Research exploring the politics, economy and society of Greece and its diaspora has been given a significant boost following the establishment of a key postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford. The position has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Onassis Foundation.

Dr Manolis Pratsinakis, Onassis Research Fellow

Dr Manolis Pratsinakis was appointed to the post of Onassis Research Fellow for the Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX (South East European Studies at Oxford) in July 2017. He is the deputy coordinator of the project and his fellowship is hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations.

The Greek Diaspora Project

The Greek Diaspora Project explores the relationship between Greece and its diaspora within the context of the economic crisis and beyond. The project aims to highlight, assess and analyse selective themes such as the recent crisis-driven emigration, brain gain, diaspora philanthropy, and diaspora-homeland interactions in the domain of politics.

Dr Othon Anastasakis, Director of SEEOX and Principal Investigator at the Greek Diaspora Project says: 'Unofficial estimates calculate the number of Greeks living abroad in the region of 5 to 7 million, in a country of 11 million inhabitants. Historically, the Greek diaspora was a major player in Greece's global standing. The severe economic crisis has redefined the relationship between diaspora and homeland to an unprecedented degree. Our Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX looks at this interaction from interdisciplinary, comparative and empirical perspectives, and also uses interactive online means of mapping and linking with the different Greek diasporic associations around the world.'

'The project helps reframe the Greek public debate on the recent resurgence of emigration from Greece and its impact on the country's politics, society and economy,' comments Dr Pratsinakis. 'Except from the significant policy implications of the research, the project also sheds light on the determinants of diaspora engagement in the developed world at times of crisis, diversifying attention from the developing world, which has thus far monopolised the attention of scholars in the field of diaspora and development.'

An ambitious work in progress

The Onassis Foundation has supported Greek Studies in more than 100 educational institutions in 40 countries, in order to promote and enhance Greek culture globally.

Further to the foundation's donation, the Greek Diaspora Project has also secured support from a number of additional donors, enabling it to pursue an ambitious research agenda.

Amongst the project team's ongoing activities has been the development of an interactive diaspora map – a tool dependent on philanthropic giving. The map depicts the presence of Greek diasporic organisations worldwide, and provides a platform for communication and interaction for global Hellenism. It contains more than 5,000 entries of federations and unions abroad, based on initial data from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has then been elaborated, categorised and added to by the SEESOX diaspora team.

Although still in its early stages, the map is already inspiring cooperation between SEESOX and Greek diasporic communities abroad, as well as generating interest from the media.