“Unite the Youth, to Unite the Community”
The founding conference of the Western Australia SAE Youth Network was held with great success and youthful vigor on the weekend of May 10-11 at the Greek Community Center, 20 Parker Street, Northbridge, in Perth.
Over 800 people representing the State Parliament and Omogenia attended the two-day events hosted by SAE Oceania Region in cooperation with the Greek Community in Western Australia and other community organizations, the University of Notre Dame Greek Studies Department educator Savvas Papasavvas, the Western Australia Greek Youth and many Greek-Australian community officials.
The participation of young men and women, who were given the opportunity to express their Greek background when many of them are 3rd and 4th generation Greek-Australians and children of mixed marriages, was moving.
The conference proceedings opened on Saturday with a Greek cultural event held with the participation of the St Andrew College and the Pan-Lakonian Brotherhood of Melbourne Greek folk dancers and the “Anadromiki Compania” orchestra, leaving those attending with the best impressions.
The opening proceedings addressed, Greek Consul General to Perth Despina Tzanakakis, SAE Oceania and Far East Regional Coordinator George Angelopoulos, State Representative John D’ Orazio (Labor Party), State Opposition Leader Troy Buswell (Liberal Party), Federal MP Luke Simpkins (Liberal Party), Head of SAE Western Australia State Liaison and Western Australia Greek Community President Evan Kakoulas, SAE Oceania Treasurer and President of the Federation of Cypriot Communities in Australia and New Zealand Michael Christodoulou.
All speakers underlined the importance of youth networking in the preservation and promotion of the Greek language and culture in Australia and its role in the efforts for the personal, professional and social benefit of our young men and women.
Very important was the statement made by State MP John D’Orazio that he will submit a resolution to the Western Australia State Parliament for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece calling on the opposition to support it.
On Sunday, May 11, Head of SAE Western Australia State Liaison and Western Australia Greek Community President Evan Kakoulas, opened the Youth Conference proceedings and Savvas Papasavvas offered a bouquet of flowers to Eleni Toufexis on the occasion of the Mother’s Day in a gesture made in honor of all mothers.
SAE Oceania and Far East Regional Coordinator George Angelopoulos referred to the event of the day stressing among others in his address: “Your Network will constitute an autonomous body within the SAE Oceania Youth Network to be founded in a convention that will be held in Sydney in September and be part of the global SAE Youth Network planned to be established by regional representatives in a convention in Greece in 2010.
The Youth Networks will act independently under the SAE umbrella and are intended to replace the Omogenia leadership in the promotion of Greek culture, language and tradition in the countries where the young men and women of Greek origin were born.
The plan is to form a huge Network of Greek origin Youth with priceless benefits in setting common goals through communication channels to be established from Australia to the United States, from Canada to Europe, Russia and Asia from South Africa, to Alexandria and South America, everywhere the peace-loving and progressive Omogenia lives.”
Among the speakers were SAE Oceania Treasurer and PSEKA President Michael Christodoulou and Greek Consulate to Perth representative Nikos Stilios who stressed the importance of an international Greek youth network.
Among the participants were representatives of the Greek Community of South Australia St Andrew’s Grammar School, which attracts many students from different minorities due to its exceptional academic record, who spoke in favor of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, Greek-learning and the importance of forging stronger ties with the motherland.
The slogan “Unite Youth, Unite the Community” created by the participating youth won the hearts of those attending.
The convention board members were: Anthony Zorbas (president), Chrystalla Georgiou, Alexi Gavalas and Stan Mastrantonis, while the three-member supervisory committee was made up of Alexis Antronis, Zion Platritis and Maria Georgiou, who oversaw the convention proceedings.
The Convention’s four committee workshops were:
1)Greek-learning – Culture
2)Connection with Greece – National issues
3)Information – registration – communication – Youth activities
4)Promotion of the Greek-Australian identity – Communication between generations – Greek community issues
After talks and consultations, the heads of the committees submitted proposals and suggestions on the improvement and upgrading of communication between the youth, organizations, SAE and the Greek State.
The main points in the proposals presented concerned: establishment of Greek kindergarten school, communication with the motherland, the role of SAE, communication with the use of modern multimedia (email, newsletter, facebook, SMS, website), upgrading of the Greek Community building, holding regular Greek cultural events, hiring of permanent teaching personnel, the football-sports teams, camps, student exchange, support to the SAE Oceania Pan-Hellenic Athletic and Cultural Games – Melbourne 2009 and the backing of national issues.
The proposals will be processed and analyzed by the newly elected Western Australia Youth Network Board of Directors to be presented to the SAE Oceania Youth Network founding General Assembly scheduled to be held in September 2008.
The proposals of the young men and women delegates won the warm applause of those attending the conference.
The Western Australia SAE Youth Network elected a nine-member board of directors made up of Chrystalla Georgiou, Vasilis Glitsos, Efterpi Platritis, Nefeli Naoum, Alexi Gavalas, Stan Mastrantonis, Kyriakos Stylianou, Anthony Zorbas, Alexandra Papadakis expected to formally convene within the next two days.
Before the end of the procedure, the Western Australia Youth Network passed a resolution backing a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue in accordance with the UN resolutions and supported Greece’s actions for a peaceful solution to the FYROM name issue.
In closing, our youth stated that they are proud of their Greek identity, stressing that they expect a lot from SAE as a communication means.