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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonis Diamataris meets with the president of the Greek community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis (Athens, 7 August 2019)
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Diaspora Greeks, Antonis Diamataris, met at his office today with the president of the Greek community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis.
Mr. Papastergiadis briefed the Deputy Minister on the Greek community of Melbourne, the second-oldest diaspora community, which, with 300,000 residents of Greek origin, is considered the third-largest Greek-speaking city in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki. With extensive work, mainly in education and culture, the community operates Schools of Greek Language and Culture in various suburbs of Melbourne, and Alphington Grammar, which has over 2,500 students, while also directly supporting five Greek Orthodox churches.
The community also organizes some of the largest festivals in Australia, such as the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival in the centre of Melbourne, which attracts over 120,000 visitors, and the annual Greek Film Festival. Construction of the new 15-story community building in downtown Melbourne was completed in 2014 and houses the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, which is the largest such centre of the Greek diaspora and attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. The Centre's multifaceted actions include a lecture series, lessons in Modern and Ancient Greek, and awards for students of Greek origin.
Mr. Diamataris asked to be briefed on the major issues being faced by the Greek community of Melbourne, mainly in the education sector, such as postings of Greek educators, activation of hospitality programmes for pupils who want to visit Greece, school books and distance learning. Assuring his interlocutor that the diaspora is a priority for the Government, Mr. Diamataris underscored that the state will make every possible effort to support Hellenism throughout Australia.