This paper discusses how the Greek-Australian diaspora could act as a conduit for Greek economic and cultural engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the paper is to contribute to debates about how the Greek diaspora in Australia could assist Greek economic and cultural development. Despite the sizeable Greek diaspora in Australia and continued linkages to Greece, the economic relationship between Greece and Australia has been limited while Australia’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific region has gained traction in recent decades. Firstly, in the context of the current economic difficulties in Greece, the paper will explore the reasons why this has been the case. It will do so by investigating how the Greek-Australian diaspora has historically considered the homeland while revealing recent trends in Greek-Australian return migration, in particular to the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo. Secondly, through a comparative analysis of how Asian countries have recently engaged with their diasporas for the promotion of economic development, it will be suggested that formal Greek institutional engagement requires serious preparatory work aimed at understanding the Greek-Australian diaspora’s needs, wants, and potential. Thirdly, it will be proposed that the capacity to design effective diaspora engagement policies should be based on sustained institutional support that looks beyond the diaspora as a bridge for traditional bilateral ties. Such engagement could utilise Greek-Australian relations with the Australian government with the intention to strategically learn from Australia’s advanced engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. In short, this paper will propose that established Greek-Australian diasporic organisations, like the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, can be mobilised as tactful conduits for Greece to lure sustainable economic investment from countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
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