The third international Perspectives on the Hellenic Diaspora conference will take place at Charles Darwin University in Darwin and online from 26 to 28 May says one of the conference conveners Associate Professor George Frazis for Greek and Hellenic Studies.
The biennial event which was first held in 2017 is a collaborative effort by Charles Darwin University, the University of the Aegean and the University of Macedonia.
This year the conference will be held at the Casuarina campus in Darwin with 60 contributors: academics and researchers from Australia, Europe, Africa, the US and Canada who will take part.
Prof Frazis told Neos Kosmos that the inter-state academics and speakers would come from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney to Darwin to talk while overseas conference contributors will deliver their talks online.
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios of Australia will be one of the keynote speakers on the opening day of the conference and he will speak on the theme: “Orthodox Church and Greek Diaspora: Historical Overview, Contemporary Situation and Future Prospects.”
Eileen Cummings, of Charles Darwin University another keynote speaker will talk on the “Personal and career experiences of Indigenous personhood with respect to government ‘Stolen Generation’ policy and truth-telling the Stolen Generation history in Australia.”
Prof Frazis said the conference was unique in bringing together the Hellenic Diaspora experience and the Indigenous Australian perspective.
“The conference embraces a wide variety of issues relating to the history, literature, migration, religion, culture and every-day life.” Prof Frazis said. “We look at the diasporas that followed the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the 1922 Catastrophe, the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 and the migration of Greeks to Australia from the 1950s.”
The conference will also deliver an interchange of ideas about perceptions of Greek language education and promote Hellenic Studies and the Greek language in the diaspora which will be the theme of two other keynote speakers Professor Michael Damanakis of the University of Crete and Professor George Karanakis of Charles Sturt University in Perth.
Professor Michael Damanakis of the University of Crete will speak on the theme “Functions and functionality of the source language in the diaspora”. Professor George Kanarakis, Charles Sturt University will speak on “The Diachrony of the Greek Language and its Contribution to Australian English.”
Dr Phil Kafcaloudes CF who will deliver two papers relating to research he conducted into his Kastellorizian family history told Neos Kosmos that the conference provided valuable opportunities to look at the Hellenic diaspora to Australia.
“When I wrote my novel Someone Else’s War (which revolves around the story of his maternal grandmother Olga Stamboulis) in 2011, there was so little information out there. Many of the studies on the diaspora that were done in Athens and Thessaloniki focussed on the great diasporas in Britain, Germany and the United States. Australia was hardly mentioned.”
He said that this was changing. He will be travelling to Darwin not only to talk at the conference but to also to carry out research on his grandfather, Soteres Kafcaloudes, who came to Darwin from Kastellorizo in 1917 onboard a ship reportedly commissioned by British and Australian authorities.
“There are so many stories that have not been told,” said Dr Kafcaloudes.
The outcome of the conference will be the publication of Perspectives on the Hellenic diaspora Volume 3 in 2023.
Perspectives on the Hellenic Diaspora is free of charge and open to everyone to attend either on Campus and/or online. For more details visit the conference website (https://hellenic-diaspora.cdu.edu.au). Links for registration will be available through the Programme schedule link on the website.