National Hellenic Research Foundation ‘Eleftherios K. Venizelos’ opens branch in Melbourne

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The Management of the National Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos” based at the paternal House-Museum of Eleftherios Venizelos in Halepa, Chania, unanimously decided to establish and operate a Melbourne-based branch, with the aim of studying, researching and promoting the work and national contribution of Ethnarch Eleftherios Venizelos to the wider region of Oceania and Australasia.

In a letter, the General Director of the Foundation, Lawyer, Historian and Writer, Nikolaos Papadakis-Papadis invited the President of the Federation of Cretans of Australia and New Zealand, Antonis Tsourdalakis, to collaborate with selected executives and leaders of Hellenism, in order to establish a Branch of the National Hellenic Research Foundation “Eleftherios K. Venizelos.”

The founding Assembly establishing the Chapter (Branch) will take place on Thursday, 8 June 2023, at 7pm in the Lyceum Hall of Alphington Grammar School, 18 Old Heidelberg Road, Alphington.

Executives and leaders of the Greek community organisations, including academics, researchers, educators, businessmen, journalists, writers, people of letters and arts will be invited to participate in the historic gathering for the establishment of the Branch.

The establishment of the Eleftherios K. Venizelos Chapter is supported by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, the Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand, the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies, the Australian Institute for Hellenic Research, the Greek-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HACCI), the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, the Australian Federation of Pontian Associations, the Cretan Association of New South Wales and the Pancretan Association of Melbourne.

“The establishment of the Eleftherios Venizelos Chapter aims to strengthen Australian-Greek relations, to be a bridge of communication with the Hellenes in Greece, and to place particular emphasis on the study, research, teaching, learning and dissemination of those values of freedom, democracy and inter-allied friendship that characterised the ethnarchical policy and vision of Eleftherios Venizelos,” said Mr Papadakis.

Mr Tsourdalakis added: “The operation of the Chapter will also aim to inform and create relations of friendship with our Australian 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.”

In a statement, the founding members of the Working Team stated:

“Eleftherios Venizelos was an ideology and a movement, a model of a sensitised Greek patriot, a pioneer of Greece in its irredentist struggles; a model of political science and an example to be imitated. History, which calmly evaluates and classifies, has placed him in the rank of an Ethnarch, the historical figure who is above political ideology, partisan factions and party events. Venizelos belongs to all Greeks, standing above all factions and times. He is the person who unites, who guides, who shows our debt towards Greece, the mother of our culture, our common Motherland.”

Eleftherios K. Venizelos museum in Greece.

The Objectives of the Oceania Chapter:

The Chapter will be particularly concerned with research and the study of issues concerning Venizelos and his Era, as they appear in Australian bibliography, in the archives of Australia and Britain, in the Greek-language newspapers of the time that circulated in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

It 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 at-large, and all those who wish to learn about the history of modern Greece.

The Chapter will be a research and publication centre for documented data creating knowledge, as well as a reference centre on issues related to Venizelos and his Era. It will be able to convene conferences, invite international personalities, organise student competitions, publish, cultivate Greek-language literature, and encourage research and studies.

The fundamental objective of the Chapter is to work closely with the National Foundation “Eleftherios Venizelos” in Greece, based on its existing Statute of Operation and Constitution and to undertake programs and actions to be implemented, always in close cooperation with the officers of the National Foundation in Chania.

Pan-Australian Working Team:

The group of people who have already been initiated, worked, or accepted and embraced the activities of the Chapter and decided to become active members and fight for its causes, include people from all over Australia. Personalities from Australia and New Zealand have been tasked with studying and convening the Founding Assembly to be held on Thursday, 8 June.

This first group of member pioneers who informally took action to reach the founding convention and will take part in the work of establishing the Chapter include:

  • Antonis Tsourdalakis (Victoria) – President, Cretan Federation of Australia & NZ and former President, World Council of Cretans.
  • Christina Kotsifakis – Sarris (Victoria) – Director, Pelagos Partners.
  • Aristea Konstantopoulou (Victoria) – Academic & Associate Accountant.
  • Anastasios Μ. Tamis (Victoria) – [Prof. Dr] – Director, Australian Institute for Hellenic Studies, President Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies.
  • Jim Papadimitriou (Victoria) – Secretary, Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne, and former President of the Cretan Brotherhood of Melbourne.
  • Dorothy Saristavros Di Battista (Victoria) – Civil Engineer.
  • Kostas Paterakis (Victoria) – Community Media Journalist.
  • Polyhronis Koutsakis (Western Australia) – Writer & Associate Professor, Murdoch University.
  • John Anictomatis AO (Northern Territory) – Honorary Consul General of Greece in Darwin & Former Chief Administrator of Northern Territory.
  • Vrasidas Karalis (New South Wales) – [Prof. Dr] Head, Department of Modern Greek Studies, University of Sydney.
  • Emmanuel Vitetzakis (New South Wales) – President, Cretan Association of NSW.
  • George Neonakis (New Zealand) – Honorary Consul General of Greece in Wellington.
  • Aggie Mihelakis (Victoria) – President, Pancretan Association of Melbourne.

Due to limited space, this founding assembly is organised by invitation only. The event is expected to be attended by representatives and leaders of the founding associations of the Chapter, while the Archdiocese of Australia will be represented by the Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta. During the founding Assembly there will be a salutation (audio visually) by both the Director General of the National Foundation, Mr Papadakis, and the Secretary General of Hellenes Abroad, John Chrysoulakis.

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