The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Food For Thought Network (FFTN) took place on Sunday, November 26 on Zoom.
Vice Chair of the FFTN, Maria Makris, served as emcee on the night, and the Network’s Treasurer Georgia Pernitzis presented the 2023 financial statement.
The Founder and Chair of the FFTN, Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou, provided a recap of the Network’s events in 2023 and its successes to date including last year’s AGM speaker, family day picnic, International Women’s Day event in collaboration with PRONIA and The Elderly Citizens Club of Doncaster, Women’s Health Seminar, Brain Health Seminar, and the Intergenerational Workshop in partnership with PRONIA.
These events were all offered free of charge thanks to the collaborators who covered the catering expenses.
Ms Athanasiou-Ioannou talked about the FFTN’s long term project, ‘The Unsung Heroines oral history project,’ and the challenges in finding a place to house the eleven interviews already collected by the two passionate interviewers Georgia Pernitzis and Helena Kidd.
She also focused her presentation on the forthcoming Inaugural Women’s Conference.
“The book Her Voice: Greek Women and Their Friends and the private Facebook platform “Greek Women and Their Friends Global Forum,” have had global appeal and encouraged FFTN to take the next step in organising the Inaugural Global Women and Hellenism Conference: Connecting and Empowering Greek Women Globally, scheduled for September 2-6, 2024, in Ioannina, Greece,” Ms Athanasiou-Ioannou said.
“The Conference will focus on Representations of Hellenism, multifaceted identity of Greek women today, and Sustainability of Hellenism.”
A very ambitious project, Ms Athanasiou-Ioannou said, providing further details about the conference, thanking all the key stake holders whom she met in Greece, her team and the Greek media for their continuous support over the last 22 years.
At the AGM, FFTN also welcomed three new Board Members: Maria Kampyli, Dorothy Hatzopoulou, and Christina Roma. All modern Greek women who migrated to Australia during the economic crisis.
The highlight of the AGM was the guest speaker, Dean Kotsianis, introduced by Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos, the patron of FFTN, who shared a brief chronology of his journey in the community.
Dean noted his parents’ migration to Melbourne, primary school in Yarraville, playing soccer at Yarraville Glory, and his first visit to Greece. He briefed the audience on his high school years where he was introduced to leadership, which continued at the University of Melbourne Greek Club.
Dean created the Greek Youth Generator which has contributed to Greek cultural events, is part of a mentoring program with HACCI, and creates community projects such as murals in Yarraville and Footscray.
He emphasised the importance of perseverance, turning ideas into reality, and finding magic in life. Dean has played a significant role in preserving Greek heritage and culture for future generations.
Deoni Kladis, Secretary of GYG, supported Dean, providing insights into GYG events and their vision for their next 5-10 years.
Additionally, Councillor Angelica Panopoulos, former mayor of Merri-Bek Council, responded to and commented on Dean’s presentation in addition to her perspectives on the next generation Greeks in Melbourne.
Those interested in finding out more about FFTN, can visit their website www.fftn.org.au