The unique country of South America has proved multiple times and in various ways its philhellenic spirit and respect for Greek culture. The two countries, despite the seemingly insurmountable distance between them, have historically shown solidarity. Both Greece and Uruguay have actively supported the struggles that each has made for its independence. At the same time, the small but dynamic Greek community of Uruguay, whose history begins around 1920, remains active in preserving and promoting the Greek spirit.
The “Maria Tsakos” Foundation is one of the most remarkable examples of this effort. It was founded in 1978 and has since played an important role in cultivating a living contact of the Greek and Uruguayan public of the small country with the Greek culture.
The remarkable work of the institution consists primarily in the offer of free courses in Modern Greek through the School of Humanities of the State University. In fact, the Foundation has been recognized by the Greek Language Center of the Ministry of Education as an official Examination Center for Certification of Proficiency in Greek in Uruguay and other Latin American countries. The foundation also provides courses in Greek dance, singing, music, literature, philosophy, Greek cuisine, mythology and art history. Furthermore, the large collection of books by Greek authors in Greek and Spanish brings visitors closer to the bottomless wealth of Greek literature. More than 400 registrations are made annually in the various activities, which are available to the general public.
The extensive activity of the Foundation in the Cultural Diplomacy of Greece in the countries of Latin and South America contributes significantly to finding new bridges of union of the distant continent with the Greek world. Despite the great physical distance between the peoples of Uruguay and Greece, the “Maria Tsakos” Foundation creatively emphasizes the mutual appreciation between them. Thanks to the passion of the people who deal with the Cultural Diplomacy mission of Greece in Uruguay, in addition to the 3,000 Greeks, so many other Uruguayans speak the Greek language fluently. Streets and squares of cities in Uruguay are named after Greek cities and personalities and adorned with statues of great Greeks. The immense admiration of the small country for Greece and its rich culture is therefore obvious and deeply sincere.