The member-associations of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia assembled in Sydney over the weekend of 21-23 April for a historic Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Esta Paschalidis Chilas was elected President of the Federation, supported by Vice President Harry Tavlaridis (Adelaide), Secretary and outgoing President Peter Stefanidis (Melbourne), and Treasurer Peter Papoulidis (Sydney), while Maria Anthony was appointed to the new office of Events & Fundraising Coordinator.
In her first address as President, Esta stated that a priority over the next two years is “harnessing relationships external to the Pontian community,” while ensuring our Federation and our Members remain strong and vibrant.
She also commented: “I was thinking of my dad, who would be really proud of me at this moment.”
Esta’s late father, Christos Paschalidis, was the Federation’s Founding Treasurer 34 years ago.
Over the weekend, delegates from Melbourne (Akrites tou Pontou), Canberra (Pontian Association of Canberra ‘Trapezounta’), Wollongong (Pontian Association ‘Diogenes’), Adelaide (Pontian Brotherhood of South Australia) and Sydney (Pontoxeniteas and the hosts, Panayia Soumela) began with a traditional ‘parakath’ (informal party) at Pontoxeniteas House.
On Saturday, they were joined by members of the Sydney associations in reviewing the Federation’s activity over the last few (COVID-impacted) years.
In his final address as Federation President, Mr Stefanidis said that the highlights of his term of office were: the hugely successful Synapantema held in Melbourne in February 2023; the inaugural International Pontian Film Festival (IPFF) of 2021; the formation of the Federation Youth interim committee, as well as the work of the Federation within the Joint Justice Initiative (formed 2020).
Mr Stefanidis called on delegates and members to participate in the annual March for Justice on Sunday, April 23, which is part of the ongoing campaign of the Australian Hellenic, Australian Armenian, and
Australian Assyrian communities of NSW for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader of Australia, as the leaders of the Federal Parliament, to accurately characterise the destruction of the indigenous Hellenes, Armenians, and Assyrians as crimes of Genocide, as defined by international law.
“This is another opportunity for our community, the descendants of survivors of the Genocide, to show that the Federation and its members will continue to honour the memory of our ancestors, the lives of so many of whom were so cruelly cut short,” Mr Stefanidis said.