On Thursday November 17 delegates from the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia and Hellenic Diaspora World Congress met with representatives from the University of Melbourne’s faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

An agreement between the University of Melbourne, University of Patra and the National Kapodistrian University of Athens was signed. It will generate exchange programs for undergraduates, postgraduates, and postdocs students.

The chair of the conference Professor Marinis Pirpiris and treasurer of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) said it was an important agreement which will bolster cooperation in the teaching and research across the three universities and will explore engagement opportunities such as joint lectures, seminars, workshops, and visits.

“This is a wonderful and unique opportunity, which will help build partnerships and academic collaborations and create connections between students and academics from diverse backgrounds with a shared commitment and passion to overcome the challenges of the future,” Prof. Pirpiris said in a statement.

Professor Nicola Lautenschlager, the Head of the Melbourne Medical School said that the University of Melbourne “values deeply this new and promising relationship with the Universities of Athens and the University of Patras.”

“There will be collaboration, the exchange of ideas and a way for our students to illuminate their curiosity and knowledge.

“This exchange will help keep our students at the forefront of innovation in medicine and medical research,” Prof. Lautenschlager said.

Professor Georgios Adonakis, the Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Patras said it was his “great honour” to sign the agreement with the University of Melbourne School.

Prof. Adonakis called University of Melbourne the “highest calibre medical education institution in Australia” and said that the event “marks the collaboration of both nations, its undergraduate students, postgraduate students, teaching staff and marks the exchange of research and clinical content.”

Dr. Marios Themistokleous, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Health in Greece said he was “very happy” to be in Melbourne and to support the agreement.

“On behalf of the Greek government I believe these kinds of collaborations will lead to exchange ideas between these institutions especially in researching, medical education and medical practice, always based on the values of Hippocrates,”

Greek Community president, Bill Papastergiadis said that Greece and Australia share a rich history and common values.

“Strengthening our ties is a vital to the work of the Greek Community of Melbourne and the agreement between the universities in the field of medicine is a superb outcome that will lead to exchanges of students and academic personnel.”

Mr Papastergiadis went on to say that the connections and shared research will “add significantly to the educational and cultural fabric of Australia and Greece.”

Mena Giannelis, Assistant Treasurer of the GCM emphasised the importance of the agreement calling it “a great honour”.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for undergraduate and post graduate students in Australia and in Greece to further their studies and research in each other’s countries. This collaborative agreement will be the first of its kind for Melbourne University and Greek universities, we hope that it will continue for a long time in the future.”

On Friday, November 18, the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia, and Hellenic Diaspora World Congress will be officially opened and will run a number of expert panels on topics including accessing global health care and new medical technologies.

The Congress will conclude on Saturday the 19th with a Fundraising Gala for community organisations PRONIA and Fronditha Care.