Recipients of Victoria’s 2018 Multicultural Awards for Excellence were recognised in a special ceremony at Government House on Wednesday night.

Among the state’s Diversity Heroes were four Greek Australians, who were honoured for their contributions in strengthening the multicultural efforts of the state.

Christina Despoteris received an Award for Meritorious Service to the Community.

Despoteris, who is also the Vice President of Melbourne’s Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, was recognised for her leadership and dedication in engaging the community and promoting Greek culture through various means and initiatives.

Senior Sergeants Eugene Kontos and Eftihios Anastasiadis were among the recipients of the police awards.

Recognised as “a great example of what community policing is all about”, Sergeant Anastasiadis was recognised for the use of his bilingual and cultural skills to facilitate communication and understanding between Victoria Police and the Greek community, and as a result has managed to reinforce a positive police profile.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Kontos, who has been a member of Victoria Police for close to three decades, was recognised for his significant role in the development of multicultural policy in the context of policing, and managing difficult cross-cultural situations.

In the Media category, Neos Kosmos‘ own senior Journalist Eugenia Pavlopoulou was among the recipients.

Having worked in Greek-language media for close to two decades, she first started out at Radio 3AB in the early 2000s and has been at Neos Kosmos as a journalist and editor for the past 16 years.

She was recognised for helping to highlight issues often overlooked by mainstream media, most recently investigating and writing about the uncertain future of the Modern Greek program at La Trobe University, Victoria’s only Greek language program at tertiary level.

Ms Pavlopoulou was nominated by Federal Member for Calwell, Maria Vamvakinou MP.

In the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Ms Vamvakinou acknowledged the important role played by ethnic media and reporters the likes of Ms Pavlopoulou.

“Representing a culturally diverse electorate, I know how pivotal ethnic media is and how important it is to my communities. Ethnic media informs and engages Australia’s multicultural communities, who are vulnerable to isolation and disconnection because of a lack of education, a lack of English language, age and location. It provides a touch point to them to hear news from their homeland and to discuss mainstream Australian news in their mother tongue,” she said.

“For almost two decades, Eugenia Pavlopoulou has committed herself to Melbourne’s Greek-speaking community … As a bilingual journalist, she continues to produce important work that has increased awareness and understanding of multicultural affairs in Victoria and driven change in Melbourne’s Greek Australian community at a national level. I want to congratulate Eugenia for the work that she does. The award she receives tonight is highly deserved.”

Recipients across 10 categories were formally awarded on Wednesday by Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AC.

Now in its 17th year, the Multicultural Awards for Excellence are coordinated by the Victorian Multicultural Commission on behalf of the Victorian Government.
Also present to acknowledge the recipients and their work was Commission Chairperson Helen Kapalos, Anthony Howard QC, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott, Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton AMP, Parliamentary Secretary for Education Judith Graley MP, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Inga Peulich, President of the Legislative Council Bruce Atkinson MLC, and VMC Commissioners.