The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) hosted a Youth forum on Tuesday night, February 11 which was organized by two passionate young Greek-Australians, Dean
Kotsianis and Vasilios Berbatakis.
An intergenerational audience of 100 people, including young, inspiring Greeks from all walks of life, came together to discuss the relevance and the evolving role of Greek youth in the wider community. The key issues discussed at the forum were battling stigmas, ensuring continuity, connecting inter-generationally and creatively enacting change.
Kotsianis opened the summit by acknowledging the positive attendance and representation from most of Melbourne’s Greek groups, including universities and regional, professional and social clubs whose members had come to exchange stories, experiences, and ideas.
While taking part in the event, they confirmed their ongoing commitment to work together and help each other.
“I’ve always been about connecting what I’m doing with something bigger, because surely there’s something more important than me happening in the community with the people around me, and redefining the borders of my project,” Kotsianis said.
Berbatakis added “Greek youth presence is in no shortage in Melbourne, and all we have to do is add a bit of context to what they’re doing, help guide them towards something collective and bigger than themselves, and tie them back in some way, to Greece!”
GCM President Papastergiadis addressed the forum as well, sharing a brief story about how he became involved with the Greek Community of Melbourne group.
“My journey started where you are now, many years ago. I became involved in the Greek Club at Monash University and one of the things I wanted to do was to broaden our relationship with the community we live in.
“It was important to me that we examine our identity in this country; hence we started a series of events to challenge stereotypes, including poetry and theater nights.
“Importantly, we initiated a journal called ‘Mosaic’ that chronicled the story of young Greek Australians. It was a groundbreaking journal that was made available to all students in Victoria,” Papastergiadis concluded.