NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand – World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots, held their annual conference earlier this month.
The conference was held in conjunction with the annual conference for the Federation of Cypriot Communities of Australia and New Zealand, and of PASEKA – Justice for Cyprus [ΠΑΝΑΥΣΤΡΑΛΙΑΝΗ ΣΥΝΤΟΝΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΗ ΚΥΠΡΙΑΚΟΥ ΑΓΩΝΑ (ΠΑΣΕΚΑ)].
The conference was a great success for NEPOMAK, as it had the most interstate participants since its founding in 2004 and representatives from 10 Cypriot communities.
The opening ceremony which was held on Friday 31st January, was hosted at the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus, with speeches from Ioannis Ferentinos – Deputy Head of Mission and Head of the Consular Office of the Embassy of Greece, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios – Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia, and Her Excellency Mrs Martha Mavrommati – High Commissioner for the Cyprus to Australia, who also delivered a speech on behalf of Nicos Anastasiades – President of Cyprus.
The youth enjoyed meeting other guests from Cypriot communities and speaking with the dignitaries who were present.
The NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand youth conference was held at the Hellenic Club of Canberra. The youth discussed topics relating to the diaspora such as the flagship programs offered by NEPOMAK globally, local Cypriot youth group achievements, and issues relating to Cyprus.
The 10 communities represented by youth were: Cyprus Community of South Australia (Cyprus Community Youth of South Australia), Cypriot Greek Orthodox Community of Apostolos Andreas (Greek Cypriot Youth of Melbourne – Apostolos Andreas), Cyprus Community of Canberra, Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Cyprus Community of the Northern Territory, Cyprus Hellene Club (Sydney), Cyprus Community of NSW, Cyprus Community of Brisbane (Cypriot Youth of Brisbane), Cypriot Community of WA, and Cyprian Community of Wollongong.
“As a NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand Executive Committee Member, I thoroughly enjoyed this summit and it was one of our most successful summits ever along with last year’s summit in Darwin. We have such a strong and passionate youth community so it was great to all be able to meet in the same place and discuss the issues relevant to us as diaspora Greek Cypriots,” Stephanie Demetrios, Vice President Greek Cypriot Youth of Melbourne – Apostolos Andreas stated.
As part of the NEPOMAK conference, the youth also celebrated their culture by participating in a dancing workshop where they practiced their vraka, zeibekiko and other traditional dances.
On Saturday night, the youth enjoyed a dinner hosted by the Cyprus Community of Canberra, with live music, and a dance performance by the Canberra Hellenic Dancers.
The following day, Her Excellency Mrs Martha Mavrommati, High Commissioner for Cyprus to Australia and Consul Mr Vakis Zissimos, joined the youth for an open discussion, where they spoke openly about different social and political issues concerning Cyprus today, lobbying for the Cyprus issue and more.
Following the completion of the conference, the youth ventured to Sydney visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach.
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