Benefit of Greek language on agenda for touring linguist

Author of the Greek Dictionary, Professor George Babiniotis will visit Australia next month

Arguably the most eminent linguist in Greece, Professor George Babiniotis will be visiting Australia with the aim to encourage students and parents on the benefits of studying the Greek language. As part of the Dimitria Festival, the Professor of Linguistics – and former rector and minister for education and culture of Greece – Professor George Babiniotis will be visiting Australia from 16 to 28 November and will deliver public lectures and visit schools amongst various other engagements.

The professor and his wife Rodhanthi have been invited to Australia for this visit by the Nafsika Stamoulis Hellenic Museum and Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies. Professor Babiniotis has authored the famous Greek Dictionary and over 150 articles and 20 monographs on Greek linguistics and the evolution of the Greek language throughout the centuries.

He is currently the President of the Educational Society of Greece, the entity that administers the Arsakeion and Tositsia Colleges in Greece and in the Balkans, and is the Director of the Onassis Foundation in New York and is the Director of the Board of A. Onassis Foundation in Greece. Professor Babiniotis will first visit Sydney and will deliver two public lectures at the Open University and Sydney University organised by the Kostis Palamas Cultural Society.

He will then travel to Perth were he has been invited by the Greek Studies Program, University of Notre Dame Australia and lecturer, Savvas Papasavvas and will deliver one seminar at St. Andrew’s Grammar and one lecture at the Medical Amphitheatre of the University of Notre Dame. Professor Babiniotis will visit the Hellenic Community and its school and will have discussions with the members of the Hellenic Council of Australia.

On Wednesday 21 November and until Tuesday 28 November Professor Babiniotis will stay in Melbourne, visiting schools, meeting with teachers and government officials. On Thursday 22 November at 7:00 pm. Professor Babiniotis will open a new collection of artefacts at the Hellenic Museum and will deliver a lecture on the importance of maintaining the language of origin in a host country.

His topic will be “Maintaining a language of origin in an immigrant environment: The case of Greek”. This lecture has also been organised by the Office of the Greek Consul for Education in collaboration with the Modern Greek Teachers Association and other collective entities of teachers. His lecture will be followed by a reception in his honour hosted by the Chairman and the Board of the Museum, Harry Stamoulis.

Professor Babiniotis will also participate in the festivities organised by the Hellenic Museum celebrating the 60th anniversary of the bilateral agreement on migration signed between Australia and Greece from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 November. Then on Monday 22 November he will deliver another public lecture entitled The Ancient Greek Dialects placing particular emphasis on the dialect of Ancient Macedonians.

Professor Babiniotis is expected to; visit Alphington Grammar to address the parents and students attending Greek language classes organized by the Principle of the Greek Community Schools, Mr John Milidis; will hold discussion with Harry Stamoulis, Chairman of the Hellenic Museum and its CEO, John Tatoulis and members of the Board; will visit and hold discussion with the Victorian Government’s Education Department. Professor Babiniotis will meet in assembly the Board of the Pan-Macedonian Association and that of the Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies; he will also meet with the Board of the Independent Schools of Victoria organized by Dr Helen Kalamboukas.

Professor Babiniotis will encourage students and parents to understand the benefits of studying Greek as a second and even as a foreign language; to assist in the development of productive relations between the Hellenic Museum, the Greek language schools and the wider Greek Australian society; to have productive discussions with the President and the members of the Board of the Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies on issues of research and publications. During his visit, he will hold discussions with the Modern Greek Teachers Association in Victoria, NSW and WA encouraging them in their role and discussing strategies in promoting the Greek language.

The Consul for Education of Greece in Australia, Vasileios Gkogas is partaking in the visit encouraging teachers to attend Professor Babiniotis’ lectures and benefit from his wisdom and experience. Professor Babiniotis’ visit coincides with the Dimitria Cultural Festival organized by the Pan-Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria. This year, along with the Macedonian Hellenes all over the world, PEMV and the Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies are celebrating the Centenary Anniversary of the Liberation of Macedonia from the Ottoman Rule, following the victorious Balkan Wars (1912).

The AIMS also participates in this year’s Dimitria Festival with this lecture Sunday 4 November at 4:00 pm. The lecture will be delivered by Panagiotis Liveriadis, Chairman of the AIMS. Topic: The Greek language education in Macedonia prior to its Liberation from the Ottomans.