The South East European Studies (SEESOX) research centre at Oxford University focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between European integration and the politics, economics and societies of the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. SEESOX conducts policy relevant research on the multifaceted transformations of the region in the 21st century, following closely conflict and post-conflict situations and analyzing the historical and intellectual influences which have shaped perceptions and actions in the region.
Recently, SEESOX launched the new SEESOX Diaspora website. The SEESOX Diaspora Project explores the relationship between Greece and its diaspora in the current context of economic crisis and beyond. It investigates how the Greek diaspora can affect Greece’s political and economic transformation and explores ways for the Greek state, economy and society to interact with its diaspora. The main research projects of SEESOX Diaspora are Philanthropy, Greek Diaspora and Politics, Greeks in the UK, the New Greek Migration and Comparative Research.
This project is designed to reach wide audiences in the scholarly and policy communities. Some of its main goals are: to become the preeminent forum for debate between the wider diaspora scholarship and scholarship dedicated to the Greek diaspora; to reelate Greece and its diaspora to countries which can serve as benchmarks in the way they conduct diaspora-homeland interactions, including Israel, Ireland and Poland; to be a port of call for anyone interested in contemporary aspects of the Greek diaspora, in terms of its library and archival resources, activities, institutional affiliations, policy relevant research; to analyse the new trends characterizing the current Greek diaspora; and to assess the developmental impact of the diaspora on the Greek economy and identify policies that can maximize its contribution.
Among the projects of the SEESOX Diaspora is the development of a Greek Diaspora Digital map, is a dynamic tool that records and depicts the presence of Greek diasporic organisations worldwide and provides a platform for communication and interaction for global Hellenism. SEESOX is also organising a large survey focusing on the Greek Diaspora in the UK, the first major attempt to assess and analyse the profile of the Greek communities in the UK which have been highly diversified with the post 2010 crisis-driven emigration wave from Greece.
Τhe Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX organizes conferences, workshops, and seminars. On June 22-23, 2018, it organized the conference “Homeland-Diaspora relations in flux: Greece and Greeks abroad at times of crisis”, at St Antony’s College. The conference explored the impact of Greek diaspora communities on their homeland through interactions in the domains of economy, politics, and philanthropy. During the first panel, the SEESOX team presented some of the output of in-house research. Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX) and Foteini Kalantzi (SEESOX) examined the substance of Greek parliamentary debates on diaspora during the period 2009-2017, by focusing on issues such as the diaspora vote, Greek state-sponsored language education, and diaspora aid and investment. The second session dealt with diasporic identities. Here, Giorgos Anagnostou (Ohio State University) pointed out the existence of two Greek-American narratives, the bootstrap narrative whereby individual achievements bear no connection to collective endeavor and the narrative relating to the Greek-American’s community aligning with other actors to help achieve goals of collective significance.
The other sessions dealt with diasporic institutions and the third sector, diaspora and Church, media and diaspora, diaspora and economy, brain drain and diaspora engagement. The final panel was composed by founders of bottom-up diaspora initiatives who presented their experiences and lessons learned from engaging with diaspora matters from a practitioner’s perspective. These included Nikos Theodorakis’ BrainGain, Effie Kyrtata’s Reload Greece, Nikos Stampoulopoulos’ New Diaspora and Dimitris Kraniotis’ Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy.
In conclusion, the conference provided numerous insights on the state of Greek diaspora-homeland relations, gave to the participants the opportunity to acquaint themselves with different perspectives and current research and critically advanced SEESOX’s aim of sharing its research agenda with Greek diaspora scholars originating from some of the most important Greek diaspora communities. It also created a strong network for cooperation and synergies in the future.
On Greek Diaspora: Rethinking Greece | Yiorgos Anagnostou on Greek America, Greek American studies and the diasporic perspective; Media & Greece | Nikolaos Stampoulopoulos, Founder and Creative Director of New Diaspora