Last summer Peter Clements, the mayor of Australian’s Kangaroo Island, was quite impressed with the Greek hospitality and determination of the people when he visited the Mytilene campus of the University of the Aegean for the 14th Islands of the World International Conference. While in Greece he witnessed that despite of everything going on in the country – from the migrant crisis to the financial austerities – the true spirit of the Greek people prevailed.
“Over a million refugees have poured through Mytilene from Turkey in the past years, many of whom were still on the island being looked after by the Greeks. I don’t mean to be political, but Australia needs to take a lesson from Greece in humanity. The Greeks, even during their country’s worst economic downturn in history, still have time to assist refugees in finding a home and look after their welfare,” Clements told the Greek-Australian newspaper Neos Kosmos, adding, “I take my hat off to these wonderful islanders, because although it was pretty obvious that the state of the economy was not good during our visit, such a thing was not reflected in people’s attitude.”
Now it is Mayor Clements’ turn to extend an invitation to the Greeks as Kangaroo Island will be the host of the 15th Islands of the World International Conference (International Small Islands Studies Association, ISISA) from July 2-7, 2017.
With a theme of ‘Small Island Communities, Models for Global Survival,’ Clements is anxious for the academics and professionals from Greece to be able to take part in the conference as he says their insights are invaluable.
Clements is currently trying to raise funds to help aid the struggling Greeks with travel and accommodation costs and has turned to the Greek-Australian community to help with the cause.
“Although it is difficult in these times to raise sufficient funds, it would be great if some of our well-known Adelaide Greek businessmen could assist us with some funding, therefore we are now appealing to the Greek community in Australia to come to the rescue,” adding, “Australia has a long way to go in its humanitarian approach to the rest of the world and I would like to think that Kangaroo Island could open its arms to people who are less fortunate in these global circumstances.”
For more information please contact Kangaroo Island Council at (08) 8553 4500 or visit the council’s website at www.kangarooisland.sa.gov.au