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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Greek Tussles, Economic and Otherwise

Greetings from Greece!

This morning my team traveled around the Saronic Gulf through the Corinth Canal to a Sunday meeting granted by the Mayor of Nafplion. The Mayor agreed to an early Sunday meeting just before the start of the Carnivale events (which he likened to American Halloween). Nafplion is a small town in the Pelopenese with a population of 10,000, similar in charm and topography to Newport, Rhode Island or Sausalito, California. As I mentioned in my prior post, my student group is here Greece to study the impact of the economic decline and adjustment to Austerity measures. Here are some student observations made following our session with the mayor:

Adrienne D'Luna - The Mayor hoped that he could help extract Nafplion from economic decline by promote Nafplion as a major port. To that end, he said that he was working with major cruise lines around the world and attending meetings and expos in Miami and other ports cities in Europe in the hope to build the tourism business. The mayor is passionately involved with saving his city, both on a macro and micro level: just after our meeting we ventured down to Plateia Syntagma (Constitution Square) and witnessed an enraged (and possibly drunk) Carnivale Street vendor become angry at a fellow vendor, throw some of fellow vendor's wares onto the street and start yelling one word in Greek, repeatedly, which, of course we did not know. Although the police arrived at the scene to assist, it was the Mayor who broke up the fight.

Michael Cho - I thought it was interesting that during this economic decline, where the Mayor noted that unemployment was at 35% in the general population but reaching 50% among young people in their twenties and thirties, that he admitted there was not much he could do about the scarcity of jobs. Instead, the Mayor said it was his role to boost morale and make sure that he "put a smile" on the faces his residents and tourists by scheduling many carnivals and festivals. He mentioned three upcoming festivals, including the Carnivale events this weekend.

Stay tuned for more reflections from Athens and beyond.

Posted by DBorman on March 17, 2013 at 09:53 AM | Permalink


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