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Reception by Consul Papanikolaou in honor of young students and young professionals in Texas

Tuesday, 08 May 2012

On April 21, 2012 Consul Papanikolaou hosted a reception in honor of young students and young professionals of Greek decent that live and work in Texas. More than 60 people responded positively to the message of the Consul and gathered for an all Greek networking event.

In his short welcome message Consul urged young people to engage more actively in the Greek associations’ affairs and eventually take over the work made so far as the only means for promoting and defending the Greek interests in Texas. Moreover he called for the creation of a Greek youth movement in Houston that will meet regularly and contribute fresh ideas to the work of the consulate and of the Greek associations in the area.

Read the Consul's Welcome Message in its entirety below:

"Dear friends, dear compatriots,

My wife and I are extremely happy and thankful to all of you for having responded positively in our invitation and be with us this evening. Although there was no clear reference in the invitation we sent out, this is a youth gathering. If you look around you none of us exceeds the age of forty and I am pleased to see among us tonight students and young professionals, of Greek descent, not only from Houston and the wider area, but also from Austin and Corpus Christi to whom I extend a particularly warm welcome.

Now, I am sure that most of you are wondering about the real reason of our gathering tonight especially since such an event has never happened in the past at the initiative of any of my predecessors. Well, there are several reasons I chose to try to bring all of us young people of Texas together:

First of all, we are a group of young people with many similarities, in our most productive years, sharing the same anxieties and concerns for the present and the future of ourselves and families. Second because as new professionals living in America, engaging in networking is a necessary tool to help our careers and business plans, no one doubts that we need to meet people we didn’t know so far, other professionals with whom we can exchange ideas or develop why not some partnerships. Third and most important because we all come from the same country, we all have deep roots in Greece and we love this country and its people and I am pretty sure we all want to see Greece eventually getting out of the tunnel and prosper again. Having said that I want to believe that we all need and we are all willing to offer smth of ourselves in these crucial circumstances in order to change the bad picture of Greece, widely diffused daily by the international media and present a different but real picture of a country with attractive natural beauties, with unlimited natural resources, with great business potential and with educated people.

And I want to be more specific: so far it is only the consulate and elder people, people who have retired, with plenty of free time, at their disposal, who have assumed the duties of preserving and promoting the Greek interests in Texas. The main motors for doing so is the associations (Arcadians, Macedonians, Cretans, Cypriots, professional society) and the Hellenic Cultural Center of Southwest with a special focus on cultural events. Although their presence and activity is worth mentioning I am convinced we have a lot more to accomplish. What is missing from those entities is the young blood, people with new ideas, flexibility in decisions and time to materialize projects. So we the young people of Greek descent are the only ones who can further enhance and modernize these associations. In any case, if young people do not take over, these associations in a few years will cease to exist in the absence of capable successors.

So tonight this gathering is a clear and direct call to you all, to engage more actively in the communities' affairs and dedicate some of your precious time for the sake of Hellenism in Texas. Especially the Cultural Center needs you more than ever. I would love to see some of you in our events, to see some of you becoming members of the center and express the will to be assigned with a role in its function.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of your hectic schedules and of all kinds of obligations you have to deal with every day. But please think for one moment, doesn’t Greece deserve some hours of consideration or action monthly? I am pretty sure we all agree on that. So let our tonight gathering pass out a very encouraging message to the rest of the Greeks here that we are behind them.

Over there on the table I have placed some membership forms of the Hellenic Cultural Center. The amount is only 50$ per year, let’s start with this and provide them with the opportunity to do more, let’s become members and receive the newsletter with all activities and the latest. Let’s create in Texas a strong and active youth Greek movement in the benefit of all of us. I hope I didn’t abuse your time, I stop here but I can assure you that personally as new consul in Houston I am counting a lot on your good disposition and skills. Enjoy the rest of the evening, the Greek wine and the delicious food prepares by the Christies’ family.

Thank you."

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