ioanna fotopoulou

Archive for the ‘Press releases’ Category

Sustainability and Leadership. A new dimension.

In Press releases on August 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm

συνεντευξη

Για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ 

This summer in Serbia, Novi Sad took place the One Young World Caucus meeting where i was invited to hold a workshop regarding Good governance and how we as citizens can help towards this direction. Talking to an audience of 20+ well educated young leaders coming from South Africa and Botswana to Azerbajan is always a challenge. But together, through a series of interactive and team building excerises we managed to reach fruitful conclusions and see in practise the main organizational directives of a society.

In moments like these however, when a group of young people had come closer, they act and think together, they are accepting the different and all together they are ready for the next step, such moments are when the magic happens. Such moments new ideas come unbiased to nest in their realities. We were ready in advance to accept the importance of sustainability and we were already convinced that this sustainability is what the leadership of our soceities needs. And this is exactly what the movement called “Sustainable Leadership” stands for. A movement of some aspiring young people that is already backed from many among which are Arriana Huffington – the Hiffungton Post, the sustainability officer of Swarovski, Khwezi Kondile – recipient of The Mail and Guardians Top Influential Young South African for 2013 and many others. 

So what is that all these people believe in? That for our societies to be viable, viability should be engaged in the way we also see leadership, the way we influence, the way we use our power, even in the way we have succession of our leaders. 

Now you can imagine how proud I felt when I was asked to give an interview next to all these important leaders. How touched I was to talk in an international audience through the lines of my interview about YouRule, about our Greece, my heart… 

The whole interview can be assecible here 

Youth challenges, Greek challenges, International ones.

In Press releases on November 17, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Youth challenges, Greek challenges, International ones.

Για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα ελληνικά, εδώ:
The actiVests. An NGO created in the Balkan region to introduce to the area an absent concept, the concept of civil society. To explain the aspects, delegate about it and establish it as part of people’s everyday lives.
With that in mind, the Greek team of the actiVests applied for One Young World Summit in Johannesburg. For a chance to get a scholarship to represent our country and present our efforts and opinions to an international audience like the one only One Young World can provide. And we got it. I was fortunate enough to have earned the opportunity to give a speech in “Leadership & Government” session. In this way, we achieved a hearing for Greece’s today’s situation in front of 190 different nationalities. Literally from all over the world.
But ignorant enough back then we believed that the problems the actiVests faces were unique to our home country, Greece. That we have to fight our way out of it alone. We believed, that by no chance someone else can understand what we go through. So wrong we were.
As the Summit was progressing and the days were passing a realization was coming. True, all the stories were somehow different. Yet, a key factor was the same, the youth empowerment. It is the courage of young leaders, which tackles problems in every corner of this world by using technology, innovation and by having constantly a positive thinking
After the actiVests trip to South Africa and the OYW experience, we came up with the idea of the “Global Talks Campaign”. We would bring young leaders, actively involved in youth issues of their countries, for open discussions in Thessaloniki, Greece. Discussions not just with the our nonprofit organization but also with different agencies like domestic NGO’s, rotary clubs, international youth organizations based in Central Macedonia’s prefecture of Greece, the youth of political parties, etc.
We would create that campaign which could enable knowledge to be shared, dialogue to generate solutions and even help someone struggling in another part of the world. A campaign that shows a way to gain experiences, avoid mistakes and learn from other leaders lessons.
Towards that direction we planned the first public talk. Our guest? An aspiring young leader, one of the activists in the youth movement and one of the 40 members of the National Youth Project in Kuwait.
We selected Kuwait’s OYW Ambassador in order to better test our hypothesis and claim. That, no matter how different two countries are at a first glance, the youth of each nation faces similar challenges and tries to pursue similar goals.
During his presentation, Mohammad AlMunaikh gave us the chronicle of Kuwait’s youth movement and its success factors. He clearly pointed out 2010, the year that the youth came to be more mature and connected thanks to modern technology and social media. During that year, youth had significant power to influence the decision making process. This was also made clear through the comments of Abdulaziz al Mutairi. Via skype he joined us and introduced to us the difficult decisions he had to make, being one of the leaders of the movement. The difficult times he had to go through among with other young people and the victories they achieved because they stayed united.

 

As a Kuwaiti, Mohammad was surprised by the similarities of our countries. “The more I meet people in different parts of our world, the more I become a believer that we all live to satisfy one same value- the freedom of choice” he said.
This is the tipping point where you realize, that we really live in a Global Neighboorhood. Every problem you might have, any solution you might come up with can help and give the know-how on tackling a problem in a neighborhood far far away in kilometers, yet so close on the feelings and hopes point of view.
Our remark: Two countries like Greece and Kuwait, so far away geographically, culturally, different in terms of religion, habits, income and customs found a common ground. We took a great lesson of Kuwait’s youth movement and their peaceful protests. We gave back our knowledge regarding our fights for free higher education and freedom of expression from our recent political history.
All those achievements won by the youth will now be enriched with more knowledge and experience, under the “Global Talks Campaign”. Society victories that were lead by youth, now are going public as a know-how to be shared with our and the coming generation, struggling for their fights.
There are no borders when it comes to ideas, no restrictions when it comes to determined young people. There are no Greek nor Kuwait youth problems. Only international ones.
Next stop of the campaign will be again Thessaloniki on the 1st of December. This time, some Serbian ambassadors are coming to talk about money, crowd funding and determination. Hopefully the third one will be somewhere around the globe. Do you believe you have something to say? Let’s organize a Global Talk together. In our country, in your country, on skype. We are excited to hear your stories.

For the actiVests team,
The International president
Ioanna Fotopoulou
president@theactivests.org

My speech on One Young World Summit

In Press releases on October 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

My speech on One Young World Summit

Για να διαβάσετε τον λόγο μου στα ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ:

 

Before starting, I would like due to some incidents with fascism and a political party to say to all the Greeks watching and all the people around the world stay united. This is the only way to defeat fascism.
One Young World, Καλησπέρα.
I come from Greece, THE country of the economic crisis. Riots, Molotov cocktails against the parliament, unemployment, corruption, I know. But recently, working in the European Parliament in Brussels, I saw something changing within the Greek mentality and the Greek politics. Efforts towards a national sovereignty. Efforts to pay back every single euro we owe, so that our presence within the EU will be again of significance. So let me through the eyes of a young Greek, introduce you to the real Greek situation. In three steps.
Number one: The state.
The way our state operates needs to be improved. Our debts need to be paid back. A practical way to achieve this is by changing the structure of our tax collection. We need transparency on how every single Greek, from a pensioner to the Prime Minister, earns his income. Αν online database for Greeks to declare their income might not sound exciting, but is vital. Tax evasion is responsible for the 1/5 of the Greek debt right now. Imagine our debts starting being sustainable and Greece to reach an economic growth just by changing the tax collection procedure. The brilliant thing in this procedure is that includes everyone. Even our high ranked state employees and our politicians. However, corruption is like an hourglass, starts from the top and as time passes reaches the base. Up until now you will hear people saying: The elite of our country doesn’t pay taxes, why should we? This feeling has changed drastically among my generation. We are fed up of this system. We don’t deny our obligations and we want to pay what needs to be paid. At this critical point of our history, we need politicians ready to lead, ready to give up some of their own comforts existing in the current tax system in order to realize transparency. This should become through our politicians a new national identity. This leads to
Number two: Leadership and Governance
I will start with an example. I come from Thessaloniki the second biggest city in Greece. The subway of Thessaloniki started being created in 1989. Still today under construction. Not because of slow implementation or lack of resources but because of slow political will. Fluid politics and lack of consistency in policy lines bring new reforms every four years with every new government elected. But this online tax database should be used no matter who governs the country. Political leaders must be able to see above party affiliations and beyond electoral campaigns to the common public good. The transformation of society needs to start with them. I don’t of course deny any responsibility, we voted for them, including me. But they need and can be the role models we look up to.
And this brings us to Number three: Civil society
This is how the idea of “The actiVests” was born. An action group with vision to reform society and redefine democracy. Our first important fight is the one against corruption. We are conducting a survey on tax evasion, the social groups excluded of tax payment and we advise on improvements. However, this economic crisis has a moral dimension as well. For that, we initiate a series of 3 round table talks in Thessaloniki. We will livestream them and promote them through social media so that they reach as many people as possible and like that we can expand the impact. We are gathering the political elite with representatives of the prefecture of central Macedonia, the Macedonia and Thrace ministry, consulates and civil society’s representatives. In the end of every debate we will pose questions to the political elite derived from our twitter account. This way, we will raise awareness on the importance of eliminating tax evasion, include everyone realizing democracy at its core but also try to create together a formula with which families struck by unemployment are helped.
Just three things. Good governance, a robust civil society and a responsible state. These are the three indispensable pillars to Greece’s recovery. And Greece will again marry its great history with a bright future. If my country can achieve it so can yours.
So read, question, take a deep breath and have the courage to stand up and make some positive change. Remember that we make the countries, not vice versa.

The speech reached through livestreaming 35.000 all around the world and 1500 live at the One Young World Summit, that was attended by Mr. Kofi Annan, Ms Arianna Huffington, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Bob Geldof and Prof. Mohamed Yunus.

Working for the Right(s)

In Press releases on April 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Working for the Right(s)

 

Για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ :

My dear dots,
I have to apologize for not being in touch with all of you for so long. However, after two really intense weeks I have so many stories to share with you. There was not one moment that I forgot about you.
What you are reading now though is written to pay tribune to some people in Greece. Those people that believed in our work and supported our efforts. Those people that accept Greece as a country will possibilities and perspectives. Towards that me and other young people among me are putting our efforts . We will reBrand Greece because we can. As Elitis once said : Once you decompose Greece you got left with a branch of olive , a branch of grapes and a ship. And that means with all these you can recreate it.

Ms Pepi Gioultsi thank you. I wish you to stay strong and fight with what is coming next.
( I also have to thank Ms Marina Dritsa and the editors of nooz.gr)

You can find the articles as published in the following links :

http://web.ana-mpa.gr/balkans/article.php?doc_id=619298

http://eu.greekreporter.gr/?p=13400

http://www.nooz.gr/lifestyle/mia-ellinida-ereunitria-stous-kataulismois-ton-roma

Interview on Bosnian National Radio

In Press releases on February 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Interview on Bosnian National Radio

 

Για να διαβάσετε το κείμενο στα ελληνικά, εδώ .

By trying to make a change in something, which doesn’t directly change your daily reality, gives you an expectation that the better is yet to come.
Everything started a while ago, when, being scholars for a year, on the “Leadership Development Programme and the EU”, we had to create a project to work on.
My team is consisting of 6 people. One Greek, one Turkish, two Albanians, two Bosnians. From the begging our backgrounds were completely different. Our opinions and views for religion, everyday life, education, even this European reality which I grew in, differed a lot. We worked hard to find a common point of view. The result was encouraging. The Roma population, which is being deprived of many basic rights, touched every one of us.
Project title: Trapped In Between
The Roma population of the Balkans today is more than a million. The majority of them are unemployed, unqualified, without the basic -primary school- education. Their marginalization is obvious and without hope of change. However, their problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina are even bigger since they don’t have rights to passport and legal papers as well as health security. Refuges from the time of the war in Kosovo, they don’t have still a legal entity or a legal status which makes them citizens of a country. They are obliged to live in special places like concentration camps, without the possibility of moving or going back to the territory of Kosovo, where they came from in the first place.
The common opinion has been informed. The first step is done. We did it together. With your awareness and sensitization being present. By supporting our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TrappedInBetween). With your participating in our conference in Sarajevo.
What is left now, is for the competent NGO’s and the governments of the countries involved to establish regional cooperation and start solving the problem.
Because in the end of every action we have to think that besides the political and economical policies, the interests or the suspensions we are all human. And without this compassion, no political act can serve the common good.