Mero Kececioglu-Consul General of Ivory Coast
Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
Mero Kececioglu is the woman who set up the Greek flag in the depths of Africa. By default, she is a true “Citizen of the World”.
Her contribution and support turned into a project that began in 1980 and continues until today, based on the maxim that “Charity has no borders because nobody has the right to be happy alone”.
She financed the construction and equipment of orphanages, hospitals and schools all named HELLAS. Proud to be Greek.
VNV: What was the potent stimulus that led you to this role, as Consul-General?
MK: Ι was nominated by the President of Côte d’Ivoire H.E Felix Houphouet Boigny because I helped the poor population of his country.
VNV: What made you a volunteer of the United Nations and when was your first time in Africa?
MK: I studied sociology at the University of Geneva and then during my studies as a volunteer of the United Nations I went to Africa.
VNV: You’ve lived in and worked with so many different cultures. Was it easy to feel at home in different states and regions?
MK: It was very easy to adapt myself and feel at home in different states, regions, religions and cultures.
VNV: Define the diplomatic relations between Greece and The Ivory Coast.
MK: The diplomatic relations between Greece and Ivory Coast are at a very good level commercially and culturally.
VNV: How important is the role of the Ivory Coast Consulate in Athens, Greece?
MK: It is important the role of the Ivory Coast Consulate in Athens as we help many refugees who live in Greece. We issue their certificates, we help them to find a job and an accommodation.
VNV: You’re known for not just sitting behind a desk, but being out there in the Greek community connecting people with the Ivory Coast culture. Can you tell me what inspired that passion in you?
MK: I was educated and inspired from my parents to love and help destitute people. Love is my religion.
VNV: You’ve also been praised for creating a friendly setting at the consulate. How have you made life easier for those coming through these door?
MK: I try to find solutions to their problems, to all these people who visit the Consulate.
VNV: What’s an average day like for you?
MK: I’m working 9 hours a day. Receiving people, organizing cultural events and answering different letters.
VNV: You’ve been declared the chief of a tribe. How that happened?
MK: I was declared chief of the tribe because I helped them with many educational projects, I built, electrified and watered a primary school.
VNV: How much you were influenced by your family?
MK: I was influenced by my parents and supported by my family financially.
VNV: What are your new goals?
MK: My new goals are to build more and more schools. Education is the best weapon for a child. With education you kill terrorism.
VNV: How does media affect diplomatic relations? Do you think it can be used to enact positive perceptions and change?
MK: Media can very much affect diplomatic relations sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.
VNV: What are some of the favorite aspects of your job?
MK: A principal aspect of my job is when I’m capable of giving solutions to the problems of the people in need.
VNV: What would you consider a great achievement in your life?
MK: The construction of agriculture school where young people can be educated in pisciculture.
VNV: Think of the future and dream of better days. What would it be like?
MK: When there is no hunger in the world and everybody can live peacefully.