Consul-General Kanara Launches New Initiative: Local Consular Services

by Mary Papoutsy

Consul-General Ifigenia Kanara, with her daughter,
accompanied by local dignitary George Gatzoulis.

Consul-General Kanara at far right, with staff members
Ms. Kosmidou and Ms. Makropoulou. At left are local
parishioners from Manchester, asking questions of
the diplomatic staff.

After a successful pilot session in Lowell, Massachusetts, on 31 May 2013, Mrs. Ifigenia Kanara, the new Consul-General of Greece at Boston, decided to replicate her "mobile" consular services in other Greek communities throughout New England. Manchester, New Hampshire hosted the new diplomat and her staff on Sunday, 16 June 2013 at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church on Island Pond Road.

Following Liturgy and welcoming remarks by Fr. Athanasios Nenis, Ms. Kanara introduced herself to the community in both English and Greek. Her purpose in coming to Manchester, she explained, was two-fold: to meet the community and to answer questions about Greek laws and procedures or provide official services, if possible. Consular staff would be available for assistance at a table set up below in the church hall during the luncheon and coffee hour.

Consul-General Kanara, who has only recently assumed duties at this new posting in Boston, was attempting to reach out to the "Greek Omogenia," or Greek diaspora. And from the remarks made by the local priest, Fr. Athanasios Nenis, and other parishioners, this novel move was a welcome one. Several dozen people availed themselves of the services offered by Ms. Kanara and her staff. Their questions ranged from property registrations to difficulties with pensions and updating of identification cards or passports. One by one, they waited patiently while staff assisted others with their questions. And to a person, they all left appearing pleased. It was, as Fr. Nenis has said, an "historic moment." Not only was it the first visit by a consular official to Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, but this visionary move by the first woman appointed Consul-General of Greece at Boston, signals a new chapter in the relationship between the government of Greece and the Greek Omogenia in the U.S.

(Posting date 16 June 2013)

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