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ATTRACTING OUR YOUNG TO HELLENIC CULTURE AND HERITAGE (cont'd)

12. SUMMARY: There is an urgent need for a revival within the Greek-American Community. The recent unglamorous parade for the 25th of March in New York, should come as no surprise and should be a wake up call for all Americans of Greek origin. Much better organization and planning are required, to develop effective programs for our young in North America, concerning Greek Language, Culture and Heritage. Our Church cannot do this without community initiatives. A Culture-Heritage Task-Force for United States and Canada, should be formed, for developing a Master-Plan along the lines of this study, designed to attract our young into the fold of Hellenic Culture. The time to act is now. Efforts by the Council of Greeks Abroad, like the Youth Conference in Chicago on April 17, 18, and 19th 1999, and activities of other Organizations are good, but not enough. The development of an ultramodern Greek-American University in the United States, will be an absolute blessing for our young, and a tremendous source of pride for our Community.

Some might say that it is already late and that the profusion of mixed marriages, makes such plans unrealistic. We sharply disagree with this argument. Hellenic Culture has strong enduring qualities and should not to be underestimated. The Culture is so fabulous, rich and engulfing, that even one parent can enrich his family with it. Furthermore, local Task-Forces should be developed soon and should coordinate their efforts with the National entity. For preservation of Greek Language, efforts should start at home by parents, assisted by TV. Programs right at the family room, and at the earliest possible age. Regular instruction at School can be effective, only as a continuum to parental home instruction, otherwise, it will be considered as learning of just another foreign language.

In the absence of such a winning combination, formal teaching of Greek Language by dedicated, well paid and committed bilingual professional teachers, will be just as effective especially when combined with special TV programs for children and adults. The large surplus of bilingual teachers in Greece, could be tapped for this task. Charter Schools like the Athenian Academy in Florida will be an absolute blessing.

Finally, modernization and global homogenization, are proceeding at a fast pace and the issues discussed here have an inherent urgency. Boosting of cohesion among Creek-American Organizations is urgently needed. The present fragmentation and lack of coordination are deplorable. Moreover, we need a think-tank of Scholars and other Professional experts, to produce a sophisticated 21st Century agenda. We should utilize all Brain and Financial-Power at our disposal. A National Foundation should be created by the richest Greek-Americans, for support of local Programs. This is a rational approach for survival of Hellenic Culture in the coming decades.

 

M. C. Geokas, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.*
(Em) Professor of Medicine  
Biological Chemistry, UC, Davis.                 

 

A. T. Papathanasis, Ph.D.**
Professor Political Economy
Central Connecticut University, New Britain, CT

*PRESIDENT    **VICE-PRESIDENT

DEMOKRITOS SOCIETYOF AMERICA
A THINK-TANK.
P.O. Box 2247,Walnut Creek, CA 94595
Tel: 925-946-0180, FAX: 925-946-1987

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