Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonis Diamataris who was appointed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to handle matters of Greeks abroad, has resigned, following revelations in the online platform Kalami that he had falsified claims of having earned an MBA from Columbia.
Diamataris had repeatedly mentioned in media interviews and on his official CV that he held an MBA from Columbia University in New York City. The degree was included on numerous websites, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs– even The National Herald (Ethnikos Kyrikas newspaper which he owns).
In an embarrassing move for Mitsotakis, the official government website was later changed to state that he “attended classes” at Columbia in the Greek language but web designers in their haste to change the bio forgot to change it in the English edition, showing a sense of haste and messiness in an attempt to wipe away a scandal of breaching the public’s trust.
When the scandal erupted after reports on Kalami, Diamataris backpedaled and said he had only attended classes at Columbia and for financial reasons he could not finish his studies there.
But the outcry against Diamataris was relentless– especially from Greek citizens on social media, who demanded his resignation, comparing him to the cleaning lady in 2016 who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for faking her primary school degree in order to get a job at a government-run nursery.
The double-standard angered Greeks, who have become much more sensitive over the years and have been more vocal on social media, using platforms to their advantage to send messages to their government.
Diamataris bought the historic Greek American newspaper National Herald (Ethnikos Kyrikas) in the 1970s after he claimed in a newspaper interview that he “finished Columbia” and became a figurehead amongst the local Greek American community in Astoria, New York where the newspaper was focused.
Diamataris had just landed in Australia for an official visit to the Greek community there when he was forced to announce his resignation, which was promptly accepted by Mitsotakis.
Diamataris issued the following statement:
“I have been dealing with the issues of the Greek community for decades. My only concern over the years is to make a contribution to Hellenism. That is why I accepted the proposal of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to take over the portfolio of the Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Diaspora Greeks.
In recent days, I have been the recipient of personal attacks that are disorienting and aim to strike at the government and the prime minister, whom I love and esteem, as well as undermining my work. For this reason, I have submitted to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with feelings of personal anguish, my resignation from the post of Deputy Foreign Minister for Diaspora Greeks.”
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