Alexandros Costopoulos Presents Repo(we)r Greece Talk
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 01:02
Last Wednesday, the Hellenic Society of Boston College welcomed the “Repo(we)r Greece” team, which aims to educate on the exact status of the Greek crisis and methods to move the country forward. Traveling all the way from Athens, Professor and founder of Repo(we)r Greece Alexandros Costopoulos spoke about his effort to redefine Greek credibility both at home and abroad.
“Repo(we)r Greece started about 18 months ago when we felt that we should do something,” Costopoulos said.
After playing a short video concerning Greek heritage, Costopoulos briefly stated the organization’s mission. “We want to demonstrate that Greece could not be defined by the failures of the few, but the achievements of the many. We need to rebrand our country, attract foreign investments, tourism, and enhance bilateral relations.”
By highlighting “result-oriented perceptions,” this proposal aims to exhibit a different side of Greece that will both confront misperceptions and motivate the Greek morale. It is a platform for great change and growth.
Over the last decade, Greece faced a grinding recession that came crashing to an end in late 2009. Unemployment has risen above 25 percent, social unrest has decimated the government and billions of dollars have been poured into bailout plans. According to Costopoulos the crisis is primarily societal rather than economic, however. After being kept highly scrutinized by other Eurozone countries, Greece negotiated a landmark debt reconstructing deal in March 2012.
Costopoulos further called attention to the current misconceptions created. As a social grassroots campaign, Repo(we)r Greece aims to eliminate these errors at their core. “We need to restore our credibility. Many are extremely committed to move forward and discover the power of collaboration. We are not in a war-like situation,” Costopoulos said. These views and stereotypes came from a biased media that needed facts to attract attention. “They came from people who actually new Greece.”
On the flip side, Greece has accomplished many things, particularly in the areas of agro-business, renewable energy, information and technology. The country ranks No. 5 in the global increase for solar power. Last year, exports grew by 15 to 20 percent and successful projects, such as the luxurious resort at Costa Navarrino, gear towards drawing elect tourists.
Even though this initiative depends on individuals, “obviously we need political leaders that will continue the structural reforms,” Costopoulos said. The country must create a renewed system of institutions to address the bio products of the crisis. The European Union should also solve those inherent problems that directly affect Greek citizens. Otherwise issues of xenophobia and riots will continue to amount.
“Opportunities are probably the only positive thing this crisis brings about,” Costopoulos said. This may be Greece’s last chance to rebuild a society based on a system of priorities, values, and morals. For the first time, citizens unite together in order to build their own life that will not be based on past mistakes. “From Athens to the remote villages in Crete, we see alliances of teachers and parents. They want to educate the youth and provide the kids with necessary tools to reconstruct society,” Costopoulos said.
The only way to break stereotypes is by presenting the other side of the spectrum. “You have Greece everywhere in front of you every day,” Costopoulos said. “Its equally important—everyone must contribute in this process. Through consistency and determination we can change the Greek image.”