FNF Greece: Young Liberals Gather to Celebrate Engagement – and the New Year!

_MG_8353In Greece tradition says that families and colleagues come together to celebrate the New Year by sharing a pie of “Vasilopita” (King’s Pie or “Dreikönigskuchen”). FNF Greece follows that tradition as a unique chance to reunite the alumni of our Liberal Youth Seminars. More than sixty former FNF “graduates” followed the invitation to discuss recent developments in Greece and the rest of Europe, attend the panel discussion “From knowledge to action! – Evaluating political education for young leaders”, and – last but not least – to socialize with fellow alumni.

The invited panelists were three FNF graduates who became politically active on the local and regional level: George Kokkolis, Vice-Mayor of Rafina-Pikermi, Julia Tsaliki, Vice-President of Thessaly Regional Council, and Apostolos Siokas, Vice-Mayor of Moschato-Tavros. As alumni of FNF seminars, they emphasized that political education is the most important tool for any man or woman with political ambitions. They explained that the Liberal Youth Seminars helped them realize the challenges of “real” politics by providing useful insights and unusual perspectives.

_MG_8131George Kokkolis shared examples from his life as a Vice-Mayor on how he communicates with citizens, trying to explain the core of the problems and proposing efficient solutions. Julia Tsaliki focused on the role of women in local and regional administration. She conceded that “although Greece has many qualified and educated young women, they either don’t run for office, and if they do, they don’t get easily elected”. She then stressed the fact that politics need more women not only to balance men, but also to provide different views. Apostolos Siokas then highlighted the importance of the expertise gained through FNF seminars. “The seminars helped me succeed in the elections and prepared me to deal with the challenges of managing local administration”, Siokas concluded.

_MG_8658After the discussion, Athanasios Grammenos, the FNF Project Assistant in Greece, had the honor to cut the Vasilopita cake. The lucky coin, which gives its finder good luck for the whole year, was hidden inside the piece of Stefania Chantzi, a graduate of last year’s FNF seminar on entrepreneurship – hopefully a good sign for the future of Greek enterprise!

Pictures: FNF Greece