As most readers of Neos Kosmos are aware, the deliberations during November and December 2020 led to La Trobe University’s decision to continue its Greek Studies program.
A review will be undertaken in March 2023. La Trobe recently established a Steering Committee to assist with two main objectives: (1) increasing student enrolments; and (2) fundraising.
In order to assist in reaching the total of $172,000 ($64,000 annually) that was pledged to cover the costs of the program over this three year period – costs that are not covered by current student numbers – the university set up a donation portal: https://www.latrobe.edu.au/giving/support-greek-language.
The Steering Committee comprises LTU representatives, including Provost Prof. Simon Evans, Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Nick Bisley, and Greek Studies coordinator Dr Stavroula Nikoloudis. The community representatives are GOCMV representatives Bill Papastergiadis and Spiros Papadopoulos, the Very Rev. Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos from the Archdiocese, MGTAV President Anita Ladas, and business sector representative Professor Greg Stamboulidis.
The first meeting took place on 9 March and the discussion focused on increasing the employability of our students by engaging with Greek businesses and other Greek organisations to develop meaningful internships connected to concrete career pathways.
We have 70 students in our language classes in semester 1 – this is promising and continues the upward trend noted over the past two years. Our student cohort is diverse, with a blend of ages and ethnic backgrounds that makes it an extremely stimulating environment for students and instructors alike! Our students have been exceptional in assisting us to promote the program: many thanks to Margarita Smith for her talk to the students of St John’s College last month, to Jesse Pileio and Angelica Panopoulos for helping us celebrate the 200 years since the Greek Revolution at the recent Pharos Event, hosted by our program for the MGTAV (Modern Greek Teachers’ Association of Victoria), and to our postgraduate students who will be presenting talks on their research later in the year.
We continue to integrate the precious Dardalis Archives of the Hellenic Diaspora into our teaching and research, as we aim to offer a quality program for students and to work together with the wider community and a variety of organisations, including schools and businesses, to increase that appeal into the future. Our language and culture subjects introduce students to mainland Greek and Cypriot, as well as local Greek-Australian, cultures thereby forming an integral part of the multicultural fabric of Australia. If you are interested in exploring Greek language and culture, please consider joining the program and encouraging others to do the same. Our student numbers are increasing, but there is still a lot of work to do. Keep an eye out also for our new overseas Greek Study Tour at the end of the year which, due to COVID, will be morphing into a virtual overseas get-away for December 2021!