Antonis Diamataris, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Expatriate Greeks, assured Vasilis Papastergiadis, the president of the Melbourne Greek Community, on Wednesday that the Greek state will make every effort to support Greeks throughout Australia.
His remarks came during a meeting the two officials held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens.
Diamataris stressed that Greek expatriates are a priority for the government, and he asked to be briefed on the important issues facing Melbourne’s expatriates, particularly in the field of education.
Areas of concern for the Deputy Foreign Minister include potential teacher transfers from Greece, the establishment of student hospitality programs in Greece, and new school textbooks, as well as distance learning.
Papastergiadis briefed Minister Diamataris on Melbourne’s Greek community, which is the second-oldest Greek Diaspora hub, counting 300,000 residents of Greek descent. Melbourne is also considered the third-largest Greek-speaking city in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki.
The Melbourne Community president said the Greek community there operates schools offering courses in Greek language and culture in various suburbs of Melbourne. It also supports five large Greek Orthodox churches, as well as Alphington Grammar College, which has more than 2,500 students.
The large Greek diaspora community in Melbourne also hosts some of the largest cultural festivals held in Australia, including the Lonsdale Greek Festival in downtown Melbourne, which attracts more than 120,000 visitors, and the annual Greek Film Festival.
Construction on the Community’s 15-story building in central Melbourne was begun in 2014, and this new facility, which houses the Hellenic Center for Contemporary Culture, is the largest such community-owned building anywhere in the Greek diaspora.
The spectacular Center now sees tens of thousands of visits every year.
The Center’s multifaceted offerings at their gleaming new facility also include lectures and language courses in Modern Greek and Ancient Greek, and it sponsors awards for Australian students of Greek descent.
Source: Athens – Macedonian News Agency