Official reception held for Greek Independence Day at NSW Parliament

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The Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Yannis Mallikourtis, held an official reception on Monday, March 25 at New South Wales Parliament to mark Greek Independence Day.

The event was held in the presence of a number of official guests including Greece’s Alternate Interior Minister, Theodoros Livanios; Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley, Governor of New South Wales; Archbishop Makarios of Australia; NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, Steve Kamper MP; NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, Sophie Cotsis MP; NSW Minister for Finance, Courtney Houssos MLC; Leader of the NSW Liberals, Mark Speakman; Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Mark Coure MP; and Member for Miranda, Eleni Petinos MP.

There were also number of other politicians, Greek and Cypriot community leaders, diplomats and Consular authorities from Slovenia, Italy, Cyprus, Japan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States, among many other countries.

On the night, youth stood proudly in traditional costumes provided by the Hellenic Lyceum of Sydney, as guests sang the National Anthems of Greece and Australia.

Master of Ceremonies Paul Kaletsis then kicked off formal proceedings which included speeches by the Consul General, Mr Livanios, Archbishop Makarios, the NSW Governor and Minister Kamper.

In his speech, Mr Mallikourtis stated his appreciation of Australia and how its people embrace the celebration of Greek Independence Day and Greek culture more broadly.

Mr Mallikourtis
Mr Mallikourtis.

He also highlighted the strong bilateral relations between Greece and Australia, based on shared values and common experiences, including tourism, trade, and addressing global challenges like wildfires.

In his speech, Mr Livanios said that Greece and Australia have strong historical ties, always fighting together on the right side of history in WWI and WWII. He also said he is incredibly proud of the Greek diaspora in Australia.

“The first wave of immigrants worked very hard, they worked with meraki, they worked with passion, they worked with love for their new homeland,” he said.

“Now you have great doctors, great politicians, great architects… It’s a wonderful feeling to see how the Greeks here have progressed. The second and third generation love Greece as much as their pappou and yiayia.”

Archbishop Makarios spoke about how March 25th is a double celebration not only for Greek Independence Day, but also for the Annunciation of the Theotokos. He also spoke about the centenary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and stressed that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew would be visiting Australia in October.

The NSW Governor praised the Greek Australian community for their significant contributions to various fields, including business and professional communities. She also stressed how Greeks have demonstrated a commitment to the public good through their contributions to the greater community.

Minister Kamper was the last to speak about his Greek heritage and he reflected on the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution celebrated in 2021. He also spoke of the pride of Greeks and how the younger generation continue to maintain their Greek heritage.

At the conclusion of official proceedings, people were able to mingle amongst themselves and share their thoughts on the 1821 Greek Revolution.

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