The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) opens up to second- and third-generation Greek Australians in an endeavour to attract more young people and set the foundations for its continuity and future as an organisation.

In a meeting held at Melina on the Rooftop on Monday 1 May, representatives of the National Union of Greek Australian Students (NUGAS) were briefed about the organisation’s activities and future programs and ideas were exchanged on how they can get involved with the GCM. Board members talked about the GCM’s history, its activities and programs, and invited the students to get involved in committees and subcommittees and get a firsthand experience of how the organisation operates.

“We are opening the GCM to young people, bringing them to our organisation, creating our new leaders and ensuring the continuation of the organisation and Greek community in general,” said GCM president Bill Papastergiadis, adding that the intention of the GCM’s board is to have regular meetings with NUGAS and other Greek Australian youth organisations to discuss with them their needs and future programs.

“When there is a federal or state election the Australian political parties approach GCM to discuss the needs of the Greek community,” he said and mentioned the commitments made by all the main Australian parties to the GCM for funding its programs and activities with $600,000, in addition to financial support for building the Greek Centre.

The president also emphasised that the GCM is a major organisation in the Greek diaspora and it is recognised as such not only from the Australian governments, but also in from Greece. He mentioned the meeting he and Costas Markos had last year with the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and various ministers and government officials, and also with Australian prime ministers, premiers, and ministers for migration, national issues, education, culture and community issues.

Attending on behalf of the GCM were: President Bill Papastergiadis, Hon General Secretary Costas Markos, Vice President Theodore Markos, Treasurer Prof Marinis Pirpiris, Co-chairperson of Lonsdale St Greek Festival Leonidas Vlahakis, board members, and Spiros Papadopoulos, Jim Bossinakis, Christos Sikavitsas, and Phillip Vassiliadis.

Theo Markos, Nick Dallas, Spiros Papadopoulos, Costas Markos, Leo Vlahakis, Marinis Pirpiris, and Christos Sikavitsas spoke about GCM’s investment in education, Greek Language and Culture Schools, Greek and Ancient Greek classes for adults, the Creative Drama and Arts Centre, Greek history and culture seminars and Alphington Grammar School. Director of the Greek Centre Jorge Menidis, noted that the GCM offers its spaces to NUGAS to conduct their meetings and organise events and they are always welcome to utilise the GCM’s facilities.

Four NUGAS members expressed their intention to participate in GCM committees, while another meeting is planned before the end of September.