SYRIZA MPs have raised the issue of La Trobe University’s proposal to cut Greek studies in the Greek Parliament, requesting that the Greek government take action.
It is understood that the Greek government is aware of the matter and is looking into ways they may be able to provide assistance.
The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne Vice President Theo Markos says the Community will be preparing a letter which will be sent directly to Prime Minister Mitsotakis seeking his support.
“I know, from the Diaspora Press, the battle you are waging to ensure that there is no interruption of the Program, which is the only program in Victoria that offers students at all universities in the area the opportunity to study Modern Greek language and culture at an academic level,” Rallia Christidou, SYRIZA MP, says in her letter to the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne.
“We consider that the Programs and Departments of Greek Studies in foreign Universities are important ambassadors of Greek culture abroad.”
“….We wanted to add our voice to your own voices and efforts and we called on the Greek government to take initiatives.”
A petition set up by university students was handed in to La Trobe on Wednesday with 6,244 signatures and remains open until a decision has been made.
Attached below is the letter put forward in the Greek parliament by SYRIZA, translated from Greek to English.
SUBJECT: “The Greek Studies Program at LaTrobe University Victoria, Australia, is in danger of being shut down”
The LaTrobe University of Victoria, Australia, has announced its intention to discontinue the Greek Studies Program, after forty years of continuous and successful operation, citing financial reasons.
The news caused a great deal of consternation in the Greek community of Melbourne as the LaTrobe Greek Studies Program is the only program in Victoria that offers students at all universities in the area the opportunity to study Modern Greek language and culture at an academic level. In previous years, the Program regularly organized research seminars, conferences, lectures and offered Greek lessons not only to students but also to the general public through Lifelong Learning programs. LaTrobe’s Greek Studies Program is also organically linked to the Dardali Historical Archives.
The news of the closure of the Program has caused a justified disturbance in the Greek community of Australia, which has launched a campaign for its rescue. The Greek community of Melbourne, until 24/11/2020, has collected 5,440 signatures for the non-interruption of the Program and contacted the Rector’s Authorities, initially by letter, which it notified to the Greek Consulate and then a meeting. 20 bodies of the Greek community, including the Greek-born Mayor of Hume, after two teleconferences, have been opposed to the planned shutdown of the Program, submitting proposals. A relevant letter was addressed to the Rector of LaTrobe by Archbishop Makarios of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, while in support of the request of the Greek community, the Labor Party of Australia, one of the two largest parliamentary parties in the country, has also written a letter.
Because the abolition of the Greek Studies Program at LaTrobe University will be a strong blow to the study of Greek language and culture at the university level, in Australia and the Greek community justifiably reacts to such a prospect. Greece-Australia Agreement for the purpose of cultural, educational and mutual cooperation of the two countries, a fact that demonstrates the great importance for the Greek State of maintaining and strengthening the cultural ties between Greece and the Greek community in Australia.
Because the Programs and Departments of Greek Studies at Universities abroad are important for supporting the ties of Greek first generation immigrants with their country of origin, but also for strengthening the Greek identity of expatriates of the second or third generation, the Programs and Departments of Greek Studies at Universities are important ambassadors of Greek culture abroad.