Athens Government: Dora “Superwoman” Bakoyiannis

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Dora & Condi

She might as well be Superwoman or Wonder Woman or some fabulous female super hero. But instead, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyiannis is a mere mortal.

She’s the first woman to hold this ministerial position in Greece, which makes her the highest-ranking woman ever to serve the modern Greek state. She is also a former mayor of Athens—the first woman to hold that position as well as the first woman to serve as mayor of a city hosting the Olympic Games. Her organizational savvy as mayor helped transform Athens into a more hospitable, tidier place in time for the Olympics.

As if all that wasn’t impressive enough, Ms. Bakoyiannis is fluent in four languages (Greek, English, French, and German) and also stands just over six feet tall. That’s 1.83 meters! Yowza!

The backstory: In 1989 Pavlos Bakoyiannis, her husband of 15 years and a member of Parliament, was assassinated by members of the “November 17″ terrorist group. Ms. Bakoyiannis stepped up her political career the following year by becoming Undersecretary of State, and she hasn’t looked back since.

If someone has to rule the world, we vote for Dora.

About the author

In order to keep a promise she and her brother had made to their grandmother (and to simultaneously fulfill one of her own dreams) Kaymaria left her beloved hometown of Oakland, California and headed to Athens in time for the 2004 Olympics. Today, she continues to work and play in the Greek capital, where you may find her writing atop Lykavittos, road-tripping with overseas guests, enjoying Athens cafés with friends, dancing to Greek hip-hop music, or reading Greek subtitles in an outdoor cinema. The daughter of two life-long educators and enthusiastic travelers, Kaymaria has explored North America, Mexico, and Europe. It was not until she spent a year as an exchange student at The University of York in England, however, that she discovered that she does not actually speak English.

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