The name “Alexandria: Nostos, Return – Nostos, the Return” has been given to the Diaspora Programme, which is a result of cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt. The protocol of co-operation between the three countries was signed yesterday at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, after the tripartite meeting for the Diaspora, hosted by the Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Affairs Fotis Fotiou, with the participation of the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Terens Quick and the Egyptian Minister of Immigration and Emigration Nabila Makram Abdelshahid. The tripartite meeting preceded a bilateral Cyprus-Egypt meeting.
The “Nostos” Programme is a suggestion from the Egyptian side and aims to bring together, in Alexandria of Egypt, Cypriots and Greeks, or their descendants, for a return trip to the place where they or their ancestors lived.
In joint statements following the signing of the Protocol, Fotiou said that the meeting, the second following the tripartite working meeting on Diaspora, held on 2 and 3 October 2017 in Cairo, based on the provisions of the tripartite declaration of Nicosia between the three Heads of State and Government in November 2017 on Diaspora issues, is historic to the three countries.
“It is the first time that a co-operation on Diaspora is achieved and it is the first time the three countries decide on a common strategy and joint actions regarding our Diaspora. At the moment, the issues of the Diaspora are one of the important ‘tools’ of the broader tripartite cooperation of our three countries”, Fotiou noted, adding that the initiative was welcomed by the Presidents of Cyprus and Egypt, and the Prime Minister of Greece.
“Today, we signed a cooperation protocol for a very important event to be held in early March 2018 in Alexandria where the Ministry of Migration and Affairs of Overseas Egyptians, in cooperation with other institutions from Cyprus and Greece, will undertake the organisation of a weekly visit for the Greeks and Cypriots, and their families, who have been living in Egypt until the revolution of 1952 and have since migrated to Greece, Cyprus or elsewhere”.
“It is an initiative”, Fotiou went on, “which we have developed over the last three months, which was tabled on behalf of Egypt, embraced by Cyprus and Greece, and was announced by the Heads of Government of the three countries”.
Continuing, the Cypriot Commissioner said that an agreement has also been reached for the better cooperation on Diaspora with regard to universities and “we have decided that in co-operation with our universities, scholarships will be awarded to children from the three countries living abroad. The three countries have a strong Diaspora in strong decision-making centers and “by encouraging closer co-operation of the corresponding organised Diaspora abroad, we have decided to transform this important synergy into concrete actions and to promote the exchange of best practices and know-how on Diaspora issues, so that specific actions can be implemented, particularly in countries where the three countries’ Diaspora are organized, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and France”.
At the same time, it was decided to promote issues of common interest for the three countries, such as youth, entrepreneurship, science and education, among the communities of the Diaspora. Such a cooperative initiative between their respective Diaspora groups is to organize joint cultural events where there is organized Diaspora of the three countries, as well as the organisation of events with the participation of distinguished Diaspora scientists from the three countries.
Additionally, with a view to encouraging and actively engaging the outgoing youth, it was decided jointly to implement a series of actions, through the youth organizations of the three countries abroad, in countries where their Diaspora is organized. Such an initiative is to exchange visits among Diaspora youths in the three countries respectively, so as to keep their roots, history, culture and language.
Speaking in English, the Minister for Immigration and Overseas of Egypt referred to the importance of the programme and what it aims to achieve. IN a similar fashion, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, who stated in his statements that “under the auspices of President Sisi, Alexandria is emerging as one of the largest Hellenistic, cultural, historical centers of the Mediterranean. It is an undertaking that we embraced with Mr Fotiou from the first moment, and we felt both great satisfaction when here in Nicosia, it was announced by the Presidents of Cyprus and Egypt and by the Greek Prime Minister.
The Diaspora is perhaps one of the most useful ‘tools’ in the tripartite partnerships that our countries have in many fields.
We, the three countries, are one of the pillars of stability in the region, and undoubtedly Greece and Cyprus are the geopolitical stability pillar in an area that has a lot of problems”./IBNA