The Greek Community of Melbourne looks back on the year 2019 as a year full of activities and creative projects that “set the foundations and paved the way for the future of our historic organisation and the Greek community in general”.
They invested in Culture and Education through unique events like the Greek Writers Festival, Greek Film Festival and Lonsdale Street Greek Festival – which is occurring again under a different name this month.
The Greek Community of Melbourne also invested heavily in addressing the global concern regarding the continuation of the Greek language through the Greek diaspora. Through theatrical productions, school holiday programs, seminars and lectures, and with the Greek School for Language and Culture, the Aphington Grammar School, the Creative Drama and Arts Center, the Greek and Ancient Greek Programs for Adults, the GCM has become one of the largest cultural and educational institutions in Australia.
Regular meetings with prime ministers, premiers and politicians in Australia and Greece to promote various issues were an essential part of GCM actions during 2019.
Partnerships and collaborations with universities, cultural organisations and other Greek organisations in Australia and overseas to host their events at the Greek Center, such as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Latrobe University, University of Melbourne and University of the Third Age, were also a significant part of the GCM’s activities in the past year.
Here is a full list of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s 2019 achievements:
- The GCM honoured Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas in a special event held at the Greek Centre.
- The GCM honoured Dr Konstantinos Pantos, world renowned specialist in fertility medicine. He was awarded by Bill Papastergiadis (President) and Associate Professor Marinis Pirpiris a commendation for his work in furthering the intellectual and trade exchange between Greece and Australia.
- In a spirit of cooperation and noting historical support from minister Mikakos and the Andrews Labor Government, President Bill Papastergiadis, together with the Secretary of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Costas Markos met with the Hon Jenny Mikakos, the Victorian Minister for Health, on Tuesday 20 January at the Minister’s office.
- The biggest and best Lonsdale Street Greek Festival was organised by the GCM. Close to 150.000 people visited the historical Lonsdale Street Greek Precinct to enjoy the best in Greek music, dance and food.
- Leaders of the South Sudanese Federation of Associations met for the first time with members of the Greek Community to discuss how the Greek Community of Melbourne, one of the oldest cultural organisations’ in Australia could assist the present-day South Sudanese community.
- The Melbourne International Comedy Festival presented a number of its shows at the Greek Centre.
- The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) had the pleasure of hosting the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Scott Morrison at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture on his first visit.
- During the visit of Prime Minister Mr Scott Morrison at the Greek Centre, honouring plaques were presented to businessman Mr Greg Kaias and Mr Jim Sarris, head of Delphi Bank, in appreciation to their financial contribution towards the development of The Kaias Education Level and The Delphi Bank Mezzanine Level.
- On 17 May the tribute concert “Romosioni & Beyond” honoured Mikis Theodorakis, featuring international vocalist Dimitris Bassis, conductor George Ellis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Melbourne Recital Centre. In association with the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies, The Greek Community of Melbourne, organised and presented this great cultural event.
- The GCM welcomed the $5m funding from the Federal Government
- The GCM organised the Women’s Forum where a series of initiatives were announced.
- The GCM organised the 2019 Greek Writers Festival at the Greek Centre. More than 50 academics and writers participated.
- Archbishop Makarios paid a historic visit to the Greek Community of Melbourne where he met Board and staff members.
- President Bill Papastergiadis, met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as with the Minister for Interior, Takis Theodorikakos and the then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Diaspora Greeks, Antonis Diamataris.
- Minister of Immigration met with GCM President Bill Papastergiadis and General Secretary Costas Markos.
- Discussions regarding the future of the Greek Program at the Coburg West Primary School.
- Dimitris Christopoulos & Kostis Karpozilos: Two prominent Greek academics visited Melbourne in late September and presented a series of lectures at the Greek Centre, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars.
- The Delphi Bank 26th Greek Film Festival returned to Palace Cinemas with an injection of Greek culture, history and stories for twelve days, from 9 to 20 October. Its program included 15 acclaimed and award-winning features, 3 fascinating documentaries and some interesting shorts.
- The GCM honoured Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO during a fundraising tribute dinner, which coincided with the 28th of October Greek National Day, at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
- The GCM delivered a submission and proposals for the voting right of the Greeks living abroad to the Greek government and to a special Greek parliament committee.
- During the GCM’s Christmas Party, the students that excelled in the VCE exams were awarded.