Two Greeks among the top young leaders in the world

Byron Vassiliades and Eleni Antoniadou, were selected as two of the 121 Young Global Leaders for 2016 by the World Economic Forum.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is an international network of politicians, businessmen, academics, researchers, artists and members of humanitarian organizations, which have the ability to significantly influence global issues, shaping the future of global political, economic and social agenda.

The selection of members is held annually in recognition of the most innovative business and socially minded young people under 40 years of age with a common element vision for a better world.

The President of Antipollution A.N.E. & GREEN A.E. companies, mr. Vassiliades Byron, was chosen as one of the 121 Young Global Leaders (YGL) for 2016 by the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Byron Vassiliades, recognizing the value and the responsibility that bears the title of Young Global Leader, will enhance the Forum's efforts to find new proposals for a better society for all.

The Antipollution A.N.E. and GREEN A.E companies are members of Vassiliades Group; which is active in the areas of Waste Management, Recycling, Energy and Marine. The Antipollution A.N.E. is today one of the leading environmental companies with activities in Greece and abroad. GREEN A.E. is one of the fastest growing companies in Greece and its activities focus on the supply of electricity in Greece and electricity trading in the region of Southeast Europe.

The second greek entry in the «121 Young Global Leaders for 2016» by the World Economic Forum, is NASA's Greek biologist Eleni Antoniadou.

The 28 year old Greek biologist, Eleni Antoniadou excelled for the first time in 2011 after making the world’s first successful transplant, by creating an artificial trachea for a 36 year old cancer patient. The NASA chose Helen in 2012 among 1,200 students to study at NASA Academy. In the course of her young career, Antoniadou has received several awards, including: NASA - ESA Award for 2012, was selected for the 2013 Woman of the Year in London, Every-woman in Technology Awards, the 2015 Young Business Woman of the Year in the UK, BBC 100 Most Powerful Women "11 Great Greeks of the Past, Present and Future" by the EPP party of the European Parliament, Libertine 100, Greek America Forty under 40. In 2014 she became the USA Laureate for Cartier for her research in bioengineering. Eleni was also included in the List of 21st-century women scientists that was sponsored by The New York Academy of Sciences.

Born in 1987 in Thessaloniki, is one of the start-up company founders «Transplant without Donors». The company’s objective is the transplantation of artificial organs created from biomaterials and biocells.


State Department Releases 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report. You can read the portion on Greece here:


Greece is a transit, destination, and a very limited source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and for men, women, and children in forced labor. Women from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Nigeria, and some countries in Asia are subjected to sex trafficking in Greece.

Victims of forced labor identified in Greece, primarily children and men, are from Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, Moldova, Pakistan, Romania, and increasingly boys from Afghanistan. Victims are subjected to debt bondage in agriculture and construction.

Hundreds of children, mainly Roma from Albania and Romania, are subjected to forced labor in Greece and made to sell goods on the street, beg, or commit petty theft. There was a reported increase in Roma children from Romania brought to Greece and forced to work. Roma from Bulgaria are increasingly brought to Greece on the promise of employment and subjected to forced begging; children are subjected to forced petty theft.

Nigerian women are reportedly transported through the Aegean islands and through the Greek-Turkish border in Evros and instructed to file for asylum as Somalis; they are then subjected to sex trafficking in Athens and other major cities. Traffickers use voodoo curses, spiritual traditions, and threats against family to coerce Nigerian women into exploitation. Traffickers transport victims through Greece for forced labor and sex trafficking in Italy and other EU countries. Small numbers of Greek citizens are identified as victims of trafficking within the country.

Asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan were vulnerable to debt bondage imposed by smugglers and trafficking offenders. Restaurants, nightclubs, yacht rental companies, and other small businesses serve as money launderingfronts for small cells of criminal trafficking networks.

The Government of Greece does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government convicted more trafficking offenders compared to the previous reporting period and made efforts to train police and the judiciary on human trafficking issues during the year. While a lack of proactive investigations continued, there was strong collaboration between NGOs and anti-trafficking police on identified cases of trafficking and formal agreements enabled police to place victims in NGO shelters in spite of a lack of government funding for victim services. There was a continued need for long-term care for victims of trafficking and shelter for male victims. The government did not investigate or prosecute any public officials for alleged complicity in human trafficking offenses, even though there were allegations of low-level police involvement in trafficking.

Recommendations for Greece:

Vigorously prosecute trafficking offenders, including officials alleged to be complicit in trafficking; continue to provide training and opportunities for knowledge sharing within the judiciary to ensure trafficking offenders are not prosecuted for lesser crimes with lenient penalties; enhance witness protection for victims and encourage their participation in investigations and prosecutions; improve screening for trafficking among asylum seekers, women in prostitution, and other vulnerable populations; ensure victims of trafficking are transferred out of detention to appropriate shelter and protection; increase the number of official certifications issued to identified victims of trafficking; encourage sustainable funding for anti-trafficking NGOs; reduce barriers to victims’ pursuit of restitution or compensation; ensure access to assistance and shelter for male victims of trafficking and labor trafficking victims; ensure all victims are effectively afforded a reflection period in which to recover before deciding whether to cooperate with law enforcement; and strengthen the central authority to coordinate and monitor anti-trafficking efforts through a mandate of accountability within the inter-ministerial process.


The government improved its law enforcement efforts in 2012, convicting an increased number of trafficking offenders and providing specialized training for the judiciary; trials, however, continued to be lengthy—with an average of five years in duration—discouraging victims’ participation in criminal proceedings. Greek Law 3064/2002 and Presidential Decree 233/2003 prohibit both sex trafficking and forced labor and prescribe punishments of up to 10 years’ imprisonment with fines the equivalent of approximately $14,000 to $70,000. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Labor actions and work stoppages by judges, prosecutors, and judicial officials during the reporting period exacerbated the problem of already lengthy trials, delaying efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable. Prohibitively high court fees for victims to retain competent counsel also hampered efforts to bring cases to trial. There were reports of courts failing to provide interpretation services for trafficking cases and of weak witness protection efforts. The anti-trafficking police investigated 46 human trafficking cases in 2012, compared to 41 cases in 2011.

Six investigations were for forced begging or labor. In 2012, the government prosecuted 177 defendants for human trafficking, a decrease from 220 in 2011 and 246 in 2010. Of these, 23 were prosecuted for labor trafficking. The government convicted 27 traffickers and acquitted 16, compared to 19 convictions and 14 acquittals in 2011. The resulting sentences ranged from one to 15 years’ imprisonment. Courts frequently reduced charges against trafficking offenders to pimping, imposing more lenient penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and enabling traffickers to avoid jail time through payment of fines.

Police academies continued to provide anti-trafficking training, incorporating survivors’ voices to promote increased sensitivity. The police maintained strong international collaboration on transnational anti-trafficking investigations and coordinated with Italy, Romania, Russia, Albania, and Bulgaria on trafficking cases. In one such case, 16 Romanians were held in forced labor picking oranges under debt bondage for their smuggling journey, having to pay rent to live in a decrepit barn and forced to buy food from the traffickers at exorbitant prices. High turnover in the anti-trafficking police unit reduced its effectiveness of investigations and NGOs reported that police did not conduct proactive investigations, although police improved efforts in responding to solid leads provided by the public. NGOs reported wide variation between judges’ individual knowledge of trafficking and sensitivity in court to victims’ symptoms of trauma. There were some reports of corruption among local police and vice officers, who accepted small bribes from traffickers or patronized establishments involved in human trafficking.

Despite these reports, the Government of Greece did not report any investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.


The government maintained very modest efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the year, despite continued austerity measures. NGOs did not receive any government funding to serve victims of trafficking. The government continued to provide services to victims of trafficking through public health services, a short-term shelter and processing center for victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse, and two long-term shelters. Thirty-four victims stayed in government shelters during the reporting period. Other shelters serving victims of trafficking were run by faith-based NGOs with support from international donors. Victims had the freedom to come and go from shelters. Some small domestic NGOs closed during the reporting period due to lack of funding. Long-term care for victims of trafficking was lacking and there was no shelter available for men. Child victims were served in the government short-term shelter, facilities for unaccompanied minors, orphanages, or in separate units of adult detention centers. Many asylum seekers, including unaccompanied child migrants, were held in substandard facilities and were not assessed for protection needs, leaving them vulnerable to human trafficking. NGOs reported police and immigration officials screened arriving migrants for potential trafficking, but the screenings were poorly implemented and lacked appropriate translation. The government identified 94 victims in 2012, of whom 25 were subjected to forced labor or begging, compared to 97 total victims identified in 2011. Only eight victims, however, received official certification allowing them access to government-provided care. Seventeen women and seven girls were served in government or NGO shelters and 22 victims received repatriation services. Victims who do not stay in shelters have access to legal services, psychological care, and basic social services. Formal agreements between NGOs and law enforcement enabled the government to transfer victims from law enforcement custody to various shelters. The government provided training on identifying victims of trafficking to border police, coast guard, and vice police. NGOs reported positive cooperation with police and the anti-trafficking unit but stressed that victim identification continues to be an area that should be improved. The government did not effectively screen women in prostitution to identify indicators of human trafficking.

The government issued new temporary residency permits to 56 foreign victims of trafficking in 2012, which afforded them the right to obtain employment in Greece—though employment opportunities were scarce. Advocates from NGOs accompanied victims to court to provide them emotional support; however, many victims were unwilling to testify due to fear of traffickers’ retribution or their desire to return home before the conclusion of lengthy criminal proceedings. While victims are permitted to file civil suits against traffickers, the high costs and protracted delays involved in processing these suits deterred victims from pursuing restitution or damages. There were no reports of victims being prosecuted for acts committed as a result of their being trafficked during the year. NGOs reported that authorities temporarily placed victims of labor trafficking in jail due to lack of shelter. The government did not effectively grant victims of trafficking a reflection period, time in which to recover before deciding whether to cooperate with law enforcement, and often ordered foreign victims deported.


The government maintained its prevention efforts through an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign on national television and radio stations, targeting potential victims of human trafficking. The campaign encouraged victims to seek help and informed them of their rights and available assistance regardless of victims’ cooperation with authorities. The campaign also raised awareness and sensitized the public to the issue of human trafficking, and highlighted victim protection and punishment for traffickers. The government did not demonstrate efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor.

Despite growing anti-immigrant sentiment, authorities distributed cards printed in multiple languages with information on how to seek help to potential victims at border checkpoints and in immigration detention centers. In cooperation with UNHCR, the government distributed a booklet in Greek and English to front-line responders with guidelines on the protection of women and girls in the asylum process who are at risk of trafficking. In cooperation with UNICEF, the government ran public awareness campaigns on child sex trafficking. The government continued to implement the national action plan against human trafficking; however, the government lacked a central coordinating mechanism to measure accountability for actions to be taken under that plan. The government did not demonstrate efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor during the reporting period.


Interfaith Dialogue Day, “Seeking Ways to Coexist with Those of Different Religion”

The Youth Leadership – The Exelixis Institute, under the auspices of Unesco, held an Inter-faith day conference by the title “Seeking Ways to Coexist with Those of Different Religion”, at the Cultural Center of the Archdiocese of Athens, on May 5, 2014.

The aim of this conference was the exploring of the problems, the challenges and the most possible solutions that arise from the coexistence of those of different religions focusing on points which facilitate the coexistence of religions as they arising from their teaching.

The structure of the conference wasbased on two axes:
Special scientists developed essential points on teaching concerning three great monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam - as for coexistence with others, focusing on tolerability, acceptance or rejection of coexistence. b) Chaplaincy of the main heterodox religions and communities that actively involved in our country highlighted the problems, the challenges, the positives and negatives that arise from the everyday life of the coexistence of different religious.

The event greeted by: Fr Adamantios Avgoustidis on the part of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymou, Ambassador of Indonesia Mr. Benny BAHANADEWA, the G. Secretary of Mass Media Mr. Ioannis Panagiotopoulos, the G.Secretary of Civil Protection Mr. Patroklos Georgiadias, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Egypt Mr Hirsam Darwish, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Iran Mr. Mozafari. They, also, said greetings Mr. Dim.Papagalakis representative of the President of the Greek Commission for UNESCO, Father M.Bradshaw on the part of the Ambassador of British, the President of the ESHEA Mrs. Maria Antoniadis and Mr. Jean Daniel Colombani the President of the Youth Leadership – The Exelixis Institute.

In the event participated as speakers:
- Dr Begzos Marios, Professor, “Changing the Faith: Religious Pluralism is Guilty or Non-Guilty?”

- Dr Zarras Constantinos, Assistant Professor, “Children of Abraham: The Jew and the Other in an age of anxiety”
- Reverend Adamantios Augoustidis, Associate Professor, “Pastoral Approach of Otherness”
- Dr Marioras Michalis, Lecturer, “Seeking ways of religious coexistence: Islamic perspectives”

- Dr Tsapogas Michalis, Lawyer, “Legal dimensions of the religious coexistence in Greece”
- Savant Rabbin Negrin Gabriel, “Act of peace: The path of faith towards the coexistence”
-Savant Imam Dr Abd Rasoul Mounir, “The foundations of inter-religious dialogue in Islam and its relation to modern reality”
- The Most Reverend Chrysostomos Metropolitan of Messenia, “The principle of Tolerance and its implication in the context of religious freedom”
- Father Kontidis Theodoros, “Catholics in Greece today”
-Reverend Boukis Dimitrios, “I the Stranger: Fulfill the Royal Law” The moderators of the discussion was Mr. Daniel Esdras, Director of the International Organization for Migration Office (IOM) in Athens and Mr. Alexandros Velios, Journalist
Main points of the speeches:
"Changing faith meets our tolerance in the name of religious pluralism and the criterion of how our coexistence with other religious”, Mr.Marios Begzos.
"Let us learn from the peacemaker Aaron, the" Prince of Peace "Jesus Christ or those who carry messages of reconciliation and mutual. Let us learn from the contemporary of Jesus Christ, a great jurist Hillel: "If not me, then who? If not now, then when? ", Mr. Constantinos Zarras.
'Primary concern of pastoral approach is the conformation of a Christocentric ethos of the members of the Church that the love for the others or ours be manifested in practice”, Father Adamantios Avgoustidis.
"Religions through teaching and historical evidence have proved beyond all the difficulties that can coexist fruitfully and creatively. People want?” Mr. Michalis Marioras.

"The remaining spreads of the Greek legal context for religious freedom, by the West European enlightening standard constitute open theological pending, despite the undoubted progress that achieved and affect the prospects of a genuine interfaith dialogue under equal conditions”, Mr. Michalis Tsapogas.

"Today, over the half of the world's population, supports its origin literally (genealogical) or metaphorically (spiritually) to the Patriarch Abraham. The past teaches the present so it can build the future. The Rabbis teach: "Accept every person with pure and natural face” Rabin Negrin.

"It is time to understand all Muslims, Christians and Jews that it is an unacceptable situation of hatred, resentment and hostility that occurs between us," Munir A.


Metropolitan of Messinia Mr. Chrysostomos reported in complex task of of the Church of Greece to express the coexistence documenting the 'practice' in ecclesiological criteria.

Fr. Theodoros Kontidis mentioned the difficulties that faced the Catholics in Greece, but also the positive developments which happening lately.

Rev.. Dimitris Boukis described the reality of evangelicals in Greece through various narratives.






Europe has to remain united and strong, Building a Transatlantic Leadership

More than 60 years ago, After the World War. The French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made an historic proposal laying the foundations for a united Europe.
“In today's difficult times, it's important to reflect on, and seek inspiration from, the achievements of the European project. Today, Europe is at the crossroads. Since 2008, the EU was shaken by an unprecedented financial and economic crisis, but it has to remain united and strong. Europe has been the answer for many problems of the past and continues to be the only answer for the problems of today.


A message for politicians: trust us, and maybe we’ll trust you too

Democracy in the UK is in crisis, with turnouts so low the vote is becoming a meaningless right – and trust is at the heart of it
Our political landscape is undergoing seismic shifts, and two factors stand out.

First, the three main political parties are haemorrhaging support. Recent figures show less than 1% of the electorate is a member of a political party – 20 years ago that would have been nearly 4%.

Second, and perhaps even more worryingly, in our last three general elections 20 million voters out of an electorate of 49 million did not go to the polls. And when it comes to local elections, or those for police and crime commissioners (PCCs), a staggering 80% of the electorate say “thanks but no thanks”. This week it was predicted that the poll for a new South Yorkshire PCC could attract the lowest turnout ever for a British election.

Our prized treasure of a civil society – participatory democracy – is in crisis.

Putting two fingers up to the political establishment has no boundaries when it comes to race, age, gender or national geography. Some groups abstain more than others, but the numbers opting out are so huge that if we’re not careful we could sleepwalk into a situation where our treasured universal right – the vote – becomes meaningless.

Some would argue that the response from our political elite has been inertia. But now they are being forced to take note, because into that monstrous political vacuum Ukip has emerged as a serious contender in England; and in Scotland, the SNP runs parliament and nearly won independence this year.

Many political commentators have rightly pointed out that our elite political class has lost the trust of great swaths of the UK, in no small measure because it has seemed to be more self-serving than committed to public service. Former prime minister Tony Blair’s love affair with big business and his support for George Bush’s foreign policy ripped the heart out of the Labour movement. Where could disillusioned members and voters go? Many now stay at home on election days. Today, more than at any time in history, and right across the political spectrum, parties are, to a greater or lesser extent, led by privileged individuals and career politicians with whom ordinary citizens have little in common.

Nigel Farage understands that disconnect better than most. There’s no political brilliance in being the anti-everything party, but where he succeeds is in his ability to connect with ordinary people. The “let’s go down the pub and have a beer” approach becomes instantly appealing when compared with what people perceive as the aloofness of other politicians.


The three leaders of the main parties must urgently find their own honest formula to reconnect with voters, and at the same time revitalise the parties.

I know about the difficult challenges in this area. I’ve worked for nearly 20 years engaging with black and minority ethnic individuals who are often cynical about politics. In 2010 the short film Why Don’t Black People Vote? articulated the common answer: “Because we don’t trust politicians.” I, and others, have also sat down with almost every party leader in that same period, giving them ideas on how to transform our democracy and society.

A good starting point for political leaders would be to begin trusting the electorate. That way, in turn, we can trust them. The too often vice-like grip that party leaders have over who runs the party machine translates to insiders getting a leg up, and outsiders – who are often popular – being squeezed out. That’s a key reason why we don’t have a multitude of working-class MPs.

Parties should recruit new members who would rejuvenate the local branches. Once recruited they can be nurtured and encouraged by being given suitable roles that use their interests, experience and talents. They must be allowed to express themselves rather than being there either to make up the numbers or as anonymous cut-and-paste replicas of the leadership.

In the late 1990s, I witnessed how local branches purported to want new voices – until those voices challenged the status quo. One incident stood out in Southwark. The local Liberal Democrat group invited me to speak. About 40 members were there: black, white, Asian, young and old. They were brilliant. Passionate about their area, the party, and social change. But, of course, with that mix, they challenged their party. Within months, the local branch was suspended, then shut down. Many of those individuals, along with disgruntled former Labour supporters, have now joined a local independent party called the All People’s Party.


If mainstream parties begin to treat new members with respect and support, they will bring sensible solutions to problems facing the young, elderly, sick, disgruntled and fearful. They will also be a conduit for recruiting others. Every local party branch, therefore, needs a talent spotter to identify the hard workers, gifted speakers and tenacious organisers, to encourage and promote them.

Time and again I and others have told the leaders and their advisers that the energy to revitalise their party fortunes will come from diversity. A diversity in all areas, at all levels of the party. This, above all, will help modern political parties better connect with ordinary people.

With greater diversity, grounded in strong values, a commitment to essential rights and decency, a party is better placed to avoid pandering to the latest popular prejudice. And from this starting point, new policies that support opportunity and talent are more likely to be unleashed. Rather than being like the Americans, who have allowed big business to run government, we need our leaders to have faith in us as empowered, active citizens, hell-bent on improving our society.


Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network Grows

Distinguished alumni of GMF’s 2013 Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN) Workshop, Gabriele Gün Tank, Berlin Commissioner for Integration, and Daniel Gyamerah, activist with the Initiative of Black People in Germany, hosted the first “Network Inclusion Leaders” Berlin Workshop from December 16 – 20.

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