Conference - June 22-23, 2018

Homeland-Diaspora Relations in Flux

Greece and Greeks abroad at times of Crisis

St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

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Presenting paper

Political advocacy along ethnic and national lines: the case of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America

The Greek Orthodox Church of America has demonstrated a significant degree of political mobilization in critical moments, especially during the 37-year tenure of the late Archbishop Iakovos (1959-1996). As the prelate of the Archdiocese in the Americas he contributed so as the Greek-American community to grow and become an active segment of the American society. Among his achievements was his robust advocacy for civil and human rights, marching abreast with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. For his pioneer work, he was held in high esteem by his counterparts in the US which earned him access to the decision-makers in Washington, DC. Later, Iakovos used his recognition to lobby the US Presidents and garner support for ‘homeland’ in critical circumstances, strengthening Greece’s relations with the United States. But, apart from Greece, Iakovos had also to take care of issues related solely with the Greek American community as an integral part of the American society. The purpose of this paper is to explore Iakovos’ interference in American politics related to Greece and the Greek-American community - be they at the parish or citizen level and evaluate his work in the framework of International Relations.

Author bio

Athanasios Grammenos received his PhD from the University of Macedonia (Dept. of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies). His thesis assessed the role of the Greek Orthodox Church of America in the Greek-American relations during the tenure of Archbishop Iakovos. He is the author of the book American Orthodox – Archbishop Iakovos in the Greek American relations (in Greek, ISBN: 978-960-458-801-5). He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Panteion University and an MA in Diplomacy from the Graduate Institute of Political and International Studies of Reading University. His academic interests include the study of diasporas in International Relations, the history of Greek Americans, foreign policy analysis, and political theory. Currently, he works for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Athens, directing the Liberal Youth Seminars and the Entrepreneurship Academy. He is the co-founder and director of Koinon Oropion, a public policy think tank based in Oropos (north Attica). He is a columnist at Huffington Post Greece and Vice Greece. He has served as a senior consultant at the Greek local administration. He has been awarded with NATO scholarship by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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