Canberra’s new Hellenic Youth Club committee share why they are proud Greeks

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Speaking with The Greek Herald, members on the new executive committee of Canberra’s Hellenic Youth Club reveal what it means to be Greek.

From honouring their migrant grandparents’ legacy, to feeling proud about their Greek ancestors inventing democracy and the Olympics – this is what they had to say.

Christopher Karavasilis – President

To me, being Greek means a lot of things. From the amazing people and delightful culture, to the amazing country we call home, Greece. Greece has one of the richest, most intricate, most complex and most vividly told historical narratives of all countries, which is why Greek history is crucial to understand. When I meet someone new and they ask me what my background is, I am proud to say that I am of Greek ancestry! Growing up as a Greek, I had the chance to master the Greek language, master the art of Greek dancing and form relationships and connections with other Greeks both domestically and abroad. For a myriad of reasons, I feel a sense of duty to keep Greece’s culture alive and I value being Greek tremendously.

Olivia Kambouris – Vice President

To be Greek is to be proud of where you come from and proud to be in a country like Australia that nurtures our diverse cultural identity. My pride in being Greek comes from my grandparents. Growing up as a witness to what their generation has built for the Australian Greek community will forever embody what it means to me to be Greek. I am indebted to their sacrifice and resilience that two generations later I feel so strongly connected to a country 13,000 kilometres away from where I was born. I have been given a gift to call both Greece and Australia home and feel it is my responsibility to keep the legacy of all those before us alive through our food, music, dancing, religion, history and cultural traditions. I know what it means to be Greek because of my grandparents. Because of them, the Greek spirit will never die.

Phoebe Sofatzis – Secretary

To be Greek is to celebrate and promote the rich ethnic history that has founded a large portion of modern global architecture, language and academia while ensuring the continuation of this culture for future generations. To be a part of this heritage is to connect through shared cultural experiences with other Greek people and partake in the contemporary ways we celebrate the Greek way of life. Some of the most notable cultural gatherings that our Hellenic Youth Club and the Canberra Greek community facilitate are bouzouki nights, church feast days and music-centric events, which always include an abundance of food, faith and fraternity. Especially in such a diverse country like Australia, to be Greek means to foster community in order to sustain our cultural legacy.

Ioannis Apostolakis – Treasurer

Greek heritage serves as a pillar for modern international culture, engineering and literature. Ancient Greek developments form some of the fundamentals which underpin our global societies. From the establishment of democracy, the governing principle of the modern free world, to the introduction of arguably the greatest competition which unites the globe, the Olympics. The English language contains over 150,000 words derived from the Greek language, and let us not forget our delicious cuisine! To be Greek means to uphold this remarkable history. My parents and grandparents foster the traits of our great ancestors of pride, bravery, resilience, community and hospitality, which have been ingrained in me. The Canberra Greek community is one of the strongest in Australia, and the Hellenic Youth Club aims to promote our rich culture by bringing all people together through our various functions and events. I am extremely proud to be able to promote our beautiful culture.

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