A new initiative for Greece
President Clinton and founding members, from left to right, George Stamas, Andrew Liveris, and George David, launch The Hellenic Initiative to rally global Greek support during an event in Athens on Sunday. Photo by Thanassis Anagnostopoulos, Ace Images
Convening a group of Greek business leaders and prominent members of the global Diaspora, a new organization called The Hellenic Initiative (THI) was officially launched during a roundtable discussion on how international collaboration can support the sustainable long term development and economic growth of Greece.
THI joins a growing movement of established and new organizations that are stepping up to support humanitarian and restructuring efforts in Greece following five straight years of recession, that Greek Prime Minister called his country's "Great Depression" in a meeting with President Bill Clinton today.
According to a press release by the organization, THI is a global non-profit, non-governmental initiative which aims to provide critical funding to sustain organizations that can help inspire entrepreneurship, business development and investment that will ensure the Nation’s long-term prosperity.
“By combining the support and expertise of the global Diaspora and Philhellene community – Oli Mazi, All Together – The Hellenic Initiative will provide immediate and vital support in ensuring the prosperity of established and new organizations, and more importantly, encourage ongoing education, entrepreneurism and investment that will provide a sustainable foundation for the country’s future,” said THI founding member Andrew N. Liveris, who is the chief executive officer of Dow Chemical and a native of Australia.
“Greece is a rich country - in people, culture, and resources - and the economic downturn provides enormous opportunities for Greeks to chart a new future for their country,” said President Clinton, who opened the private discussion. “I am pleased the Diaspora is joining together to embrace these opportunities and to invest in their country. I look forward to continuing to support their efforts."
In addition to the creation of new economic development programs, THI will also work together within the existing philanthropic infrastructure to supplement the work of others and establish new levels of collaborative effectiveness.
THI has already established strong links to the Leventis Foundation in Greece and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the United States and will collaborate with partners in the UK and Australia, as well as with the Greek Orthodox Church.
Founding member and Chairman Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, George A. David said “I am pleased to see the interest and support of our Diaspora. Greece has enormous potential for growth which THI can help to ignite and today’s meeting is a great first step.”
“By partnering with credible and established organizations, and guided by our own analysis, we will identify which areas to focus on for building capacity to support economic growth, inspire entrepreneurship and encourage investment” added George P. Stamas, also a founding member of the group and a partner at the Washington DC law firm Kirkland and Ellis.
As part of their launch activities, the founding members also met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to highlight the focused collaboration needed to support the long term development and competitiveness of Greece.