The active Greek diaspora in the United States is dwindling and it must be stopped. Supporters of the generation that played such an important role after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 have either ceased to actively participate in public life or have died. The generation that matured and gained clout with the appointment of Mike Dukakis in 1988 has also aged and is no longer as influential as it once was. The number of Greek Americans who still feel connected to Greece is declining year by year, which is only natural given how many younger generations are marrying outside the community and how their Greek identity gradually fades.
The Church, for its part, seems to be going through a deep crisis which could have unpleasant consequences. Bad choices and autocratic attitudes have sparked reactions that could lead to anything. And this comes at a time when the number of ceremonies performed by the Greek Orthodox Church is declining and the need to highlight the Greek identity of the Church or even to fly the Greek flag outside the churches during ceremonies is often considered unnecessary.
Yet Greece did not plan or pursue a long-term policy aimed at keeping Hellenism alive in the United States and bringing Greek-Americans closer to their homeland. Cultivating relationships and networks with influential Greek Americans is vital and should not be underestimated – but it is not enough.
Sometimes it has the opposite effect. Some of the professional or prominent Greek Americans who congregate in the lobbies of central hotels are there only to score good deals, but in the “American Uncle” way who wants everything to be cheap. They use their influence only to “sell” access to American decision-makers.
We must move forward. Greece in 2023 is much more accessible and popular among younger generations of Greek Americans, even those in the second or third generation. They love it here. Some even have the courage to invest. We need to start planning for the future. For example, how will the Greek language be preserved among the younger members of the community? How can we build on existing programs for young people from the diaspora to come to Greece to study, attend summer camps or do an internship in a company?
These are not issues that only the state can resolve. Foundations and the private sector also have a role to play. The results will be amazing once there is a plan and it is implemented.
Greece needs it. It needs it because it needs a little “air” from America, but it also needs a new generation that cares deeply and actively about Greece, understands it and defends it. where it needs to be defended. Not at social gatherings and parties, but in a professional and efficient manner.