The President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), Bill Papastergiadis, met with the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as with the Minister for Interior, Takis Theodorikakos and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Diaspora Greeks, Antonis Diamataris.
During his meeting with Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Mr. Papastergiadis had a cordial and interesting discussion about the GCM.
Mr Papastergiadis also met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday afternoon to discuss issues related to the GCM, as well as to the Greek community in general.
"I am very pleased that during our 40-minutes meeting, the Prime Minister took the time to understand the history of our community and even showed particular interest in Greeks abroad, expressing his respect and admiration for progress and of the Greek-Australians, expressing the desire to open even more communication channels between the two countries, "Mr Papastergiades said after the 40 minutes meeting with Mr Mitsotakis.
“The Prime Minister greeted me very warmly and really took the time to listen and understand the history of our community, as well as the important issues concerning the diaspora,” added Mr Papastergiadis.
The meeting was focused on the GCM and its activities and the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, as well as the construction of the 15-storey community building in central Melbourne, which houses the cultural centre, the largest in the Greek diaspora, that hosts lectures, seminars, exhibitions, modern Greek and ancient Greek language courses.
Mr Mitsotakis was impressed by the work done by the GCM and the fact that its activities attract thousands of people, Greeks and non-Greeks, such as the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival.
At the same time, Mr. Papastergiadis discussed with the Greek Prime Minister issues related to Diaspora, such as the right to vote and the tourist visa with the right to work for young people.
“I told the Prime Minister that the best way to develop economic, cultural and social ties between Greece and Greek Australians is when each party is properly valued. Being granted the right to vote and knowing that our vote is valued in Greece, will have a profound impact on how the diaspora perceives their homeland and how Greece also perceives the diaspora. In my humble opinion, that’s the cracks of how we can build better relationships and strengthen those ties,” Mr Papastergiadis said.
The meeting was also attended by Ministers Takis Theodorikakos and Antonis Diamataris.
“I felt really proud to be able to represent Greek Australians and happy that the Greek government seemed so keen to listen and invest time on us. Exciting times ahead,” said Mr Papastergiadis.