Kostas Vlassis, the deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, responsible for the Greek diaspora, sent an open letter recently to the Greek diaspora worldwide asking them to propose a date for the establishment of the ”Greek Diaspora Day.”
In his letter, Vlassis notes that ”2021 is a milestone year in the centuries-old journey of the Greek nation. It is a culmination in the historical continuity of Greece, whose roots are lost deep in time. The recent celebration of the 200 years since the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821 for liberation from the Ottomans, was an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past, but also to envision the Greece of the future.”
”Following in the footsteps of history, we worked with the Greeks of the Diaspora in this great moment for the Greek Nation. The modern Greek enlightenment of Rigas Feraios and Adamantios Korais flourished in Central Europe at the end of the 18th century, the Friendly Society was founded in 1814 in Odessa, while the Revolution itself broke out in February 1821 in the Danube region. Since the founding of the modern Greek State, Greeks everywhere have been an integral part of its evolution and progress. Flesh from its flesh and a piece from its soul,” the Greek minister said emphatically.
Vlassis added that ”With these thoughts, I share with you the pleasure of the State’s intention to establish the celebration of the Day of the Greek Diaspora in order to recognise and honour, on an annual basis, the historical role and valuable contribution of the diaspora in our country.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry aims to establish this day soon, and for this reason Vlassis said that Athens wants ”you all to be participants and companions. I invite all Greek women and men to submit their proposals for the date of its celebration.”
”Your participation will be once again a practical proof that all together we can achieve our great goal, which is none other than to bring the Hellenism of the Diaspora closer to the Motherland.”
The Greek Diaspora and Greek citizenship
The Greek diaspora is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with an attested presence from the 10th century BC to the present. Examples of its influence range from the role played by Greek expatriates in the emergence of the Renaissance, through liberation and nationalist movements involved in the fall of the Ottoman Empire, to commercial developments such as the commissioning of the world’s first supertankers by shipping magnates Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.
Anyone who is ethnically Greek and born outside Greece may become a Greek citizen through naturalization if they can prove that a parent or grandparent was a Greek national. The Greek ancestor’s birth and marriage certificates and the applicant’s birth certificate are required, along with birth certificates for all intervening generations between the applicant and the person with Greek citizenship.
Greek citizenship is acquired by birth by all persons born in Greece and all persons born to at least one parent who is a registered Greek citizen. People born out of wedlock to a father who is a Greek citizen and a mother who is a non-Greek automatically gain Greek citizenship if the father recognizes them as his child before they turn 18.