth to the cause, he died for it ...  

The mountains look on Marathon --
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream'd that Greece might yet be free
For, standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.

Lord Byron - Isles of Greece    

Byron's poetry, along with Delacroix' magnificent art, helped arouse European public opinion in favour of the Greek revolutionaries to the point of no return, and led Western powers to intervene directly.  
The anniversary of the Revolution is a major National Holiday, celebrated on the 25th of March on Evangelismos,  the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary,  and is a double celebration for Greece and for Greek Communities everywhere in the world. 

ΖΗΤΩ!!! Zito to Ethnos! Zito i Ellada!

The Massacre of Chios

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Global Greek Solidarity: Liz Inreich-Papadopoulou Pledges her Pension of 538 Euro to the Greek Solidarity Fund! Bravo!

 Liz Inreich-Papadopoulou, with her family
Source: Ta Nea

I'm not rich, my pension is only 538 euro, but I believe that we mustn't let Greece sink! 

«Δεν είμαι καμιά πλούσια, η σύνταξή μου είναι μόλις 538 ευρώ, αλλά πιστεύω ότι δεν θα πρέπει να αφήσουμε τη χώρα να βουλιάξει»

These are the words, words that are noble in their simplicity, of  Mrs Liz Inreich-Papadopoulou, who, following Nana Mouskouri's example, has pledged her monthly pension of 538 euro to the Solidarity Fund set up to pay off Greece's huge external debt as reported in today's issue of Ta Nea (in Greek).

Unlike Nana however, she is not a world famous singer with a long and illustrious international career, so her pledge is even more touching. Mrs Papadopoulou is what we would call an honorary Greek, a Greek at heart. She is a Danish national married to a Greek and resident of Greece for the last 33 years, a woman who like many thousand others, loves Greece and has adopted it as her home.

Mrs Inreich-Papadopoulou believes that everyone should contribute so that Greece gets out of this difficult economic crisis. To that end, she is prepared to donate her pension and make personal sacrifices to help the country she lives in and loves, and whose army her two sons have served faithfully. Her husband Mihalis and her sons Demokritos and George are right behind her in this pledge.

'George Papandreou is fighting a very tough battle abroad and each and every one of us should stand next to him, contributing in every way we can to avoid financial disaster'

We agree, Mrs Inreich-Papdopoulou, and we thank you for your overwhelming generosity

We at Global Greek World  thank you for your wonderful gesture and hope that your example is a shining beacon and a guiding light for many of our compatriots.

Greece has always been fortunate in that respect, because there are many rich and famous Greeks who have been major benefactors of Greece over the years out of their love for their homeland.

Perhaps it is time for all of us, wherever in the world we are, to see what we too can do to help, each in our own small way, in our communities all over the world.

On the eve of the 25th March, the anniversary of Greece's uprising against the Turkish occupier in 1821, and after 400 years of slavery, perhaps it is once again time for another kind of Filiki Etaireia, led by Global Greeks from all over the world to band together once more and show their solidarity and support for the Greece that we all love and want to see survive.

Think about it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Global Greeks: Greek Australian Award Winning Writer Christos Tsiolkas - "I Will Ask the Queen to Return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece..."

Christos Tsiolkas - Winner 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize 

Christos Tsiolkas is 'one of Australia's pre-eminent contemporary novelists' (The Age). 

Born, raised and educated in Melbourne where he continues to live, Christos is one of our Global Greek Writers and one of twelve of Australia’s best writers who recently came together at Melbourne Town Hall for a night of celebration and reflection, sharing the common and different experiences that define Australia's past and  present, to mark the opening of Australia's newest cultural institution, The Wheeler Centre.

It was a night of storytelling, each writer reflecting on those tales that have been handed down to them through the generations, each giving voice to an inheritance of wisdom, of understanding, of identity.

This is  Greek Australian Christos Tsiolkas' very moving story, one that many of us in our Global Greek World can relate to and we thank him! (Thanks Konstantina M, Athens,  for drawing it to our attention) 

Teachings of my grandmothers

I NEVER really knew my grandparents. Both my grandfathers died in Greece before I ever visited there, and I met my grandmothers only twice in my life, once when I visited as a boy in 1975, and then again as a young adult in 1990.

For many of us, migration and distance has shaped the nature of our families and the cultures we believe we belong to. The stories I have of my grandparents' lives are second-hand, filtered through the memories, longings and secrets of my parents.

I am grateful that I did have an opportunity to meet my grandmothers. They both shared the same name, Spiridoula. But even those encounters were made difficult by the limitations of my Greek and the overwhelming chasm of experience that separated myself, a privileged child of the First World, and those two women, each born on the eve of the 20th century, in a peasant Eastern Mediterranean world that was to be torn apart by two Balkan wars, two world wars, an occupation, two dictatorships, a civil war.

I remember sitting in a kitchen in Athens with my maternal grandmother, and she crying, wanting to know why her daughter had only visited her once in all the time she had been a migrant in Australia.

I tried to explain the distances involved, the expense.

My uncle Mitso, who was sitting with us, took me aside and explained that once in the early '70s he was driving his mother from the village to Athens when they came to a fork in the road.

My giagia asked, ''Mitso, if we turn left instead of right, can we go and visit Georgia in Australia?'' You have to remember, Christo, my Uncle said to me, this is a woman born in a time when women were doomed to illiteracy and the shadows. Your giagia can't even read a map. And look at you, you are now a university student, you want to be a writer. You don't know how proud that makes us. But if you ever forget where you come from, tha se sfaxo, I will slaughter you.

I want to share with you a moment with this grandmother. Not anything she said but something she showed me.

I was a 10-year-old in the village, visiting from Melbourne, and my grandmother took me to the chicken coop to get a bird to prepare for dinner. She pointed to the one of the chooks and said, Go, catch it and kill it.

Now I was an inner-city Australian child and poultry and meat was something I believed just magically appeared on butcher's slabs and supermarket shelves. My giagia pointed to the bird and I shook my head.  

No, I insisted, I can't do it.

She was appalled. What do you mean, she said, you are nearly a man and you don't know how to kill a chicken? What has your mother been teaching you?

She adjusted her headscarf, hitched up her heavy black mourning skirt, chased after the chicken and brought it to me.

Now, she ordered, wring its neck.

I started to weep. The bird was fluttering in her hand and I was too scared to go near it. Taking pity on me, she ordered me to sit down next to her and proceeded to break the bird's neck. It was one swift stroke, a wrenching motion and the head pulled away from the body. There was blood and the beast continued to struggle in her hand. By now I was howling.

She ignored my tears and started to tell me how to prepare the bird for cooking. The hanging of the body in the cool of the cellar, putting the pot on the fire, placing the bird in the near boiling water, plucking the feathers first from the wings, the legs and then finally from the breasts.

When my mother arrived back from visiting her sister she was horrified.

What have you been showing Christo? 

 Something you should have showed him a long time ago, my giagia admonished her daughter.

That night we ate roast chook and I learnt something about the real meaning of placing food on the table.

I look at my nieces as they play with my father and mother, watch my aunt surrounded by her grandkids. I feel fortunate to have met my grandmothers, spent time with them, I feel a sadness that I could not have known them better, that I never met my grandfathers. I wonder what I could have learnt from them about war and occupation, dictatorship and democracy, poverty and suffering; but I also miss having been instructed on the smaller, just as important stuff, like how to prepare the grapes off the vine for wine, dry tobacco, build a shelter, tend a vegetable crop. I watch my nieces play with my father and mother and think this is what unconditional love is.

A few years ago a woman brought a dying bird into the veterinary clinic in which I am employed. The vet said there's nothing we can do, we have to put it down. She explained that we could inject it with litho barb but it is easy to miss a vital organ in such a small creature and it can be a horrible death as it literally drowns and suffocates from the poison.

The most humane thing to do is to break its neck, she explained, do you want me to show you how to do that? 

It's OK, I answered, I can do it, my grandmother taught me...

Watch and listen to Christos Tsiolkas as he tells this wonderful story

To read the original article at The Age, Click Here 

About Christos Tsiolkas

Greek-Australian author and playwright, essayist and screen writer, Christos Tsiolkas' first novel Loaded (1995) was made into the feature film Head-On (1998) by fellow Greek Australian, director Ana Kokkinos, starring Alex Dimitriades. His works are considered to be autobiographical to a certain extent, drawing on his many experiences growing up as a member of a cultural minority in Australia. 

Other novels include  The Jesus Man (1999), Dead Europe (2005), which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, and his most recent novel The Slap, where a man slaps a child (not his own) at a suburban barbeque, the consequences of which reverberate through the lives of all of the witnesses to the incident.

The Slap won the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009 for best novel in the South-East Asia and South Pacific area. 

In an interview with Neos Kosmos Newspaper in Australia, after receiving his award, we were delighted to read his  answer to the question

What will you ask the Queen when you meet her
(traditionally Commonwealth Writers Prize winners get to meet Queen Elisabeth, the Head of the Commonwealth) 

I will ask her to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece!

From all of us in the Global Greek World, Christo, we congratulate you on your success, we thank you for the support and hope you do just that!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Global Greek World: Today we are ONE! Happy Birthday to us!!! Χρονια Μας Πολλά!!!

St George Lykavettos - 1st day of Spring - Sunday 21st March 2010

Today is our first birthday and of course we are dedicating this post to our readers and wonderful friends around the world!!!

We have had a great first year at Global Greek World, and we would like to thank you all for taking the time to visit us and leave comments, either here, on Twitter,  or on our Global Greek World Facebook Page

Please feel free to follow us and stay informed of what goes on.

Over these last twelve months we have made a lot of wonderful new friends, we have had readers visit us from 117 countries - with the USA, Greece, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia topping the list. According to our site statistics visitors have come from the following countries:

United States (US)
Greece (GR)
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Above all, it has been a great year for Global Greeks! 

Our Global Greeks have made headlines in many parts of the world, Dr Nicholas Christakis was named one of TIME's most influential people, Louie Psyhoyos got an Oscar for The Cove, George Efstathiou was the architect behind the worlds's tallest building,The Burj Khalifa, Greg Pappas inaugurated the Gabby Awards, promoting Greek America's best and brightest and many many more...

It hasn't been such great a year for Greece and we have featured quite a few articles on the economic crisis for those who care about this country, who have worked hard to keep the flag flying in every corner of the world and who want to know more...

We believe Greece will pull through but not without hardship in the short term of course, and undeservedly for some. In the long run, we think the Prime Minister George Papandreou, a Global Greek himself, is on the right track, but we cannot keep blaming others for Greece's difficulties. 

It is Greece's political parties, along with the system of governance which has allowed the Public Service to be blown up to these enormous numbers in places where such numbers are not necessary yet falling desperately short of numbers exactly where they are needed -  in the police force and in the beleaguered health services and schools to name just a few... 

It is Greece's politicians and successive governments who have fed that monster called corruption, either directly or indirectly, and especially by not ensuring that the laws of the country are enforced equally for everyone, thus opening Greece up for sometimes unfair criticism from many so-called allies. We do not deserve to be branded lazy, corrupt or crooked because of a small and selfish minority. 

If those who were responsible for the corruption  scandals of Vatopedio, Siemens, the Omologa and many others in the last 20 years, scandals which have cast such a terrible light on Greece and it's Governments, can be identified, and we are sure they can, then they should be punished exemplarily, no matter who they are.  

No one should be above the law no matter how high up they may be and it takes someone with a lot of guts to ignore the political cost of cleaning up the public sector. 

We think the people of Greece have had enough and they will support the efforts of anyone who does this job, and we believe that George Papandreou and his Government can do it.

Unless the laws are enforced and justice is seen to be done at all levels then the people cannot be asked to make sacrifices in the hope of ensuring a better future for their children!  

Greece has so much going for it! We believe in Greece and the achievements of our Global Greeks wherever in the world they are, and will continue to highlight all the  positive things we see.

We thank you for visiting but we also want your feedback. Please don't hesitate to let us know whether you like what you read and what you would like to see more of in the future!

Efharistoume Poly!! Ευχαριστούμε Πολύ!!! Thanks a million!!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Coming Soon to a Cinema Near YOU! Don't Miss "Wog Boy 2 - The Kings of Mykonos"

Greek Australian Steve Karamitsis (The Wog Boy) inherits a beach on the Greek resort island of Mykonos from an uncle he’s never met. Here is how he goes about claiming his inheritance! His adventures in magnificent Mykonos are well worth watching!

The film is directed by Peter Andrikidis and stars Nick Giannopoulos, Vince Colosimo, Alex Dimitriades, Zeta Makrypoulia and of course MYKONOS!!! 

Check out the trailer of the film! 

Coming Soon! We're looking forward to it! 

Australia: May 20, 2010 

Greece : June 3, 2010

'The second film is defined by its affections rather than afflictions. Giannopoulos has said that it's partly ''a thank you to our parents'', and that generosity makes the film more relaxed and charming'. 

Paul Byrnes for the Sydney Morning Herald, May 20, 2010

To Read the review, Click here 

About Nick Giannopoulos

Nick is a very well known actor/writer/producer/director born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to Greek Immigrant parents and  grew up mainly in the inner Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy & Richmond where he went to school. 
In 1981 he was accepted into the Drama School at the prestigious Victorian College Of The Arts and graduated in 1985 with a Degree in Dramatic Arts. 

In 1987-90 he toured Australia with ethnic comedy stage show: "Wogs Out Of Work", which he also co-wrote and produced. A huge success it played to over 750,000 people. 

In 1989-92 he starred in TV sitcom "Acropolis Now" for 5 seasons (63 episodes) which he also created and co-wrote and which was hugely popular in Australia. 

In 1990 he toured Australia with the play "The Heartbreak Kid" in which he played the lead role. In 1990-1991 he toured Australia with the stage production of "Acropolis Now Live", which he also co-wrote & produced. 

In 1991 he played Danny Zuko in the David Atkins production of the musical "Grease" at the Footbridge Theatre in Sydney. In 1993-1995 he toured Australia with ethnic comedy stage show: "Wog-A-Rama", which he also wrote, produced & directed. 

In 1996-1998 he toured Australia with ethnic comedy stage show: "Wogboys" which he also wrote, produced & directed. In 1999 he starred in the feature film "The Wog Boy" which he also co-wrote & produced. It went on to gross more than 12 million dollars at the Australian Box office becoming one of the most popular Australian films of all time. 

In 2000-02 he toured Australia with ethnic comedy stage show: "Wog Story", which he also wrote, produced & directed. In 2003 he starred in the feature film "The Wannabes" which he also co-wrote & produced. 

In 2004 he hosted & produced the TV special "Greece Is The Word" which was watched by over 3 million people on the Seven Network and repeated before the Athens Olympics Opening Ceremony. 

Read more about Nick Giannopoulos at IMDB  
Check out the film's Official Facebook Page 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greek PM George Papandreou in Washington: If I Had a Euro For Every Time Outside Observers Have Underestimated Greece’s Determination Our Fiscal Problems Would Be Solved.

Rising to the Challenge of Change: Greece, Europe and the United States

In his address at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Monday March 8, 2010, a day before his meeting at the White House with US President Barack Obama, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou spoke extensively on the ongoing deficit and economic crisis plaguing Greece. Referring to the austerity measures taken by Greece last week to cut back the double-digit budget deficit and restrict a ballooning public debt he said
    "To restore confidence in our country and stability to our economy, we pledged to bring the 12.7 percent deficit down to 8 percent this year, and to EU-mandated levels of 3 percent by 2012 ... To meet those targets, the (Greek) Parliament has adopted the toughest austerity measures in Greece's modern history ...

Nobody should underestimate our determination to overcome our current challenges.

The truth is, if I had a Euro for every time outside observers have underestimated Greece’s determination—well, our fiscal problems would be solved.

A decade ago, when I launched the process of Greek-Turkish rapprochement as Foreign Minister, everyone said it was doomed to failure; but our countries are closer than they have been in centuries—and there is no better symbol of that than the fact that my good friend Kemal Dervis is moderating this discussion.

I look forward to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Athens in the coming months. I believe we can make new breakthroughs in our relationship and become a symbol of stability in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Prior to the Athens Olympics, so many voices said Greece would fail—but we pulled off one of the most secure and successful Games in history.

Today we will be using this legacy to revamp Athens and our public administration.

And so we will overcome this new challenge.

And we will do it with the cooperation of our partners in Europe and America who have stood with us on so many vital tests.

For this new crisis is a moment of great opportunity—for Greece, the chance to modernize and revitalize its governance and development model.

For Europe, a chance to become more fully integrated. And for the world, this is the moment to move toward greater democratic cooperation at a time when, once again, the global power of poorly regulated markets is proving dangerous for us all. Yet well-regulated markets can truly lift our people to new heights.

At its heart, our very modern global economy faces a very ancient challenge. 

Before the advent of democracy, Greece’s city-states were ruled by rich and ruthless oligarchs who belonged to powerful, interrelated clans—not altogether unlike the mergers between powerful financial institutions that dominate today’s global market.

Plato made a critical remark about a system controlled by the vested interests of a minority elite: And he characterized such a system as one where " 'just' or 'right' means nothing but what is in the interest of the stronger party."

We have a shared responsibility to create rules and institutions that can provide a more satisfying and sustainable answer.

So let me take you to the Parthenon as I finish my speech.

If one stands by the Parthenon and looks down on Athens, you will not only see the new Acropolis Museum waiting for the return of the Parthenon marbles.

To the other side, you will see the ancient market, or 'agora' in Greek. Agora in Greek has two meanings. It means marketplace, but it also means public speaking. A place of politics.
The market is and must be part of the realm of our political decisions.

If you look over to a hill on the other side you will see the Pnyx. 

There each and every citizen could stand on a rock, speak and be heard. Politics in ancient Athens was participative. Everyone had the power to be heard.

So we must use the new means we have in our globalized society to empower our citizens and give them a real voice in politics.

As you look towards the sea, you will see islands of the Aegean. 

In ancient Greece, every island was a country unto itself. A city state. Yet they all were aligned to a common purpose: the protection of democracy and common values.
So let us see our countries as a vast sea of diverse islands linked by a common set of values.
This is what Europe is striving to be.

The ancient philosopher Isocrates said: 'being Greek is partaking in Greek education.'

Meaning sharing in our common values.

Greece has long been America’s partner in values and in history.

We are determined to be an ever-stronger partner for the US in world affairs—in commerce, in culture, in security.

Now, I ask you to stand with us and work with us again—as we each confront our own challenges of change, and as we work together to realize our shared interest in a strong Europe and a sound global economic system. "

You can read the full text of PM George Papandreou's Address  Click Here

or watch the video

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To Dimitri Papaioannou - We Thank You for One of Greece's Most Glorious Moments - Athens 2004!

Highlights of Athens 2004 wonderful Opening Ceremony, conceived and directed by Dimitris Papaioannou.

We thank you, Dimitri, for inviting us to come with you on such a beautiful journey,

We thank you for the unforgettable moments of pride you granted to all of us in the Global Greek World,

But most of all, we thank you for showing the world at large the sheer unparalleled and classical beauty that is Greece, the country whose history and culture laid the foundations for the modern world...


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Global Greeks at the Oscars - Tonight's 82nd Academy Awards and the Greek Connection - Louie Psihoyos

The Greek presence in Hollywood has always been particularly strong, right from the days of the legendary Skouras Brothers,  and tonight is no exception as the countdown begins for the 82nd Academy Awards, which will take place tonight in Los Angeles.

Whilst there are always several of our Global Greeks involved in the Oscars, this year we are thrilled to see a Greek name amongst the nominees, that of Greek American photographer Louie Psihoyios whose documentary The Cove is among the nominees for the coveted Best Feature Documentary.  

The Cove portrays the annual killing of more than 2,500 dolphins in a cove at Taiji, Wakayama in Japan, and won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in 2009, as well as the Critic's Choice Award, LA Film Critic's Best Documentary and three Cinema Eye Awards in New York.

Louie Psihoyos was born in Dubuque, Iowa in 1957, the son of a Greek immigrant father, who, like the Skouras Brothers, hailed from Sparta in the Peloponnesos region of Greece.

At 17 he had a minor role as a wedding photographer in one of Sylvester Stallone's forgettable movies called F.I.S.T. but that gave him an introduction to Hollywood. Since then Louie  has photographed hundreds of luminaries from all walks of life. He also photographed gratis many popular posters of Paul Newman for "Newman's Own" the company, which benefits a vast array of charities including "The Hole in the Wall Gang" a camp where children with cancer and serious blood diseases find camaraderie, joy and a renewed sense of being a kid.

At the age of 23 Louie became the first new National Geographic photographer hired on staff in more than a decade and worked with the magazine for 17 years. This wasn't by chance - he had decided to become a photographer when he first saw the magazine at an early age. As he said to Hollywood Greek Reporter:

" I’m a firm believer in short, medium and long term goals, I think that philosophy came from my Greek heritage. We Greeks always take the long view because in our view, human civilization started with us. That may not be true but that’s what I grew up believing. My cousins and Greek relatives always thought about the future, their retirement, the well being of their children and their family and they are not afraid to work for something that may have a payoff decades in the future. Coming out of college I became the first photographer National Geographic hired in over 11 years..."

Louie Psihoyos has been the subject of several books about the work of National Geographic Photographers and has published two books of his own.

To read more about Louie Psihoyos Click here

To read Louie Psihoyos' interview with Hollywood Greek Reporter Click here

About The Cove

The Cove tells the amazing story of how an elite team of activists, filmakers and free divers embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a hidden cove in japan, shining light on a dark and deadly secret. The shocking discoveries they uncovered were only the tip of the iceberg....

“During the Greek era it was punishable by death to harm a dolphin, we‘ve lost that somewhere”.

Watch the trailer for the film - it is a fascinating introduction...

Who Decides Who Gets the Oscars?

For those that don't know, it is the 6000 strong Academy which decides who will get the famous gold statuette. Membership in the Academy is by invitation of the Board of Governors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

Global Greek Members of the Academy include Fox CEO Jim Gianopulos, Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis Papathanasiou, costume designer Theoni Aldredge,

actress Jennifer Aniston, director Penelope Spheeris and film editor Michael Economou, seen here with Greek actress Mimi Denisi.

Other Global Greeks involved in this years' Oscars are Sid Ganis who is among the organisers and gifted actress/writer Tina Fey who will be among  those hosting this year's awards and making us laugh, while presenter Maria Menounos and designer Nick Verreos will be telling us about what's hot fashion wise on the Red Carpet.

Tina Fey

We look forward to watching the Oscars this evening with a great deal of pride because of the presence of our Global Greeks and in particular that of Louie Psihoyos. 

We noted something he said to the Huffington Post recently

'Back when I was a child watching the Oscars in Iowa, we only had one TV channel. Who knew the future would hold hundreds of viewing options? And the possibility of one day walking on that stage was as tangible to me as walking on the moon.'

Well, Louie, from the bottom of our hearts we hope the day for your moonwalk has come! From all of us in the Global Greek World we wish you the very best of luck!

Kali Epityhia!

Incidentally, for those who are in LA, there will be a Greek Oscar Party. The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and Hollywood Greek Reporter invite you to watch the Academy Awards Greek Style at ISLA, 8788 W. Sunset Boulevard, on Sunday March 7 at 5.00 pm. Go have a drink and guess who will win the gold statues. Maybe even some nominees will crash the party after the show is over. There will be Greek and non-Greek Music Mykonos style during the breaks and after the show by Dj Alex MiZ. Entrance is free.   Click here for more information.


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