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Stabroek News

Greek ambassador - congeniality personified
published: Friday | December 9, 2005

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter


Greek Ambassador to Jamaica, Alexander A. Migliaressis (left), listens keenly to Garth Scott, Jamaica's Honorary Consul to Greece. - WINSTON SILL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

GREEK AMBASSADOR to Jamaica, Alexander Migliaressis, was in the island last week (Nov. 29-Dec. 2). So The Gleaner sat down with him to find out more about him and his mission to Jamaica.

The congenial Greek dispelled any formalities by implying the beach would have been a great place for the photo shoot.

"When I was a child, I considered countries that were far away as exotic and full of mystique," the jovial ambassador relates. Ironically, he gets to work with a few of them as he is responsible for Belize and Central America. He pointed out that the ties with both countries reach further than just bilateral agreements.

"We also cooperate within the United Nations systems, exchanging votes for candid-atures, and I'm grateful to Jamaica for that," he said. He cited the most recent case where Jamaica voted for Greece to become a member of the council of the International Maritime Organisation.

DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

Unknown to Jamaicans who are not familiar with our foreign affairs, Greece and Jamaica have had continuous diplomatic relations since 1975. For the last seven years, businessman Garth Scott has been Honorary Consul-General, and has served with three ambassadors in that time.

Before he became ambassador, Migliaressis was Director-General of International Economic Affairs in his country. It is for that reason why he (almost apologetically) focuses on this area of cooperation.

"In this field you can have tangible results. That will be my mission here; to enlarge the economic cooperation," he stated. He pointed out that one of those industries is shipping, which seems mutually profitable.

"The consulate here has been able to arrange a significant project with Petrojam where fuel exports have increased significantly," added Mr. Scott. By this agreement everybody associated with the industry has benefited.

"When you start having business in a country, that brings more people and means more possibility for business," he reasoned. Ambassador Migliaressis also has plans to assist the local tourist sector.

"We can exchange know-how. We have training schools for tourism on a university level." He pointed out that the classes are in English, making it easier for Jamaican students who take up the scholarship opportunities that are available.

"We will try also to have more of a cultural presence in Jamaica, which means participating in whatever festivals you have here," he pledged. It is also his hope to have Jamaican musicians go to Greece. Well travelled, his
experiences have taken him to Denmark, Baghdad and countries in South America.

Ambassador Migliaressis comes from a family of diplomats as his father and uncle were both ambassadors. His brother is also in the field, stationed in Austria with the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He loves the fact that he can learn and deepen his knowledge of the foreign cultures while doing his job.

"A tourist sees only the outside; monuments and nice beaches. But the character of a people, how they live, their traditions; you cannot feel it as a tourist," he reasoned.

Despite the rank, he is very down-to-earth. You get the impression that he's a regular guy who just happens to be an ambassador, and that's how he looks at life. Go back to how he started the interview and it's no surprise how he ended it.

"Next time for a better picture, we can get some ladies," he joked again.

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