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Deputy Foreign Minister I. Amanatidis' welcome speech at the 19th "Panagia Soumela" Pontian Youth Meeting (Vermio, 14 July 2017)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Dear Friends,

I am very satisfied to be here today at the 19th "Panagia Soumela" Pontian Youth Meeting, representing the Greek government as the Deputy Foreign Minister and as an educator.

I firmly believe that the strength of Pontian Hellenism lies in the inextinguishable desire to preserve our customs, traditions and language, and without the assistance of young people in this effort, nothing would have been achieved.

Pontian youth are a vital and dynamic part of contemporary society, and at the same time they are the guardians of the legacy of the values and way of life of the Pontus, a fact that gives us strength.

Our duty, as older Pontians, is to use every means and incentive to bolster this effort, from whatever position of responsibility in which we serve.

At the Foreign Ministry, we are open to any initiative that can contribute to the preservation and strengthening of the values of Pontic Hellenism through the exercising of educational and cultural diplomacy. At the same time, we are investing in nurturing the relationship between the homeland and Diaspora Greeks of all ages, in order to achieve effective promotion of our culture and language abroad, and to gradually bring home the Greek scientists working abroad. As you are well aware, many internationally recognised scientists, entrepreneurs and artists of the Diaspora have Pontic roots.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself announced a few months ago that a museum dedicated to Pontic and Asia Minor Hellenism is to be created on the premises of the Pavlos Melas military base in Thessaloniki, while the historical facts in the secondary-school books regarding the genocide should be taught so that all generations have complete, objective and sound knowledge of the real events.

At the same time, we encourage every activity that is aimed at preserving historical memory. This is why we welcome initiatives like the Pontic dialect programme at the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, any anywhere else.

Dear Friends,

I hope that all of you, our Pontian youth, will continue with the same dedication and love to preserve the language and culture handed down to us by our parents and grandparents. I wish you every success in your Meeting and look forward to seeing you here again next year, at "Panagia Soumela".

Thank you.

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