The 69th annual Convention of AHEPA NSW was held on Sunday, February 4 at the organisation’s home in the southern Sydney suburb of Rockdale.
The Convention signalled the beginning of celebrations this year as AHEPA marks 90 years since the formation of the Association in 1934.
Attended by significant leaders and marked by historic decisions, the Convention was a major occasion for AHEPA NSW and for the Australian Hellenic community.
The annual Convention – first held in 1954 – was opened by Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis, who blessed the homemade vasilopittes (St Basil’s Cakes) and the work of the Association.
“This year is AHEPA NSW’s 90th anniversary,” Bishop Iakovos said. “Please continue your good work for education, for our traditions.”
Mark Coure MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism (amongst other portfolios), honoured the Convention with his presence. In his address, the Member for Oatley thanked AHEPA NSW Inc for its “contribution to the community, especially in terms of the opportunities AHEPA provides the younger generations to learn Hellenic language and traditions.”
“Looking forward to celebrating many more milestones together,” Mr Coure concluded.
In two historic votes, the Convention unanimously supported major reforms to the Association’s advisory body, abolishing certain offices and introducing new ones. Of particular note was the election of the Association’s first female Vice-President.
The new look committee is as follows:
- President: Mr Jim Papanagiotou
- Vice-President: Mrs Nia Gitsas
- Secretary: Dr. Panayiotis Diamadis
- Assistant Secretary: Mr Dimitris Emmanouilidis
- Treasurer: Mr John Kallimanis
- Assistant Treasurer: Mrs Effie Kallimanis
- Chairperson, Board of Governors Governor: Mr Bill Skandalakis
- Governor: Mrs Charoulla Themistocleous
- Governor: Mr Kostas Kapodistrias
- Governor: Mr George Giakoumidis
- Governor: Mr Nick Kagelaris
Discussion focused on the future of the Association, especially key events to mark its 90 years of service to Australian Hellenism. These include the International Women’s Day event on Sunday, March 17, a special Hellenic Independence Day celebration on Wednesday, March 27, the 90th Anniversary of AHEPA on Sunday, May 26 and other related events later in the year.
With a range of professional and community experiences, the new committee led by Jim Papanagiotou looks forward to a successful 90th anniversary year and to building the Association for another 90 years of service.