Thessaloniki.- Seven women of the Greek Diaspora who have become prominent members of society in the countries where they live through their distinguished social, education and charity work were honored on March 19 in a special ceremony hosted by the Thessaloniki Prefecture. The initiative undertaken by Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, who stated that it will evolve into an institution, had SAEʼs support.
“Women make our lives beautiful and turn our dreams into reality,” Psomiadis stressed addressing the honored guests and sent a message of unity to the Greeks everywhere saying that “we should be united on national issues”. He stressed that a first step is being made from Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek expatriates and homeland of Alexander the Great, to honor the Greek expatriates who have passed on to their children and grandchildren the principles and values of Orthodoxy and Hellenism, the people who “offer themselves selflessly to the motherland”.
“We honor the Greek women immigrants in all parts of the world, who gave it all to ease hardships in difficult times and support the efforts and struggle of all of us who live far away from the motherland,” SAE President Stefanos Tamvakis stressed praising the prefectʼs initiative. “The Greek women all over the world have set an example of unconditional giving and love. We honor the mother, sister and wife – all the women of the Greek Diaspora – thanks to whom we can speak today of cradles of Hellenism in the most distant parts of the world,” Tamvakis stated. The prefect also presented him with an honorary plaque.
The roughly 800-member audience warmly applauded the seven honored Greek expatriate women.
“Greece has not forgotten us. It is not just I being honored today but all the members of the Pan-American Hellenic Federation of Teachers,” Stella Kokkolis from the United States said, the teacher who founded the first Greek school in New York.
“We thank Greece. I am proud to be Greek,” Madonna Savvidi from Georgia stressed sharing her own experience on the Greeks abroad.
“I thank the prefect for not forgetting us,” Eleni Tsikritsi from Canada said, a woman distinguished for her multisided contribution to the Greek community in Toronto honored for it by the Canadian government.
“I have been honored many times but no joy is compared to being honored by the motherland,” Christina Panou from Australia said, expressing the common wish shared by all Greek women abroad namely, to honor Greece.
“We should feel like a family and when a Greek has a problem offer our support,” was the message sent by Roda Orphanidou-Papanicolaou from the UK, who helps the destitute Greeks from Georgia from London where she lives.
“The children with disabilities need love most of all,” stressed Maria Rifioti from Sao Paolo, Brazil active in helping people with disabilities.
“Todayʼs honor is for all women who honor our motherland, religion and language,” Ariadne Psilou from Zimbabwe said, a prominent member of the Greek community in Africa.
Awards were also presented to four Greek women who are in Greece and are active volunteers and philanthropists. Mikroula Grammatikopoulou, mother of the Russian-Greek cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, thanked Prefect Psomiadis for the honor and conveyed her sonʼs greetings to the audience.
Ivory Coast Consul General and UN goodwill Ambassador for AIDS, Maro Kesesioglou called on all present to join efforts and allow the light of love to shine, while she also invited the prefect to visit with her the “Hellas-Macedonia” Greek school recently established in the African country.
On her part, President of the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer “Storgi”, Timi Bakatselou congratulated the prefect for hosting the event in honour of the Greek expatriate women and promised to continue her efforts, expressing admiration for the achievements of the women of the Greek Diaspora.
President of the Greek National Commission for UNESCO, Keti Tzitzikosta stated that the prefect proved once again that above all is a caring human being.
The awards were presented by Prefect P. Psomiadis, SAE President S. Tamvakis, SAE Treasurer Costas Dimitriou and SAE Secretary Olga Sarantopoulou, Macedonia-Thrace Ministry General Secretary L. Ananikas, Olympic Games champion Tasoula Kelesidou and others.
The event attended among others, Metropolitan Varnavas of Neapolis-Stavroupolis, a Thessaloniki mayor representative, Thessaloniki Prefecture mayors, and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions to Thessaloniki. Presenter was ET-3 public television journalist Chrisa Samou.
The event was held with the support of the Greek Foreign Ministry and the General Secretariat for Gender Equality. Sponsor companies were, OTEtelecoms and TITAN SA.
Communication sponsors were, Thessaloniki daily Angelioforos, ANA-MPA news agency, satellite television channels “ERT World” and the “Odyssey” show, the ERT3 television channel and the “Diaspora” show, “Panorama 9.84” FM Radio and women entrepreneurship online magazine “businesswoman.gr”.