Constantin Cakioussis – 希腊驻广州总领事 – Consul General of Greece in Guangzhou.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Greece in 2014 has almost been doubled compare to the number of 2013. Along with tourism development, investment between two countries has also seen a better time during this period. Mr. Constantin Cakioussis, Consul General at The Greek Consulate General of Guangzhou shares with DB his experience in South China for the last 5 years.
DB: With the education background in Political Sciences and Law School, how does it prepare you for your career in diplomatic relations?
Constantin Cakioussis: Diplomat does three things: the one is he represents his country; the second is he negotiates for his country; the third is he informs both countries. In order to be able to do all the above, the diplomat must have a sound education background. Political sciences and law study have enable me the skills and knowledge to use proper symbols and signs in communication and negotiation between two countries.
DB: You have been in different important roles in diplomatic relations in different countries for over 30 years, how has the diplomatic environment changed for Greece during this time?
CC: In the last 30 years, the world has seen a great change. When I first joined the service, there was the Three Worlds Theory. Now globalization has brought different countries to work closely together. In the last five years, a lot of work has been done between China and Greece. For instance, Cosco which is a major investment for Greece. On the other hand, Greek ship owners are the biggest client to Chinese shipyards. Greece and China have been enjoying a very tangible relationship in this last five years.
The consul general is facing everyday people, meeting people from different cultural background, finding a way to help them understand each other.
DB: What do you think is the most challenging task for a Consul General?
CC: The Consul General represents the Administration of his country. The biggest challenge here is to avoid bureaucracy and to be proactive and fixable to be able to build bridges between two countries, among people as well. The consul general is facing everyday people, meeting people from different cultural background, finding a way to help them understand each other.
Guangzhou and Pearl River Delta are an extremely strong productive power base but the area still needs design and research development that Greece has experience with, therefore we very much open to cooperation between the two countries on this topic.
DB: Greece and China are both rich in history and culture, as well as business opportunities. In respect of economic cooperation, what do you think are the key points for further cooperation between two countries?
CC: Economic cooperation is about needs. Guangzhou and Pearl River Delta are an extremely strong productive power base but the area still needs design and research development that Greece has experience with, therefore we very much open to cooperation between the two countries on this topic. On the other hand, Greece is in demand for the infrastructure of renewable energy facilities and equipment. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the best places to find these applied technologies.
DB: Being in Guangzhou for more than 5 years, how would you describe the character of Guangzhou?
CC: Guangzhou has always been a trading city in history as well as a productive area. This city is the gate China opens to the world for thousands of years, with its abundant history and Cantonese culture thriving all at the same time. My favorite part of the city is Wen Chang Bei Road where you can get the feeling that this city has existed long before. The traditional Chinese medicine market – Guangzhou Qing Ping Market behind Sha Mian Island is also one of these places where you can actually feel like you are in China. In other parts of China, the history of the cities is only a few hundred years, whereas in Guangzhou you can see the vast history when turning every corner.
DB: How will you go further exploring the city and the culture?
CC: Walk, as much as possible. Look at the back alleys, especially learning how to write. The way of how to write a character requires a lot of technique. The way of how the character is composed–its inner meanings and excessive meanings – gives you the idea of how people think.