On her first official visit to Melbourne this week, the Ambassador of Greece to Australia Ekaterini Xagorari paid a visit to the Greek Centre and Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM).

Accompanied by the Consul General of Melbourne, Christina Simantiraki, on Wednesday 24 August the pair met with the GCM’s president Bill Papastergiadis, general secretary Costas Markos, board member Jim Bossinakis, and director of the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, Jorge Menidis.

During the meeting, Ms Xagorari was informed about the GCM’s activities and discussed various issues concerning both the GCM and the Greeks of Melbourne.

Mr Papastergiadis also took the opportunity to discuss a series of issues raised in Greece, during the president’s recent meetings with ministers and other government officials.

Among the issues were education, the working holiday visa, investment, culture, the entitlement of Greeks abroad to vote, and cultural exchange programs for students.

The Ambassador expressed that she would look into these matters further by consulting with relevant ministers and authorities.

Following on from the meeting, Ms Xagorari said she was impressed by the GCM and felt positive about its activities.

“Melbourne, apart from the fact that it is a city with the third largest Greek population in the world, has a highly respectable and professional Greek Community which has done tremendous work in recent years,” said Ms Xagorari.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with the GCM and we have opened a channel of communication and I believe in the future we will maximise this cooperation in many areas of common interest and concern. We already discussed several issues and I believe most of the work here in Melbourne passes through the GCM. It is a great achievement, the fact that the Greek community is united and there is an excellent cooperation with the GCM.”

Mr Papastergiadis and the other members of the board in attendance said they were extremely pleased with the discussion that transpired during the Ambassador’s visit.

The president said that he “was confident that good outcomes would be achieved with the assistance of the Ambassador in regard to the matters recently raised with the Greek Ministers,” adding that relations between the GCM and the Ambassadors of Greece have always been strong, which will continue to have benefits for the Greeks of Melbourne.