Members of the Board of Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne & Victoria (GOCMV) and the Cultural Centre Advisory committee met with the Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship and Minister for the Arts The Hon. Tony Burke last Friday, to brief the Minister on an array of matters including multiculturalism, immigration & the new Cultural Centre.
The member for Calwell Ms Vamvakinou was also present, together with the GOCMV President Bill Papastergiadis, Board member George Koletsis and Professor Nikos Papastergiadis from the Cultural Centre Advisory Board.
The Minister expressed his enthusiasm towards the Community's direction and activities and stated that the bilateral Work and Holiday Visa agreement with Greece is now ready to be signed by the respective parties. He also congratulated the Community on its efforts to promote the Greek language and culture in Australia through innovative avenues.
The Minister congratulated the Greek Community for its strong and positive leadership role and reiterated that with the establishment of the new Cultural Centre a new and dynamic relationship will evolve between the Federal Government and the GOCMV.
During the course of discussion, members of the Board of the GOCMV, emphasized that the cultural centre will also respond to the current patterns in Australian migration. There are new and emergent migrant communities that are undergoing the difficult process of integrating into the Australian context. The Greeks are now one of the established communities and can offer a strong and positive leadership role for other minorities.
"The cultural centre will generate a strong connection with Greece but it will also be a leader of the global Greek diaspora" Mr. Papastergiadis stated, noting that it will link up with existing Greek centres in the Americas and Europe. In addition, all those present acknowledged Mr. Papastergiadis commentary that "Hellenism is a rich reservoir of ideas and an outlook on life that continues to influence and shape our contemporary thinking. The cultural centre will draw from this history and provide a platform that is attractive to a wide range of contemporary artists and intellectuals. The future of Hellenism, just as at the times of its formation in classical world, will emerge from the radiant interaction between people that are from different parts of the world."