Mr. President, dear Ambassadors, associates, young diplomats, welcome. And you, the parents, should be proud of your children.
I don’t think public life has many joys. It is often bitter. It’s not boring, as you will see, it is always very interesting. But I think that the welcoming of young diplomats is among the sweetest and most pleasant moments. Our Diplomatic Academy delivers to us the young diplomats. I will be seeing you and will talk to you individually in the hall afterwards. It reminds us that, amid the tensions, amid war and peace, we, our Ministry, our President and I personally, choose diplomacy.
Diplomacy is the way we can resolve the most difficult problems without always making them public. Diplomacy is the method through which we develop and promote our country’s position internationally, enhancing our country’s role. We have been through difficult moments over the past decade. Right now, our country has greater recognition than it has had at any other time in the past decade. Thanks to our diplomacy, we have launched and implemented 14 major international cooperation schemes that enhance our country’s presence in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in the Eastern Mediterranean, and in the European Union itself. And there are also global initiatives, such as our initiatives for cooperation among the states whose civilizations have played a major role until the present day.
You joining our Ministry in an era of great upheavals. In an era in which the world sees the U.S. remaining the greatest power, but with a trend towards the curbing of its power and role. We see new powers emerging or older ones re-emerging, because, as you know, from 100 CE to 1600, China had the highest productivity in the world, so for them it is re-emergence, not emergence. We have a world tending towards polycentrism and becoming more difficult to understand, so that constant study is required. Your studies did not end with the Diplomatic Academy, and don’t take this lightly, because we will either exercise superficial diplomacy just for show, or we will work hard and in depth. And I urge you to continue in the manner you spent this past year.
We are living in an period when it is not just the world that is going through great changes. Our region, too, is going through great changes. We are living in a region of instability; the triangle of instability between Libya, Iraq/Syria, and Ukraine. And we are the most stable player in this whole region. In recent years, we have seen three major wars with serious consequences; we have civil wars in the region. We have political instability as well, in Turkey. This makes our responsibility and the burden of diplomacy greater than ever.
We are also living in a Southeast Europe that has to choose between its European path, which we support, or instability. But we support this path, underscoring the need for the major historical problems holding us back to be resolved. I often say that history must be a school, not a prison. History must be learned, because in diplomacy we have only two comparisons: what other countries are doing, and what happened in history. History is a fundamental science for us. But also fundamental is the development of our economic relations with our environs in the age of globalization, and, as diplomats, we must support our economic diplomacy.
Our country’s major weapon is its culture, and this means that cultural diplomacy must enter your hearts, and always take care to present and capitalize on our great values and culture, our historical heritage, not as a dead letter, but as a force. Another power is our diaspora, which, together with our church, the Orthodox Christian church, globally represents the country’s heritage, its vibrancy and its future. The initiative we have taken for the protection of religious communities � especially the Orthodox Christian communities � in the Middle East is well known. And over 300 global figures and all of the region’s religious leaders have participated in every such meeting to date.
You are joining a Ministry that I believe is the country’s best. And it is a Ministry that is equal to or, in many cases, better than the Ministries of states our size, in Europe and globally. You have to defend this legacy of high quality, proper action, and study. You are joining a Ministry that, in short, has the good fortune to have the President of the Republic here on the day when our new diplomats are being sworn in. My friend and colleague the President honours us with his presence, with his great love for foreign policy and diplomacy. He aids us and supports us in our daily actions, and he is always ready to embrace our Ministry and our young diplomats.
Welcome to our Ministry. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for being here with us.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic