The Honourable Esther Passaris, from Kenya’s Parliament visited The Greek Centre on Thursday, 20 April and met with President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Bill Papastergiadis OAM and Jorge Menidis.
Mr Papastergiadis and Mr Menidis along with a congregation of GCM staff and students took Ms Passaris on a tour of the 15 story Greek Centre building and spoke on the vast programs that the GCM offer.
Ms Passaris expressed an interest in the activities of the GCM, with particular focus on the Greek school’s program. She expressed her interest in implementing similar programs back home as there are 300 Greeks currently living in Kenya. She was particularly impressed with the GCM’s rich cultural programs and especially with the annual Film Festivals, Live music events and theatre productions.
Furthermore, Ms Passaris spoke about her Greek heritage more particularly about her father who was a naval architect and was responsible for the construction of the first naval ship in Kenya. Ms Passaris highlighted her hope to have a 3rd generation of Greeks living in Kenya to continue to learn the Greek language. She also praised Kenya’s Archbishop Makarios on his extensive socio-cultural initiatives which are inclusive of the construction of numerous secondary schools.
During Ms Passaris’ visit, both Mr Papastergiadis and Mr Menidis were afforded the opportunity to speak with Archbishop Makarios, over the phone who further discussed the rich Greek cultural programs in Kenya and agreed to additional dialogue for the further enhancement of relations with East Africa.
Ms Passaris shared her thoughts about her visit stating: “This is the start of a strengthening our bond between the GCM and our ties with the Greek Community in Kenya. The GCM is a frontrunner in matters of the cultural preservations and strengthening the ties of the Greek diaspora.”
Mr Papastergiadis agreed with Ms Passaris on the importance of Greek diasporic communities working together commenting: “Moving forward the GCM commits to help the Greek Community in Kenya and Hon Esther Passaris to strengthen our bond. This is a start not only to share with our fellow Greeks in Kenya our rich Language programs but led a hand to help in any way we can to preserve the Greek Language in Kenya.”
Ms Passaris is visiting Australia to attend the Harm Reduction Conference, which works towards the prevention of the misuse of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and, illegal substances. Harm looks to employ strategies that encourage and support suffering young adults in their journey in seeking treatment.
Ms Passaris also received a copy of the book “The Embodiment of a Distant Homeland: The History of the GOCMV” to remind her of her visit.
About Hon. Esther Passaris
Hon. Esther Passaris is the Nairobi County Woman Representative in the Kenyan Parliament. She has used her position to enhance access to education, promote quality health care, create job opportunities through empowerment, and continue advocating for the rights and welfare of women, youth, and Persons with Disability, among other vulnerable groups.
Through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), she has worked to support programs that range from bursaries to hunger alleviation to table banking. Hon. Passaris is a graduate of the Executive Business Program of Strathmore College, she has a Diploma in Law from the University of London, and in 2017 graduated from the United States International University Africa with a BSc in International Business Administration.
Before establishing the Adopt-A-Light project in 2002, Hon. Passaris started her career in the tourism and hospitality industry as a sales and marketing executive. Her strong desire to marry business with social responsibility is what led to Adopt-A-Light; the pioneer lighting and outdoor advertising company through which she is credited with revolutionizing the outdoor advertising scene and successfully introducing the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Kenya.