The Hellenic Collective: A new initiative for Greek Australian youth

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On 7 June, over 120 people gathered to celebrate the launch of two new initiatives of the Hellenic Studies Foundation.

The first, “Learning Greek with Lucia” – an initiative of the Hellenic Studies Foundation in collaboration with the Wiggles designed to facilitate an early learning experience of Greek language that is not only educational but fun, interactive and culturally enriching. The second, The Hellenic Collective – an initiative to empower the next generation of Greek Australians to become the torchbearers of Hellenism.

hellenic collective
Anthony and Lucia Field speak about the new ‘Learning Greek with Lucia’ initiative.

These new initiatives underscore the commitment of the Hellenic Studies Foundation to inspire and engage with youth to foster a strong sense of identity and belonging amongst Greek Australians and to promote Greek language, culture and heritage.

The Hellenic Collective is the first initiative of its kind for the youth of South Australia, and presents an opportunity to be a part of a collective that forms the bedrock of Hellenism for the future of the state.

Founding Member of the Hellenic Studies Foundation Greg Crafter AO highlighted the momentous occasion that the launch of these two initiatives was for the Hellenic Studies Foundation and the future of Hellenism in Australia.

Greg Crafter AO.

“The Collective will play an important role in facilitating exciting opportunities within the South Australian community, not just the Greek community, and will play a pivotal role in the succession of Greek community representation inspiring their peers to embrace their Hellenic heritage and contribute to the continued growth and prosperity of the Greek community in SA,” Mr Crafter said.

Mr Crafter added that the Foundation hopes “those who are a part of this collective will also have the opportunity to grow themselves, engage in the formation [of the initiative] and take an active role in the life of the community, much like their forebearers have.”

Peter Tantalos, speaking on behalf of the Hellenic Collective committee, outlined the mission of the initiative moving forward and the core strategies and beliefs of the Collective to achieve their mission.

Peter Tantalos, and the Hellenic Collective committee, speaking on the mission and goals of the Hellenic Collective
Peter Tantalos, and the Hellenic Collective committee, speaking on the mission and goals of the Hellenic Collective.

“The Hellenic Collective is a new initiative for those aged 18-35, with the mission to engage, educate, and empower young people to become ambassadors of Hellenism, ensuring its legacy, tradition and values are preserved and promoted for future generations,” Mr Tantalos said.

“The Collective is planning to roll out and implement a series of initiatives including cultural and educational experiences like workshops, networking events, lectures, exhibitions, tours, and performances, and other cultural events touching on all the hallmarks of Hellenic culture such as music, history, philosophy, language, law, medicine, our cuisine and many other tenants of Hellenic culture.”

Mr Tantalos said the Collective also aims to foster “cross-cultural engagement and partnerships with local organisations in South Australia, including Greek organisations, to ensure that the cultural learnings from those organisations that our parents or grandparents set up are not lost and they are preserved for future generations.”

“We also aim to engage with youth organisations, and universities to ensure that young people are constantly engaged and participating in Hellenic culture through this period and carry that through into their professional and adult life,” he added.

Mr Tantalos concluded that the Collective is outward looking, with an intention to “branch out and collaborate with youth Hellenic initiatives interstate, in the diaspora and potentially in Greece as well, to ensure that our youth here in South Australia are connected with Hellenic youth around Australia and the wider diasporic community.”

Finally, SA Minister for Transport, the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP concluded the formalities by reiterating to the youth and the Collective their duty and responsibility to preserve Hellenism for future generations.

The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP addresses the Hellenic Collective
The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP addresses the Hellenic Collective.

“The thirst for the young to learn Greek [is there]. And this new initiative [of the Wiggles and Collective] has lit a flame. The responsibility of maintaining our language and culture does not rest with Governments. It’s up to us… The funding of $500,000.00 per year, we will fight for this to continue, but we are talking about time, effort and labour that’s important [to maintain Greek culture and language],” Mr Koutsantonis said.

About the Hellenic Studies Foundation: Established in 2005, The Foundation is dedicated to promoting Greek language and culture through innovative initiatives. At the core of the Foundation’s mission lies the belief that language serves as the custodian and guardian of culture, tradition, and heritage. Since its inception, the Foundation has sponsored a multitude of events, projects, and initiatives dedicated to this cause – Most notably, the facilitation of the Presidential Guard, the Evzones, to Australia.

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