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Archive for the ‘Opinions and bullet points.’ Category

It is a woman’s world

In Opinions and bullet points. on January 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

ιλιοβασιλεμα

Για ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ:

Returning to the city centre after a day long sunny and warm Sunday by the beach (in Microlimano), I decided that I am hungry. And since my cooking abilities are not in the highest of levels (my dear people know this first hand ) I reached to the conclusion I should search for a place where I can eat a souvlaki – you know this delicious greek thing with meat and tzatziki and yogurt and so much more.. Yet you are wondering right about now why am I writing this article. No I haven’t become a food critic, neither is this the purpose of this blog. The reason behind these lines is to let you know about one of the most unique souvlaki places of Athens. I randomly encountered it while walking in a small street in Koukaki. It’s name : the barbecue place. Simple as that. And walking in you see three women working. JUST three women, Katerina, Eleni and Katerina again. παλια 2 παλια

And to add to this situation, not only they were working there but they were the ones that started the whole business in the first place. During the 70s they decided that this was their dream. Thus, they made this dream their job. And if I am allowed to say they made it somewhat more than a job – they made it art! From a male they turn this small restaurant into a female territory! And they did it good. From the most delicious souvlaki I have ever eaten, accompanied with smiles, comfortable conversation about the old days and the difficulties of the years that passed.

τρικαλινές σωστό

Will I return to eat there ? Sure I am

Will I be more courageous every time I think of these women that made it happen and survived in a man’s world with a man’s job? Sure I am – two times

Does this only concern women? Sure not. It is about will, devotion and doing what you truly love. Without degrading it with fears or insecurities.

The S word

In Opinions and bullet points. on January 10, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Article from the Huffington Post

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Talking about stereotypes can be a common thing of everyday life, especially in situations where a country is facing big societal challenges. Realistically and not just because I live in such a society for the past 4 years, an ongoing economic crisis is one of these very serious social challenges. A challenge that along with economic hardship, enormous unemployment rates and many people living now below the poverty line, bring out the worst of people. A challenge that assails the interrelations of societal groups and threatens the cohesion of Civil Society in general.

Thus, in such a fertile ground stereotypes can grow more vicious and create stronger and harsher roots. Therefore it is the easy way to choose hatred instead of the solution. To choose seeing stereotypes and not the reality. To choose to “protect” yourself and your loved ones and refuse facing the reality and all the challenges that bring.

Of course this is something I could logically accept. It is something depriving from human nature. Call it survival instinct if you wish.

Yet, when the situation with stereotyping gets out of control and human lives are lost in the name of ideas and in the name of hatred and frustration then it is also in the human nature to act. To stand up for what’s right and to be the lighthouse of hope somewhere in the middle. Name it Golden Dawn- the right extremists Vs the left extremists, name it Greeks Vs Germans, name it rich Vs poor, capitalist Vs socialism, citizens Vs politicians or you name it however you wish. The truth is that we need to reconcile once again, to reach a consensus, to stop loosing energy on hatred and inhibitory acts and thoughts. To stop loosing human lives.

What we did for that? First of all we made it our job to act. We realized that it is in our hands to change our society even a bit. That we should not sit back in our couch and wait for someone else to put an end on all these things. We realized and felt it to our core that the ones we were waiting to save us are indeed ourselves.

Then the opportunity came through Cultural Innovators Network, a project of the Goethe-Institute as part of the German-Arab Transformation Partnership that is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office. A new round of applications opened, new members were to enter the network. We applied and got accepted, we pitched the idea of taking down stereotypes through photography in a True or False dual portrayal. The members democratically and anonymously voted for our project and we started working on it.

4 months later we have these photos exhibited in 10 countries of the Southern Europe and the MENA region. We are using photography as many times one photo equals 1000 words. Having two photos next to each other – with the one showing the stereotype and the other one the reality of the situation – everyone is able to compare the two stories, stand in front of them, find oneself in the one or the other picture and understand that stereotypes are made up realities that do not need to control or define us.

True or False has a deeper level, as it engages us with solidarity, understanding and inclusion. The problems of peoples in a country far away today could be the problems of our country tomorrow. Open borders and globalization are enough to make such stereotypes appear everywhere around the global village we live in no time. The only way to prevent such situations and be able to cope with difficult times is with clear, honest relationships with no prejudice. And in such relationships there is no room for stereotypes.

Don’t try to understand my country, try to see Greece for what it stands for and try to feel it. This is the only way to realize our reality. And it is times such as these that we need you all by our side. 

Enjoy our video and photo shooting below.

True or False Video

fifthrealityfixed fifthstereotypeshot1

Corruption is a scourge for every society. Thus, stopping corruption and reintroducing Civil Society becomes a state of mind for many young Greeks day after day.

fourthrealityfixed fourthstereotype

Not every aspect of Greek entertainment looks like Zorba the Greek.

onereality onestereotype

Greeks can be loud, careless and depressed if the is no sun. But Greeks are not lazy. The nation that grows up with the word filotimo can never be lazy. Greeks work 42,2 hours per week, the highest average among all the European Nations.

secondrealityshot1secondstereotype

Since 2009 many public places, cafes and restaurants in terms with their social responsibility, they prohibit smoking indoors.

thirdrealityshot1 thirdsterotypeshot2

Newly established environmental groups and organisations, along with environmental education in schools and institutions rise the last 5 years in Greece.

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Photos from the exhibition room

I would like to specially thank Yiannis Papanastasopoulos and Ioanna Fotiadou for the amazing photos of the stereotypes and the event respectively!

Family or career?

In Opinions and bullet points. on October 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

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Για ελληνικά εδώ:

Are you a woman? Then you have to decide : family or career . Whichever you decide it will not be the right answer and people will judge you. But people do so either way? Isn’t that right ? Well dear Dots, I have the answer to your question and this is: Ursula Zore. The newly appointed Secretary General of the Republic of Slovenia herself.

Recently I have met Slovenian politics first hand, participating at Bled Strategic Forum. And I can tell that it takes serious long-hours work, strong personality, focused commitment and love for your country to be elected in such an important position with such a big percentage. But at the same time, I had the opportunity to meet Misses Zore in a completely different environment than the working one. I was very privileged to spend a night in her house. Privileged to talk with her and work on some ideas. I saw the house, I met the family. And I can seriously tell you that you should not ever listen to someone that will tell you you have to choose. She has an amazing house, two incredible children and a caring husband.

Of course it is not easy to have it all. But life is not easy. You need to be passionate for what you do and be in good terms with yourself. And the rest will follow. As for me, I feel very confident that Slovenia has such a great asset like Misses Zore in its new assembly. Why? Because a woman intelligent enough to be there for her family will definitely be there for her country as well.

New Year’s Resolution. Only one!

In Opinions and bullet points. on January 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm

New Year’s Resolution. Only one!

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Dear Dots,

In the first post for 2014, I would firstly like to do two things. Apologize for my long absence but December has been a really tense and challenging month. However I can tell you all that I am back with some great ideas and some really interesting projects ahead. Secondly, I would like to thank all the dear Dots that have sent me Christmas wishes through the blog. I am wishing you the very best from the bottom of my heart and I dedicate this post to you, to your persistence, patience and curiosity that always help me find the strength to become a better person.
When this New Year arrived, I found myself thinking about the resolutions and the promises I will bond to. I am a dreamer, always have been. However, when the stardust of the holidays fades away it is always difficult to keep up the excitement and the urge to meet the goals, especially the extremely difficult ones that need a lot of effort and attention! So this year I made only ONE resolution: Keep a track on my progress.

Step 1: I wrote down 3 big goals I would like to achieve before 2014 completes its circle.
Step 2: I bought a nice calendar. So that I am happy every time I look at it. (My advice: Invest some more money and buy something you like so that you will use it more often)
Step 3: Every night, right before I go to bed I open the page of the day that had passed and write down in the corner what I have achieved regarding these goals.

Of course there will be days of “stagnation”. Write this down as well and explain to yourself that you need to rest in order to be stronger when you start for your goals again.
Lastly as a friend of mine once advised me

Step 4: Wear a bracelet (male or female, it doesn’t matter). It does not need to be Cartier or Dior. Just any bracelet you like. Wear it as a reminder that always asks one question: Why am I doing this? If the answer is immediate and confident you have found your way. If you are among the unlucky ones like I am, then keep trying. And talk. The person that gave me this bracelet is always there for me and I am thankful for that. Find that person for you and I am sure you will have a New Year full of potential and engagement.

I just wish God to keep us all healthy and safe, since these are the only things we can’t control. The rest lay upon our efforts and our thoughts.

Let me know how it goes. And let the achievement of our goals change us, our countries and our world to the best.

SNOWDEN WHO? INTERNET WHAT? AND THEN GREECE.

In Opinions and bullet points. on July 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

SNOWDEN WHO? INTERNET WHAT? AND THEN GREECE.

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Dear dots,
I am positively sure that each one of you know who Snowden is. What he did, where and for whom he was working for. The point of this article is not to talk about the same old story once again. On the contrary, it serves a different purpose. We should quickly wrap up everything that has been said, everything we have heard. Even the rumor, that Snowden has been proposed for a Nobel Prize. Yes even that. So after having all the clues in our hands, we can savvy how actively or not Greece is participating in this situation.
Let me begin with the main actors of this drama. The US National Security Agency (NSA) in the leading role with the PRISM programme. Costar is the British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) with their programme TEMPORA. These two main f-actors had been collecting data from over 200 fibre- optic cables that connected USA with the other side of the Atlantic (which means us, the European Union).
These personal data of European citizens were collected and being kept in such a manner that would be illegal under the current law for privacy and personal data protection in the USA. To be precise, the full information that have been under surveillance were kept for a period of 3 days, while the metadata (information like the sender of an email, the recipient, date of sending, or concerning phone calls, the duration and the exact geographical position of the involved members) were on hold for 30 days.
In any case, it was always made clear to us that these programmes are here to ensure national security and combat terrorism. Under this «prism», the data that were collected but were not relevant to such matters were repudiated without being processed. However this is not such a big remedy; because we, as European citizens, have left with not much to do. We don’t even get a chance of hearing in the American courts and fight for our rights on a legal way.
This is the reason why as Ms Reding ( European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental rights and Citizenship) stated, we need European and non European companies to play by our rules and act under our laws, we need a more concrete and broader definition of the term “personal data” as well as international data transactions should be unfettered no more.
Connecting all the before mentioned with Greece, I can’t help but wonder where do we stand. We lag at internet economy almost from all the European countries (just Turkey and Slovakia are found behind us in the classification). Only 1,2 % of Greek GDP comes from activities run through Internet according to 2010 report. We clearly realize though, how important this factor, called internet, is. This truculent escalation of feelings concerning data protection and the usage of them from huge internet companies (like microsoft, google, facebook, etc) should teach us something. It should show us that we need to progress on that field. We need throughout this economic crisis to invest on research and not just cut our pensions and limit our salaries to minimum. We should invest on internet economy, should bridge the university and its students with the economic market. We have the potential for it, we have the proper education. All we need is to dare that next step towards our future. An investment for the current generations carrying on to the generations to come.

Renewable Greece

In Opinions and bullet points. on June 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Renewable Greece

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Dear dots,
Have you ever thought what the term renewable (green) energy actually mean? I recently found myself in a farm, where the production of it had nothing to do with the sun, the wind or the oceans. Only 30 km away from Brussels, the heart of European Union, a family created a self sustained green energy farm.
In order electricity to be produced, this family factory uses three different types of waste. The first one coming from agriculture waste and yards. The second coming from the food industry, especially the leftovers of oil production as the third one from livestock litters. After collecting them all, a mixture of all these three types of biological waste is being produced, which gives the possibility to mill it. Depending on the quality of the waste, gas (methane) is being produced in bigger or smaller quantities. Following, they are bounding this gas and with an appropriate procedure under strict security methods it is alternated and ready to be used in the factory engines. Now this free of methane mixture, after a procedural milling with enzymes, is put in a high temperature oven. There, it starts evaporating, producing many small explosions that lead to electrical power (Unfortunately i cannot provide more information on this stage, since the presentation was in French!).
The whole procedure lasts 45 days because the waste, before being used, are checked for being mixed with plastic or other toxic litters that would make them unavailable for usage in the procedure.
What is really interesting though is that 45 % of their income comes from EU funding, supporting renewable energy production. In the meantime, they provide a great relief on the biological waste management of their country since they are being used in energy production and not just being incinerated.
Probably it is time to realise that Greece has a huge agriculture, livestock and oil production sector. We can use our potentials to create something progressive and start becoming more self sufficient in the energy sector. Like that, we can limit our dependence of dirty coal as well as eliminate even the small import of nuclear electricity from our neighbouring Bulgaria.
First however and foremost we need to change our mentality. We need to realize that EU funding is there to be used to create job positions. We have to understand that subsidies are not just translated into money. I am not talking about job positions not only for unskilled workers but for electrical engineers, mechanical and chemical engineers or programmers as well, since all these factories run through a computer nowadays.
Now that we know what ellipse of working places means. Now that we feel what it means not to have a reason waking up every morning. Now it is the time to change. To see clearly that especially the young people don’t need just money but also self attestation and self assurance.
If that is what we need, then let’s pursue it. It is in our hands. Not everyone alone but all together for creating a factory or, as I see it, for creating our future Greece.
Hard work and only hard work can be a “Success Story”.
Special thanks to Mr. Jean-Jack Dohogne (and the project ACR+MED), for letting me be part of that visit, for translating for me when needed and for leading my questions in the right answers.