THI Australia hosts Niki Kerameus, Minister of the Interior, Hellenic Republic to its 6th Digital Conversation Series webinar event
December 5, 2023
THI Australia had the honour of hosting Niki Kerameus, Minister of the Interior of the Hellenic Republic, as its distinguished guest in its 6th Digital Conversation Series webinar on 4 December 2023.
Minister Kerameus joined an impressive list of previous guests, which have included Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the then Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and Stephen Fry, noted international actor, writer and philhellene.
During the event, the Minister engaged in a broad and frank discussion with Nick Pappas, President of THI Australia, about the wide range of reforms of the Mitsotakis government in her current portfolio and as Minister for Education and Religious Affairs between 2019 and 2023.
Among the changes, the most significant for Greeks abroad was the historic ‘Diaspora Vote’ legislation, which was brought into law earlier this year, along with the proposed postal vote system which will come into effect with the European elections in June 2024. These reforms aim to eliminate many of the legal and logistical barriers that previously impeded the participation of the Greek diaspora in Greek elections.
Minister Kerameus elaborated on her earlier description of the voting reforms as fulfilling ‘a historic national obligation for Greece’ by stating that “by allowing Greeks living abroad to participate in our democracy with no barriers whatsoever and to express their views on national matters, not only do we enhance our democracy but we also strengthen the ties that link us all together with respect to our shared country, and as a result I would say that we are bolstering our nation’s voice on the global stage.”
In addition to the Diaspora Vote, Minister Kerameus provided an overview of recent reforms within the public service sector. The overarching goal of these changes was to “make it as easy as possible for people to interact with the public sector.” In addition, Government agencies will be subject to new requirements and processes to advance meritocracy, transparency and accountability in the public sector.
As part of the discussion, Minister Kerameus expressed her own strong commitment to philanthropy, and this dedication was most evident in her role as co-founder of the inspirational Greek charity Desmos, a trusted partner of THI Australia. It was also noteworthy that Minister Kerameus has introduced a new framework within which charities must operate in Greece, rewarding charity transparency and financial rigour with potential tax incentives and public funding.
Minister Kerameus also highlighted the key achievements of her tenure as Minister of Education, during which reforms and improvements were implemented across all levels of education, spanning preschool to higher education and vocational education and training. Minister Kerameus emphasised the significance of these transformative changes to the Greek education system stating that “the way we educate our youth today is going to inform what our country is going to look like in 10, 20, 30 years from now.”
Minister Kerameus conveyed her appreciation to THI Australia and the Greek diaspora, characterising them as “ambassadors” for Greece. She also expressed the Government’s keen interest in actively engaging with and listening to the views, concerns, and expertise of the Greek diaspora.
“A fully enfranchised diaspora is something I think we can all look forward to so that we can all play our part in Greece’s renewal which is at the end of the day what we all want to see,” added Mr Pappas, THI Australia’s President.
A full replay of the live broadcast may be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiFV8DadrSQ