Migrants, Refugees & Economic Opportunity

I worked as a humanitarian worker for twelve years. What do I think of the situation in Greece,…

Georgia (Apr 4, 2016)I worked as a humanitarian worker for twelve years. What do I think of the situation in Greece, with thousands of migrants and refugees flowing in daily? I think it will get worse. But I also feel it gives Athens an opportunity it wouldn’t have otherwise. That opportunity is to generate substantial jobs.


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For nearly three weeks in December, and for three in February-March, I had the privilege of working with the Municipality of Athens with the support of the Fulbright Foundation in Greece. I have tried to help the City cope with this onslaught of human beings. I’ve been touched deeply by the generosity of Athenians. Yet I’ve also witnessed worry about how long this will continue, and how many people will come.

How does this situation translate into jobs? The migrant/refugee crisis is international news every day. Athens is at the epicenter of the crisis. People all over the world want to help the migrants and refugees, but they also feel for the Greek people. They want to help ease the pain of this situation.

This desire to help should be channeled into securing substantial, private financial resources. Of course, people want to and are making donations to non-governmental organizations. But they know that charity can only go so far.

In addition to charity, they should be given another option. They should be asked to invest.I spoke with a lot of Athenians during my stay. I did not reveal that I was working with the Municipality before asking them how they felt about Mayor Giorgos Kaminis. People trust him. He can lead the way in Athens’ economic resurgence. The business community and foundations must be heavily involved as well. It is time to build an economic engine. …

Read more about Bock's work in Greece at  http://www.fulbright.gr/news-events/500-fulbright-specialist-provides-refu


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