ECCV's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Victoria

Peter Doukas, Con Pagonis, Rita Theophanous, George Lekakis, Eddie Micallef, Mike Zafiropoulos, Voula Messimeri, ECCV CEO Mo Elrafihi, Bill Papastergiadis, Victoria Kyriakopoulos, Theo Theophanous and George Papadopoulos

On June 3rd, the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) hosted a momentous event marking its 50th anniversary at Parliament House. Over 130 esteemed guests convened in the grand Queen’s Hall to honour and reflect upon ECCV’s remarkable journey as Victoria’s premier advocate for migrants and refugees.

Distinguished speakers, including Minister for Multicultural Affairs Ingrid Stitt MP, Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs John Pesutto MP, Greens Spokesperson for Multiculturalism Samantha Ratnam MP, and First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria Co-chairperson Rueben Berg, graced the occasion with their inspiring words.

A poignant highlight of the evening was a speech by ECCV co-founder George Papadopoulos, who expressed his profound pride in witnessing the organization not only endure but thrive in its mission to champion the rights and interests of Victoria’s diverse communities.

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ECCV Co-founder George Papadopoulos and wife Melody

ECCV Chairperson Eddie Micallef paid homage to the indomitable spirit of community leaders whose relentless advocacy laid the foundation for ECCV and the multicultural sector as a whole.

CEO Mo Elrafihi echoed these sentiments, acknowledging the monumental contributions of those who came before him and emphasizing ECCV’s role in shaping Victoria’s vibrant multicultural landscape. He underscored the significance of Rueben Berg’s presence and ECCV’s commitment to fostering collaboration between multicultural and First Nations communities.

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 ECCV Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communication, Victoria Kyriakopoulos. George Papadopoulos, ECCV Chair, ECCNSW Chair Peter Doukas, and Voula Messimeri

Minister Stitt commended ECCV’s pivotal role in promoting harmony and social cohesion across the state, lauding its 50-year legacy of resilience and advocacy.

In a stirring address, Rueben Berg emphasized the shared experiences and aspirations of First Nations and multicultural communities, urging Victorians to unite in creating an inclusive society where every culture is celebrated.

Samantha Ratnam praised ECCV’s tireless efforts in promoting cross-cultural understanding and collective empowerment, acknowledging its profound impact on Victoria’s multicultural fabric.

John Pesutto hailed ECCV as a cornerstone of Victoria’s multicultural success story, recognizing its instrumental role in fostering diversity and inclusivity.

Though unable to attend, ECCV patron, The Hon. Steve Bracks AC, conveyed his pride in championing landmark reforms during his tenure as Premier, including the first Multicultural Act for Victoria, in a heartfelt video message to guests.

The event, masterfully orchestrated by MC Voula Messimeri AM, a steadfast supporter of ECCV, was attended by esteemed guests, including leaders from the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia and various state ethnic councils, parliamentarians, and dignitaries.

Highlighting the Greek Influence

In addition to the gathering of esteemed guests, it's noteworthy to mention the significant Greek presence at ECCV's 50th Anniversary celebration held at Parliament House on Monday, June 3rd. A particularly memorable moment of the evening was the address delivered by special guest and ECCV co-founder George Papadopoulos AM. Serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Voula Messimeri AM, a respected figure with deep ties to ECCV.

George Papadopoulos, a prominent figure in multicultural policy development, co-founded ECCV and played a pivotal role in shaping Australia's multicultural landscape. As a lawyer and advocate for social welfare, he co-founded the Australian Greek Welfare Society and has been actively involved in various ethnic institutions. His contributions have been recognized through numerous accolades, including his appointment as Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Voula Messimeri, with her extensive experience as the CEO of one of ECCV's founding member organizations, the Australian Greek Welfare Organisation (now PRONIA), has been a steadfast supporter of ECCV for over 27 years. Her dedication to promoting multiculturalism has been further acknowledged through her Life Membership conferred last year.

Among the distinguished guests in attendance were ECCNSW Chair Peter Doukas, former VMC and ECCV Chair George Lekakis, Greek Community president Bill Papastergiadis AM, Mike Zafiropoulos, Theo Theophanous, and Lee Tarlamis MP.

Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria

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