Greece is a country with a modern, independent existence ranging just two centuries back. Still it is a society with deep roots in history and with an equally strong sense of collective belonging – also with an important, quite successful Diaspora. So, when the newly formed Greek State had to build social infrastructure, from education to health to transport etc., it relied heavily on donations coming from successful Greeks, mainly of the Diaspora. These donations supplemented its meagre fiscal resources.
This saga of benefaction that evolved subsequantly is the object of “Benefaction in Modern Greece: Theory and History”, a book by Matoula Tomara-Sideris, Professor of Historical Demography and Cultural Attitudes, published by Kerkyra Publications-economia Publishing.
A major part of the inspiration of Greek benefactors – especially those raised at a Diaspora setting – flowed from the fact that such prominent members of the diasporic communities were part of what amounted, in fact, to a cosmopolitan elite. They thus carried along the reflexes and priorities of such elites – priorities they endeavored to graft on their motherland. Educational and cultural institutions are a showcase for this sort of collective endeavours.