The Board of the Greek Community of Melbourne Meets with President of the Greek Community of Tashkent

In a collaborative effort initiated by the Greek Community of NSW and Dr. Helen Vatsikopoulos, Mr. Kostas Politis, President of the Greek Community of Tashkent, visited Sydney and Melbourne. During his Melbourne visit, he engaged with the Board of Directors of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), discussing mutual initiatives and future collaborations.

In a collaborative effort initiated by the Greek Community of NSW and Dr. Helen Vatsikopoulos, a Professional Industry Fellow in Journalism and Writing at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Mr. Kostas Politis visited Sydney and Melbourne.

During his brief trip to Melbourne, he held a seminar and met with the Board of Directors of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM). Key members in attendance included President Bill Papastergiadis OAM, Vice Presidents Michael Karamitos, Dr. Jim Bossinakis, Dr. Nick Dallas, Secretary Nick Koukouvitakis, and Assistant Secretary Vicky Kyritsis.

GCM President Bill Papastergiadis OAM expressed the organization's support for Mr. Politis's initiatives, stating, "The GCM is willing to assist Mr. Politis in his efforts and will be considering bringing the photographic exhibition to Melbourne."

Education convenor Dr. Nick Dallas added, "I’m sure the Community of Tashkent can leverage some of the experience we have in educational and cultural programming."

Mr. Politis outlined his vision for the Tashkent Community, noting the need for a robust Greek language program, "Although the Tashkent Community has made great strides in the performing arts, there are very few people who speak Greek. Creating a robust Greek language program in the near future is a key priority."

Discussing his long-term goals, Mr. Politis emphasized the importance of mentoring the next generation, "At some stage down the track, the reins must be passed on to younger generations living here. I’m trying to mentor a team of young locals by giving them more responsibilities and assigning them ownership of projects so that they acquire experience. The absence of the Greek state in Tashkent is a problem, and everything takes longer when it comes to dealing with Greece, especially visas. We’re expecting a new embassy and ambassador to be in place by the end of the year. Hopefully, one day we can also receive seconded teachers; it will make a big difference in reviving the language."

During his visit to Melbourne, Mr. Politis also toured Alphington Grammar School, Evangelismos Church, and the GCM’s advanced language campus in Bentleigh. Reflecting on his first impressions, he remarked, "The size of the community, its vast infrastructure, and its multi-level activity in various fields are truly impressive. The dedication and quality of those employed in delivering various programs are to be commended. I was really impressed by the educational facilities and teaching staff."

About Kostas Politis

Born in Thessaloniki, Kostas Politis is an architect, restorer, and museologist. Twenty years ago, he arrived in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, for a short assignment, which extended due to continuous work opportunities. Although initially distant from the local Greek Community, he was invited four years ago to help revitalize it. The Greek Community in Uzbekistan, now around one thousand strong, consists mainly of descendants of political refugees from the Greek Civil War. The community once numbered 40,000, but repatriation efforts accelerated following political changes in Greece and the fall of the Soviet Union. Many who stayed lacked the means or connections to return to Greece.

Through his role as president of the Greek Cultural Centre, Kostas Politis has rejuvenated the Community’s facilities and cultural programs, revitalizing the Greek presence in Tashkent. His work underscores that, with the right leadership and collaboration, declining Greek communities in the diaspora can experience a resurgence.

The Greek Community of Tashkent serves as an inspiring example of how fortunes can be reversed through dedication and innovation.

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