Greek Australian community at crossroads

The Greek Australian community is at a crossroads for the first time since its postwar migration over sixty years ago as the younger Greek generation looks to Australia rather than Greece for its sense of identity.

La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue, in association with the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria and La Trobe’s Greek Centre and Language Program, is hosting Australia’s first Greek community dialogues to look at intergenerational change and how the Greek community might look like in 10, 15 or 20 years time.

The initiator and chief facilitator of the dialogues, the Centre for Dialogue’s deputy director, Dr Michális S. Michael, said the need for the dialogues reflected a growing wish within the Greek community to look at where they have been and what the future might look like.

‘Recent developments in Greece have once again underscored the complex presence of Greeks in Australia. As a result of the Greek economic crisis, many Greeks are returning to Australia or are coming here to join family, while at the same time we have younger Greek Australians who look, in a hybrid way,  to Australia for their sense of identity,’ he said.

‘This is the first time that a concerted effort has been made to hear Greek voices, to listen and reflect on their contribution to Australia and the issues and situations they face.’

A number of leading Greek personalities will be involved in the conversation, which will adopt the Socratic cycle method of questioning to understand the dynamics, the challenges and the rationale behind the Greek-Australian identity.

They include:

  • Cathy Alexopoulos had taught at different educational institutions for many years and has been President of the Greek-Australian Cultural League since 1999.
  • Vaios Anastassopoulos is a senior radio producer with extensive work on Greek-Australian current affairs.  He has been working for SBS radio since 1999.
  • Kostas Karamarkos is editor of Neos Kosmos English.  He has worked as a newspaper columnist, radio news editor and senior advisor to the Secretariat for Greeks Abroad.
  • Bill Papastergiadis is a recognised leader in construction law and litigation. He is also President of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria.
  • Mike Zafiropoulos has more than 40 years involvement in community affairs in a wide range of fields.
  • Tass Sgardelis is President of NUGAS (National Union of Greek-Australian Students) Victoria.
  • Eugenia Mitrakas is a solicitor and a public Notary, and Founder and Chairman of The Greek Conference, a not for profit organisation, formed in 2002 to promote the ideals of Hellenism and Greek Culture.

Two more dialogues are planned for 2014 with potential subjects including the future of Modern Greek language in Australia and the impact of the Greek crisis on the Greeks in Australia.

Event details 

The Greek Community in Transition: Intergenerational perspectives

Ελληνικοί Παροικιακοί Διαλόγοι 

Date:  Thursday 12 December

Time: 6:45 pm 

Venue: St Michael’s, Uniting Church, 120 Collins St Melbourne

Media contact

Penny Underwood: T (03) 9818 6339 | E mediawise@mediawise.net.au

Image credit: Trine Juel

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