Keeping our Greek heritage is vital
TOWNSVILLE Greek Festival organisers are keen to promote Greek culture — so keen that they travelled to Greece this month to attend an international conference.
President and coordinator Bill Malandris and senior logistics officer Dimitri Bournas travelled to Thessaloniki in Northern Greece to participate in the conference which is organised by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, a division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece.
The three day conference is held in Greece every three years, with about 700 delegates from Greek communities around the world invited by the Greek Government.
64 Greek delegates attended from Australia and New Zealand alongwith delegates from North and South America, Canada, Africa, and Europe.
This year’s conference was held from December 8 to December 10 and Mr Malandris said he had learned several vital lessons in promotingGreek culture.
‘ ‘ T h e c o n f e r e n c e w a s invaluable as it enabled us to keep abreast of what is happeningin Greek communities a r o u n d t h e wo r l d , ’ ’ Mr Malandris said.
‘‘It was an excellent opportunity to network, exchange ideas, establish valuable contacts and apply for assistance through the Ministries of Culture and Education.’’
‘‘It was through the international conference in 2003 and a subsequent meetingat the Department of Education outliningthe difficulties of regional areas that a position was created earlier this year for a Greek teacher funded by the Greek Government for the Townsville Greek Community.
‘‘Our community is now fourth and fifth generation Greek, so it is important that the Greek teacher helps prevent the language and culture from dyingout in our community,’’ Mr Malandris said.
Greek Fest Townsville is officially recognised by the Greek G o v e r n m e n t , a n d M r Malandris and Mr Bournas had talks with the deputy minister of foreign affairs Theodoros Kassimis, the director general of Greeks Abroad Ioannis Kyparissidis and president of the Ministry of Culture Michael Siopsis duringtheir stay.
They presented them with letters by Mayor Les Tyrell as well as Townsville and Thuringowa cities promotional material.
BANNER HEADLINE . . . president and coordinator Bill Malandris (left)