Ottawa (ANA-MPA/I. Fragouli) — Greece’s deputy foreign minister for expatriate Greeks affairs Theodoros Kassimis concluded his visit to Canada on Thursday evening with Montreal as his final stop.
Kassimis, accompanied by Greek ambassador to Canada Yannis Mourikis and other officials, said he was satisfied from his discussions with Greek community representatives in the US and Canadian cities he visited on his North American tour, noting that there were substantial cifferences among the various local communities of Greeks in the two countries.
Earlier on Thursday, he met with management officials and academics at McGill University to discuss the thorny issue of McGill’s interuniversity Neo-Hellenic Studies Centre-Phrixos Papachristidis Chair in Modern Greek and Canadian-Greek Studies, which was facing the threat of a change of content of the studies.
Kassimis told the university administration that the Greek government – which has donated 400,000 dollars to the Chair’s endownment fund — another 400,000 dollars each have been donated from the Papachristidis family and the Canadian government — would withdraw its financial assistance if the Neo-Hellenic Studies programme at the interuniversity centre is not completed.
The deputy minister agreed with the McGill administration on a specific timetable for the full operation of the Phrixos Papachristidis Chair.
Theodoros Kassimis underlined during a press conference the important work being accomplished at the daily Greek-language schools “Socrates” in Montreal and “Demosthenes” in Laval.
Speaking with the presidents of the communities of Montreal and Laval, Kassimis discussed solutions for handling the financial problems of schools looming on the horizon due to a 40 percent cutback in their support by the government of Quebec.
The deputy minister said that the government is planning support for Greek education through the sending of trained tutorial staff, the development of libraries and the creation of a programme for the learning of the Greek language through the Internet.
Kassimis also said that the government intends to train foreign school graduates with scholarships at the academies of Greece so that they will become teachers who are prepared to provide Greek-language education in their countries.