1. Why Greeks have excelled abroad

The activity levels and the energy that Greek emigrants demonstrated in their adopted countries are not only due to the “Greek spirit”. Coming from a country where they had to work hard in order to survive, they did the same wherever they put down roots. This drive to excel was often passed down from generation to generation, and created the fighting tradition that characterizes the behaviour of many Greeks abroad (as well as the behaviour of other immigrants who had to overcome similar obstacles, for example the Chinese or the Albanians).

2. Efforts to revive Hellenism abroad

The factors that keep the Greeks united today, spread out as they are all over the world, are primarily religion and language. These are the same factors that nurtured the irrepressible national consciousness during all the previous centuries. Wherever Greeks settled, their first concern was to build a church and a school (often at the same place). The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul, the pillar of Orthodox Christian religion around the world, and also the bedrock of the policies of Greek governments during the last twenty years, are important reasons for keeping Hellenism alive in Greek communities all over the world. The Greek government sends teachers to Greek colonies abroad in order to teach the Greek language and also to keep the emigrants in touch with modern Greek culture. The teachers are paid their salary in Greece and also receive an additional bonus as an incentive. From documents of the Greek Ministry of Education, one can see that this initiative involves 65 countries. Another positive fact is that the young Greek offspring of third or fourth generation emigrants increasingly value their roots and accordingly create associations through which they continue to uphold the traditions of Hellenism via modern means.

3. Another form of emigration

In the last twenty years, another form of emigration has appeared in the Greek arena. Because of the entry system the government applies to Greek universities, which doesn’t allow many candidates to study in higher educational institutions, a large number of students choose to study in other countries, either as undergraduates or as postgraduates. It is estimated that the number of young people that go abroad to continue their studies is about 20 000 individuals, but this so-called “educational migration” seems to have declined in the last two or three years because exam systems keep changing.