The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) board welcomed the inaugural Hellenic Senior Lecturer of Global Diasporas at the University of Melbourne, Dr Andonis Piperoglou, at the Greek Centre last Monday.

President Bill Papastergiadis said that “this position at Melbourne University solidifies the role of the GCM at all four levels of education, being early learning, primary, secondary, and tertiary.”

Talking to Neos Kosmos Mr Papastergiadis said that Dr Piperoglou will deliver “needed research into the issues challenging the broader Greek community and the mechanisms to identify appropriate responses.”

Mr Papastergiadis underscored the “pre-election commitment” by Labor and the Liberals to funding this academic position.

He told Neos Kosmos that the commitment “demonstrates the strong support by our governments for the work undertaken by the GCM”.

The GCM’s education convenor, Dr Nick Dallas said at the meeting that no one should “underestimate the importance of this position, not only because it goes against the global trend in humanities investments but it’s a chance to put migrant history on the map.”

Dr Dallas called it “an opportunity to reflect upon and examine the evolution and complexity of the Greek diasporic experience”.

Dr Spiridoula Demetriou from the GCM said that she found it exciting “that notions of the diaspora are finally going to be afforded diversity.”

Dr Demetriou said that Dr Piperoglou’s ideas had inspired ideas in her, in particular “responses to the homeland becoming part of the definition and narrative of Greek identity in Australia”.

Dr Piperoglou provided an overview of the subjects he will develop and teach. In 2023 he will tackle the history of globalisation as an Honours subject for students who want to “understand the complexities and diverse trajectories of the history of our globalised world.”

Dr Piperoglou will also teach a program titled Migrant Nation, offered as a breadth subject for those with an interest in immigration, multiculturalism, refugee studies, ethnic and national identity. From 2024 the new head of diaspora studies will focus on global diasporas, Hellenic cultures, as a third year history subject. He aims to bring students into contact with the diversity of diaspora histories, theories, and experiences across the globe, and will look into the plural Hellenic diaspora experiences.

Dr Piperoglou stressed that his “responsibility went beyond teaching and research into community engagement” and that he will work on projects with the GCM .

He also went said that he will develop partnerships with overseas universities and develop international symposiums on diasporas.