Officials in Boston and Athens, Greece look to foster Sister City bond 

By Audrey Martin
Boston University News Service

The City of Boston and Athens, the capital of Greece, are working to form a “Sister City” bond in order to promote cultural and commercial ties between the two locations. The news comes in tandem with the recent addition of a nonstop Delta Air Lines flight from Boston to Athens, which was previously unavailable. 

The agreement foresees a series of joint actions to promote Athens as “an ideal tourist destination for Bostonians,” according to a recent Greek Travel Pages article.

“We’re already late,” Bakoyannis said in the Greek Travel Pages article. “Boston, the ‘Athens of America’, ​​is home to a very large and active Greek-American community. It is a city with which I have strong personal ties. But above all, Athens and Boston are linked with a strong tradition, which is a reminder of our common principles and values.”

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis recently visited Boston to celebrate the 126th Boston Marathon alongside Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. There are roughly 100,000 Greek-Americans residing in the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire geographic area alone, according to Greek Boston

Panagiota and John Giannikopoulos, both Boston residents, said that the Greek community in the city is small but close-knit, and both emphasized the importance of maintaining ties to their Greek roots and culture. 

“Even as you get older,” Panagiota said, “you should stick with your roots as much as possible. It’s okay to be open, obviously, but you should share the language and the culture and the religion and the upbringing. It’s very important to stay connected.”

John, who was born in Athens and moved to the Boston-area when he was 16 months old, said that he and Panagiota try to visit Greece as often as possible, but the expensive costs of flights, coupled with COVID restrictions, means that they don’t get to visit and see their relatives there as much as they would like.

And being unable to visit home as much as they would like has re-emphasized the importance of a strong Greek community in Boston. 

“The churches here, especially here in Boston and New York, they play a huge role in keeping tradition going,” John said. 

That, and Athens and Boston becoming sister cities would help ensure that everyone, not just Greek people, may understand the importance Greek culture has had on so many areas of a life, according to John. 

“The Greeks contributed so much in so many areas,” John said, “whether it was the medical field, philosophy, education, mathematics, science, there are so many things that come from Greek culture, even the language. I mean, even taking the SATs, the root words, prefixes and suffixes, they’re usually related to Greek or Latin language and so it’s important to keep that going.” 

Currently, Boston maintains a “sister city” status with at least a dozen other cities across the globe, including Kyoto, Japan, Barcelona, Spain and Praia, Cape Verde.

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