Board elected for Melbourne branch of National Research Foundation ‘Eleftherios K. Venizelos’

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The plenary session of the Working Group of the Branch of the National Hellenic Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos” met last week at the premises of the Axion Estin Monastery in Northcote, Victoria, to form a body and take more organised action in the Antipodes.

At the same time, the Working Group had submitted for consultation to the leadership of the Foundation, Mr Nikolaos Papadakis-Papadis, an action plan, giving the broader framework of the activities of the Chapter. 

Mr Antonios Tsourdalakis, President of the Cretan Association of Australia and New Zealand, was unanimously voted to the presidency of the Chapter. Mr. Aristea Konstantopoulou was elected secretary, Mrs Christina Kotsifaki-Sarris treasurer and Mr Polychronis Koutsakis was appointed vice-president. Convenor of studies and research of the Branch was elected Dr Anastasios Tamis. The Members of the Board of Directors comprise Dr Vrasidas Karalis, The Hon. Ioannis Anictomatis, The Hon. Georgios Neonakis, Dimitris Papadimitriou, Dorothea Saristavrou-Di Batista, Kostas Paterakis, Emmanuel Vitetzakis and Argyro Michelakis.

The declaration of the Australia and New Zealand Branch, which was accepted and endorsed by the National Hellenic Research Foundation “Eleftherios Venizelos”, refers to its statutory objectives related to its activities in places of history and humanities, with the intention of highlighting the historical memory of Eleftherios Venizelos and honouring the contribution of the Ethnarch to the creation of modern Greece.

In the relevant circular addressed to the members of the Chapter and the Antipodes Diaspora, the Branch also emphasises the following:

“The establishment of the Eleftherios Venizelos National Research Foundation branch in Melbourne (8 June 2023), the city that is the ethno-religious and linguistic centre of Australia’s Hellenism, aims at (a) researching, documenting, highlighting and promoting the historical figure and memory of Ethnarch Eleftherios Venizelos, (b) recording, classifying, documenting, writing and publishing relevant studies related to Eleftherios Venizelos and his time in Greece and in the world, (c) the creation of an archive for the collection and classification, preservation and protection of documents, photographs, newspapers, magazines, books and all kinds of printed and electronic documents referring to the life and work of the Ethnarch and (d) the strengthening of Australian-Greek relations, so that the Branch becomes a bridge of communication with Greek Hellenism, and places particular emphasis on research,  study and dissemination of those values of freedom, democracy and inter-allied friendship that characterized the ethnarchical policy and vision of Eleftherios Venizelos. 

In addition, the operation of the Branch will aim to inform and create relations of friendship with our Australian and New Zealand fellow citizens, not only with Crete and the national vision of the most far-sighted and communicative Greek politician and nobleman of the 20th century, but also to become a shield of modern Greece in the current challenges.” 

Some members of the Melbourne Branch of the National Hellenic Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos”.

The action and development plan of the branch:

From the last quarter of the year 2023 and until the close of the first three years (December 2026), the Australia & New Zealand Branch undertakes to design and implement the following actions:

The Branch will undertake the design, research, collection, documentation (with the establishment of an index) and compilation of a bibliographic atlas on Venizelos in the existing Greek and foreign bibliography in Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries except the USA and Canada. In particular, it will be particularly involved in research and study of issues concerning Venizelos and his Era, as they appear in foreign language bibliography, in the archives of Australia and Britain, as well as in Greek and foreign language newspapers, printed publications of books and magazines of the time that circulated in the capitals of the Australian and New Zealand States. 

The collected material will be classified thematically and chronologically, scanned, studied, indexed of names, persons and subjects will be created with a special digitisation software mechanism. The digitised material will be accessible and operational for the needs of research and study, with the consent of the Foundation. For this purpose, a special budget will be created for the implementation of the design, to operate an archival space, with computers and the necessary computerization. 

The Archive of the Annex will be a center for documentation and search for data and information, as well as a center of reference on issues concerning Venizelos and his Era, especially in the period 1908-1936, not only in Oceania, but also in Latin America and the Far East (China, Korea and Japan). The Archive will collect a document and audiovisual material referring to Venizelos, regardless of the language in which it was created or exists. A summary of the body of information will be rendered in English and Greek.

Seminars, public lectures, symposia, workshops and conferences, cultural competitions:

The Chapter will place particular emphasis on issues of wider and better awareness and will raise awareness among second and third generation Australian-Greeks, history students, Greek language teachers, students, and all those who wish to learn about the history of modern Greece.

It will be able to convene conferences, seminars and workshops, invite international personalities for public lectures and workshops, to organise student and student competitions, as well as athletic competitions, the “Venizelia” every three years with prizes and excellence and participation of expatriates and foreigners, to publish a regular Newsletter, to cultivate Greek-language literature and to encourage research and studies, as well as literary competitions (poetry, literature, theatre), which cultivate the historical memory and contribution of Ethnarch Venizelos.

The Chapter will create a section on the Foundation’s electronic node and platform, where its activities will be presented, and its activities will be reported.

Special emphasis will be placed on the cooperation of the members and friends of the Chapter in other states of Australia and New Zealand, with the operation of conferences and assemblies not only at the Headquarters of the Chapter, Melbourne but also alternately in the capitals of other states. A Venizelist Meeting in Chania could be established and operate every four years, with rich cultural activity, speeches, documentary screenings and pandemic participation.   

Scholarships and Publications:

The Branch could receive grants to provide certain scholarships (with the duration of a specific research project) to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Scholarship holders will work under the supervision of university supervisors in order to earn academically from their specific activity and work in the Branch.

Also, in case there will be publications, (most likely) the names of all those who worked will be recognised for their participation and interactive contribution. Every two years the Branch will be able to collect and publish original studies and articles on Venizelos and his Era. The scientific journal could be given a historical name associated with Venizelos, retaining the logo of the Foundation. The official language of the magazine will be English for the easy penetration of the magazine worldwide.The Scientific Committee (Scientific Committee) of the journal will include Hellenists, expatriates and foreigners, while the Organising Committee and the Editorial Committee will consist of scientific executives of the Foundation and its Branches around the world. The submitted articles will be studied by two experts per subject and field of science (political scientists, historians, ethnologists, etc.), for their publication, before their final adoption.

Upon its maturity, the Chapter will adopt and implement actions that will be determined by the prevailing circumstances and circumstances prevailing in Oceania, having as its main objective to cultivate interest in young people, at an intergenerational level, so that there is succession and continuity.

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