FIRST EPIROTES ABROAD CONVENTION IS HUGE SUCCESS
The first convention of the World Epirotes Abroad took place in Ioannina from July 25 to July 28 at the Grand Serrai –Xenia hotel. The convention which was attended by over 300 (Delegates) Epirotes from all over the world was a huge success. The World Epirotes Abroad and the convention were fully supported by the honorable president of Greece Mr. Karolos Papoulias, the ministry of foreign affairs and the Greek Parliament.
Many important politicians were present who they honored with their presence at the 1st World Convention:
The honorable President and past Prime Minister of Nea Democratia
of Greece, Mr. Konstantinos Mitsotakis, declared the official opening
of the congress with an impressive and important speech for the growth and progress of Epirus. The event took place at the Grand Serai-Xenia Hotel on the evening of July 25th, which was hosted by the Mayor of Ioannina Mr. Nikolaos Gontas.
Mr. Theodoros Kassimis, the deputy foreign minister, who is responsible for the affairs of Hellenes abroad, represented the government and, praised the effort of Epirotans abroad to advance in the foundation of a 3rd degree organization “Ombrella” contributing in this way, through the networking, the communication between Greece and abroad, and stressed that the government will be helping at this historic start. The former minister (Deputy) of ΠΑΣΟΚ and Vice President of the Hellenes Abroad Committee Mr. Georgios Niotis, who represented the President of ΠΑΣΟΚ, Mr. Georgios Papandreou conveyed the greetings from the President and the wishes for a successful convention and the best to the new elected committee of the WCEA and offered his support for the objectives and vision of the Eperotans Abroad.
During the convention many other people of the political world expressed their greetings and attended the works of the congress. The deputy minister YPEHODE from Epirus Mr. Stavros Kaloyiannis (NΔ), the MP´s (member of parliament) Michalis Pantoulas (ΠΑΣΟΚ), Christos Mantis (ΚΚE), also, Antonis Fousas, Charalambos Karathanos, Evangelos Doules (president of the Party Enosis for the Human Rights in Albania), Mr. Dimitrios Panozachos, the governor of the Epirus region, Mr. Alikos Kachrimanis, the Prefect of Ioannina , and the alternate Prefect of Ioannina Mr. Ioannis Karabinas, the Mayor of Ioannina Mr. Nikolaos Gontas, the Prefect of Thesprotia Mr. Vasilios Giogiakas, the alternate Prefect of Preveza Mr. Kostas Dimitrios and many more..
Mr. Vasilios Bollanos, Mayor of Chimara and representative of the Greek Omogenia of Albania gave a very impressive speech. The important speeches continued with the Governor of the Argirokastro Region Mr. Spiro Xeras and the head of the special office for the affairs of minorities of Albania Ms. Konstantina Beziani.
Saturday night the keynote speaker was the Minister of Development Mr. Christos Folias. The event took place at the Epirus Palace Hotel, hosted by the Epirotic Federations Mr. Dimitri Panozochos. The same night was the celebration for the completed program “Ellinomathia and the Greek Civilization” for those 23 young men and women who attended.
The collaboration between the University of Ioannina and the Epirotans abroad through the PanEpirotic Federation of Europe was very successful.
For the 1st time 23 young people from Europe, America and Australia attended this special program “Ellinomathia and the Greek Civilization.”
In a special interview that was given jointly by the Dean of the University of Ioannina Mr. Ioannis Gerothanasis and the President of the World Council of Epirotes Abroad (WCEA) Mr. Chrysostomos Dimou was announced an agreement between them with the aim on the concretization of the two following actions:
A. The creation of a permanent program of Ellinomathia and Greek Civilization in the Institution of Greek Language “Stavros Niarchos”
B. Proclamation of two Professors thesis with its objective recording of the history of Epirotans abroad.
Thy continued by saying that in the financing of this important program it contributed decisively, the Institution “Liatsis”, the municipality of Ioannina, the Prefecture of Ioannina and the PanEpirotic Federation as head of the program.
At the meetings were discussed analytically the By-Laws, the Education, the Youth, the Northern Epirus issues and many others important issues.
Finally seven resolutions were voted anonymously:
1. Resolution for the Northern Epirus
WE, the representatives of the world Epirotic Organizations, with the support of the representatives of the Northern Epirus Hellenes, by examine the present status of the Hellenes in Albania, we declare that:
a. The Hellenes of the Northern Epirus constitute indigenous population of the region with the presence of our 3,000 year history.
b. The Hellenes of the Northern Epirus constitute an inseparable piece of the Ecumenical Hellenism
c. We recognize that some progress from the Albanian government has been made for the improvement of living conditions of the Hellenes of the Northern Epirus.
d. Still in Albania exists occasionally a climate of insecurity and intimidation against the Hellenes in Northern Epirus.
e. The Hellenes of Northern Epirus from time to time do not feel secure in their own houses and they don’t enjoy the basic human rights that are entitled to them according to the bilateral and international treaties.
We, the representatives of the 1st Convention of the World Epirotans Aboard:
. We condemn the climate of insecurity and intimidation that exists occasionally against the Hellenes of Northern Epirus and Albania.
We call on the Albanian government to respect and to restore to the Hellenes of Northern Epirus and to the country of Albania all the educational, religion, political and cultural rights which have arisen from the bilateral and international agreements signed by its representatives from the day of constitution of state year 1913, including the right to declare their own nationality
We call on the Albanian government to guarantee the unhindered operations of the independent Orthodox Church of Albania and to return to the church all the real estate that was illegally confiscated by the Communist government after the change of regime. We express our support towards the Independent Orthodox Church of Albania and to his Eminence Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and Albania
WE call on the Greek government to support financially the Teachers of the Ethnic Greek Minority.
We call on the Greek government to offer financial support and the promise of loans to those Northern Epirotans who wish to return to their hometowns, with the idea to launch their own endeavors., aiming thus in the growth of a small business and the increase of workforce.
We call on the Greek government and the Hellenes abroad to promote the economic growth of Northern Epirus with investments and infrastructure, so that its existing Hellenes will stay in the own houses.
We call on the representatives of the European Union who are discussing the incorporation of Albania to stop all the negotiations until the Prosecution Authorities from Albania stop the penalization of Northern Epirotes who have protested for the abstraction and deprival of their rights, as in the recent case of Prosecution intervention in Chimara.
We call on the Albanian government to lift the unfounded accusations of the five condemned of Chimara.
We call on the Albanian government to return the committed from the previous arrangements motionless fortunes to the entitled Greeks and to stop the illegal distribution of the real estate to their third parties, as it happened in Chimara, Pagoni and Aliko.
We express our support to the Human Rights Organization and to OMONIA as the only recognized voice of the Northern Epirotans of Albania.
We appeal to all Northern Epirotans, who were deprived of the Albanian citizenship, to start the process from the beginning procedure.
Arrangement of the pension of ΟΓΑ (pension from the Greek government) to be given to the Northern Epirotans who reside in their hometowns as permanent citizens.
2. Resolution for the BY-Laws (Statute)
The session of the Council, in its 1st meeting and found in legal quorum, approves in its total the existing By-Laws and … votes the modification that proposed the participants sat a conference and its responsible bodies.
3. Resolution of the Epirotic Village
Then increased interest from the Epirotans abroad for the establishment of an Epirotic village, the 1st congress permits the new elected committee to proceed in the investigation of all factors for the realization of vision of its fellow country men.
4. Resolution for the establishment of a Website
The intention of this resolution is the central page it constitutes a basic body of communication of the World Epirotic Council with the all Institutions of Greece, abroad and between its members.
5. Resolution for the establishment of an Enterprising Committee of WCEA
6. Resolution for the establishment of Educational Committee
The committee to organize a program for the Epirotic Youth of abroad to learn the Greek Language and Epirotic culture
7. Resolution for the establishment of Youth Committee.
The newly elected Board of the “World Council of Epirotes Abroad” is as follows:
President: Dimou Chrysostomos (Europe)
Vice President: Galitsis Fotis (America)
General Secretary: Kallidis Georgios (Africa)
Treasurer: Nasikas Athanasios (Europe)
Special Secretary: Koutoulas Dimitrios (America)
Communication: Kostadimas Spiros (Europe)
Members: Bolanos Vasilios (Europe)
Varnas Dimitrios (Oceania)
Vasiliou Kostas (Oceania)
Kalymnios Kostas (Oceania)
Kantli Eva (America)
Alternate Members: Zoe Filio (Oceania)
Bousis Stavros (Europe)
Xinogalou Athina (America)
The newly elected Board of the “World Council of Epirotes Abroad” unanimously voted the outgoing President (2006-2008) Mr. Nikolaos Gatzogiannis as honorary President, also it expressed publicly the appreciation for his major efforts to the Epirotes Abroad.
The chairman of the Organizational Committee and newly elected President of the Organization Mr. Chrysostomos Dimou stated that he is very pleased with the outcome. Finally he expressed his gratitude and appreciation to those who supported this convention, the State department of Greece, the Volvo Hellas and its representative in Greece Mr. G. Katsano, the Prooptiki Co. of Igoumenitsa, the Egnantia Odos and the Athoniki Development. Last but not least the Grand Serai-Xenia Hotel, the municipality of Ioannina and the General Secretary of Epirus.
Coordinator of Public Relations
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