Kostas Stefanidis’ of the Melbourne branch of the MERA party sent La Trobe University Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar the following letter:
MERA25 is a political party in the Greek parliament, led by the Greek Australian Yanis Varoufakis, an honorary professor of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.
We write regarding the recent announcement that La Trobe University has proposed to cease the Modern Greek Language Program.
- La Trobe is the only Victorian University that offers a Modern Greek studies program.
- Modern Greek is an important community language with over 100.000 speakers in Victoria.
- According to the 2011 Australian census, Melbourne has a population of 173,598 Greek Australians, the largest population outside Greece and Cyprus.
- Modern Greek is one of the languages in the Australian Curriculum.
- The influence of the Greek language on English has been largely lexical and conceptual. It has been spoken in the Balkan peninsula since around the 3rd millennium BC and has been the fundamental language in philosophy, medicine, physics, mathematics and astronomy. The retention of Greek Studies at La Trobe will contribute to the continuity of this language among the Greek Australian community of Melbourne and Victoria.
- We consider the retention of the Modern Greek studies in La Trobe as a sign of the strong bonds between Australia and Greece, and as an opportunity for our children to study the language of their parents.
We call on La Trobe to reconsider the proposal and ensure that the Modern Greek Language Program will continue.