The University of Sydney Modern Greek Department in conjunction with the Modern Greek Studies Foundation and Sydney University Greek Society held their Inaugural Meeting in Support of Modern Greek Studies mid- December last year.
In attendance on the night was His Excellency Dr Stavros Kyrimis the Greek Consul-General in Sydney and various other dignitaries, alumni of the Modern Greek Department, members of the Greek-Australian community, students who have taken Modern Greek classes, members of Greek community associations, and those who wish to see the Modern Greek language continue to be taught at the Univeristy of Sydney for many years to come.
The Inaugural Meeting was opened with live music by students Ericsson Chan, Maria Fedotov, Nickalai DjaMirze Fedotov, Panagiotis Karamanos, Nicholas Kennedy, Candela Tennent Serra, Hamish Spicer, Adrian Whitehall and Noam Yaffe from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The night also featured a Greek Dancing showcase from students including myself, Sophia Komarkowski, Manoli Luxford and John Melas and a musical performance from Christina Bachiella, John Coombs, Elisabeth Coroneo, Athanasia Costa, Eleni Elefterias-Kostakidi and Sotiris Prokopoiou.
Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Chair of the Modern Greek Department at the University of Sydney spoke about supporting the Modern Greek Studies Foundation “so that in a few years the department will be self sufficient in its funds to continue its mission…with the necessity made some years ago to establish a foundation external to the University so that we will be able to continue our efforts.” He further added “we need foundations like this, which will attract funds to be able to talk to our natural allies within the school of languages and cultures within the university, and about what happens and what initiatives we have to undertake in order to grow again… we want your help on this… the department through its foundations needs financial support so that it will continue to exist and successfully operate within one of the most prestigious and oldest universities in Australia. We all understand the necessity of having an advocate for our cultural language and history at the highest level of Australian tertiary education… the Greek Australian community will be without and I say it with a hand on my heart, its intellectual and cultural literacy if the department seizes to exist.”
The Inaugural Meeting was also a farewell tribute to Dr Panayota Nazou, who retired after 40 years of teaching the Greek language and culture, Greek film and sociolinguistics studies in the Greek diaspora. She has been honoured with the awards for “Excellence in Teaching,” by the Modern Greek Teachers Association in NSW, 2004, and for “The Promotion of Modern Greek Studies Abroad,” by the Centre of Intercultural Education, University of Patras, Greece, 2005.
Head of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney Professor Yixu Lu, expressed that Dr Panayota Nazou, “Kyria Panayota,” as her students (like myself) call her has been one of the “longest serving Academics at this University and the longest serving member of the Modern Greek Studies Department. She is a valuable member of the Department and the Greek Australian Community at large… She has nourished generations of students, teachers and academics with her dedication and commitment…and she has contributed substantially to the cultivation, promotion and enrichment of Greek Culture in Australia. Her work laid the foundations for the whole teaching program of the department which you will expect with the assistance of the Greek community to continue for many years to come.”
The future of Sydney Univeristy’s Modern Greek Department is dependent on the support of the Greek-Australian community. If you would like to donate, to help to ensure the longevity and continued growth of the Modern Greek Department at the University of Sydney, please email: [email protected]
*Photographs taken by Yanni Luxford