Greece must decide what kind of diaspora it wants

Endy Zemenides, Executive Director

NEW YORK — Of the several poignant pieces written about the passing of Nikos Mouyiaris, two of the best appeared in the pages of this paper. Tom Ellis noted that “[Mouyiaris] was sad [about the failures of the Greek-American community] but also angry, and what made him stand out was that he not only saw these shortcomings, but acted to improve them.” Alexis Papachelas gave emphasis to one of Nikos’s biggest turn-offs, noting that “he was saddened by these pointless, shallow, results-free ‘events,’ whose highlight was a photo-op with an American official.” Nikos was never shy about expressing disappointment, but he was never debilitated by it. He — perhaps more than anyone in the Hellenic world — believed that, in the words of Bozoma Saint John, former chief brand officer at Uber, we indeed “have the power to change anything and everything.”

In the process of mourning Nikos Mouyiaris, Greece (and Cyprus) should give a great deal of consideration to the following question: what kind of diaspora would we like to have? Nikos was not only unique in his combination of generosity and vision, but also in his priorities. The Greek-American diaspora has reached an inflection point and the direction in which its leadership shall take it is still uncertain. How the debates currently under way in the community are resolved will most definitely impact Greece.

Read the full piece on Ekathimerini’s website.