IOM participates in international meeting on migration challenges and opportunities, with Orthodox partners around the globe

Athens - The International Organization for Migration in collaboration with SMART Media and with the funding of 24 Media, organized in Athens an International Meeting with the participation of more than 15 orthodox churches around the world active in the field of migration, under the auspices of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

In the epicenter of this international dialogue was how current and future migration challenges and opportunities can be addressed through increased partnerships and effective synergies.

“IOM recognizes the support provided by the Orthodox churches and its associated organizations whether in crisis or in non-crisis affected entities. We have a very recent example of very good cooperation in Ukraine where IOM is working alongside with Orthodox partners,” said Antonio Vitorino, IOM Director General.


“It is clear that the IOM, Orthodox churches and the associated organizations share common interest of supporting vulnerable communities. I believe that this knowledge, this proximity with people, provides unique direct support to the communities at local level, but also makes our work as IOM and your work as Orthodox partners complementary in a very clear way”, he added.

This was the first meeting between IOM and the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox stakeholders aiming at facilitating meaningful consultations and recommendations on how to improve global cooperations.

“The uniqueness of this gathering lies on the invaluable partnerships and valuable collaboration between the IOM and the diverse Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches and organizations, which are either interested or involved in migration issues and challenges. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has for many decades advocated and mobilized world authorities and religious believers for greater awareness about the urgent and consequential impact of climate change for the survivors of our planet and its people,” mentioned his All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew.


Among the participants, were representatives of Orthodox churches and Orthodox personalities from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Russia, Czechia, Kyrgyzstan, Belgium, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Zambia, Malawi. International organizations IOCC, MECC and the InterParliamentary Assembly for Orthodoxy were also present.

“Migration is a European challenge which requests a European response, a clear framework and a comprehensive holistic approach, which is build upon all relevant stakeholders, including religious organizations who have also a crucial ethical role to play,” highlighted Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission.

On behalf of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, present were the Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum Ms. Sofia Voultepsi and the General Secretary of Migration Policy, Mr. Patroklos Georiadis.

“Greek orthodox church has responded to the needs of Greece and has provided vital assistance towards the protection of unaccompanied children through a smooth cooperation with the International Organization for Migration”, said Sofia Voultepsi Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum.


The IOM in Greece, a key partner of the Greek Government and the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, has been cooperating with Greek Orthodox partners focusing on the provision of assistant to migrant vulnerable populations.


The event is available here