As part of the ‘Speak Greek in March…And Not Only’ Campaign, a seminar is being hosted in Melbourne next month to explore the Greek language in Australia.
Featuring an impressive line-up of speakers from varying sectors, the aim of the seminar is to examine the current reality of Greek language use in the diaspora with regards to the problems and challenges being faced. Aside from past and present, it will also look at future activities, innovations and ideas from educators, organisations and individuals who are interested in promoting and retaining the language.
Emphasis will also be placed on identifying solutions to these challenges, and exploring ways on how to improve matters, as well as investigating ways to keep the Greek alive in Australia.
Convener of the Campaign and member of the seminar’s Organising Committee, Mike Zafiropoulos AM will open the six-part event with an introduction. The first session, will be presented by Professor Vrasidas Karalis from the University of Sydney’s Department of Modern Greek, who will comment on the current state of affairs, trends, experiences and perspectives of countries like Australia in the Greek diaspora.
The second session will be chaired by Dr Thanasis Spilias, tackling the role of Greek language schools and other educational organisations, support of Australian and Greek governments, challenges, suggestions for improvements, innovation, cooperation, coordination, and experiences of other language communities. Taking part will be La Trobe University Research Associate, Dr Chris Fifis; Greek Consul for Education, Australia and New Zealand Dr Georgia Nikolaidou; Chair of Community Languages Australia, Tasos Douvartzides; Chair of the Association of Greek Language and Culture Schools, Iakovos Garivaldis OAM; Principal of the Greek Community Schools, Manos Tzimpragos; and Principal of Nestoras College, John Kostarakis.
The third session will explore experiences of individuals, such as descendants of mixed marriages, non-Greeks who speak Greek, students of the Greek language who are recipients of scholarships and awards, as well as the role of parents and grandparents.
Taking part will be President of the Greek Australian Cultural League, Cathy Alexopoulos OAM; second generation mother and Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Vice President, Tammy Iliou; 18-year-old app producer, Fotios Tsiouklas; mixed marriage descendant mother, Vasso Zangali; non-Greek background student of Greek, Katrina Zika; grandfather Grigorios Bairamis; and grandmother Ioanna Liakakou.
The fourth session will bring attention to experiences of Greek community media, and its contribution to the retention and promotion of the Greek language.
General Secretary of the Hellenic Interparliamentary Association and former Victorian Government Minister, John Pandazopoulos will chair the discussion, featuring Neos Kosmos‘ own editor-in-chief, Sotiris Hatzimanolis; general manager of 3XY and Ta Nea, Ross Alatzas; and executive producer of SBS Radio Greek Program, Themis Kallos.
Kyriakos Amanatidis OAM will chair the fifth session, which will delve into the experiences of day schools, Greek language in the curriculum, along with their contribution to the retention and promotion of the Greek language. Taking part will be Principal of Alphington Grammar Dr Vivianne Nikou; Head of Junior School St John’s College, Agatha Anamourlis; and head of LOTE at Oakleigh Grammar, Kiki Kousourakis.
The final session will bring the focus to the future, looking into perspectives, funding, the role of providers and community organisations. They will also discuss the possibility of creating a Hellenic Language Foundation, cooperation with other language minorities, and pertinent proposals for strengthening the language.
It will be chaired by La Trobe University lecturer Dr Dimitrios Gonis with participating speakers Dean Kalimniou, a lawyer, journalist, and poet; La Trobe University’s Greek Studies Program coordinator, Dr Stephie Nikoloudis; La Trobe University Research Associate, Dr Maria Herodotou; GCM Education Committee member, Dr Nick Dallas; and Director, Master of FinTech at Swinburne University, Dr Dimitrios Salambasis.
Sponsored by Nick Andrianakos and the Bank of Sydney, the Seminar will be telecast and webcast by Channel 31.
The seminar will take place on Sunday 26 May at the Greek Centre (168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne) at 2.00 pm. Free to attend. To register, visit https://bit.ly/2PfvXn9