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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 October 2014
10 SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER 2014 AUSTRALIA Melburnian Daniel Tsak- makis won a scholarship to study Greek at the University of Cyprus in July. Born to an Australian-born- Greek father and an Italian- born mother, Tsakmakis has experienced two very rich cultural heritages. Raised in the Greek and Italian influenced suburb of Northcote, he told Neos Kos- mos growing up with Greek and Italian as his first lan- guages meant he wasn't ex- posed to English until he started school. "I started school and had to learn English so I lost my Greek language skills, be- cause I had to focus on Eng- lish. I went to Italy as a boy and went to school there, so I kept Italian and then it wasn't until year 11 and 12 when I was completing VCE Italian that I wanted to pick up VCE Greek again but it wasn't pos- sible." He lived in Italy as a child for close to three years and won a scholarship to study at the University of Milan, which spurred him to go to Cyprus because he wanted to fairly "balance" his ethnicities. "I wanted to better my Greek and show that I was mutual between my languages and cultures. My father's fully Greek, my yiayia and pap- pou are from Thessaloniki, and my Italian grandparents don't really speak English that much, so I wanted to show myself that I was be- tween both and not leaning towards one or the other." He first went to Greece at the start of 2014, with his Italian-speaking cousin, and said going to Athens for the first time was a novel cultural experience. "Three months later I got back and I was told that I won that university schol- arship at the University of Cyprus. My first experience there [Athens], for not even a week, triggered me to want to go back and refine everything that I knew and visit family and re-establish connections growing up." Tsakmakis says NEPOMAK (World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots), which runs the scholarship, offers a youth program that connects people from the Greek diaspora, from places like Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada, and it was an opportunity for students to represent their respective countries. "Essentially we had to rep- resent our own countries. For example, we went to parlia- ment and we spoke about where we were coming from and what we thought about specific European issues." "As well as the study experi- ence I found it really reward- ing. At first it was a bit chal- lenging, obviously, because even the teachers didn't really speak English that much and all the essays and the exams we did were in Greek, so af- ter a while I kind of forgot what reading in English was like, because we were so im- mersed." He hopes that much like his experience, second, third and fourth generation Greeks can explore their culture and lan- guage through similar pro- grams. Accelerated knowledge of Greek Daniel Tsakmakis (L) with friends Raphael and Sakis Papaspyropoulos in Neos Kosmos, Athens. PHOTO SUPPLIED. Daniel Tsakmakis praises opportunity at the University of Cyprus JOHN PYRROS Over 40 young Cypriots from across the world met in Nico- sia from 25 to 27 August, for the 7th General Conference of the NEPOMAK - World Or- ganisation for Young Over- seas Cypriots. This year's conference marked 12 years of continu- ous service by NEPOMAK to young people across the di- aspora, since it was founded in 2002. At the conference, delegates held workshops to discuss the improvement of exist- ing NEPOMAK programs, the establishment of new programs, the latest devel- opments on the Cyprus is- sue and they also developed a network of friends from across the globe. They discussed how to en- rich NEPOMAK's programs designed to promote Cypri- ot history, heritage and the Greek language in the dias- pora, including NEPOMAK's Discover Cyprus Program. Plans were also made to take forward NEPOMAK Profes- sionals - launched after the conference four years ago, it has gone on to become the largest online network of overseas Cypriot profes- sionals. In partnership with CYTA and Cypriot start-ups, devel- opment of a mobile applica- tion was discussed to act as a platform to bring the di- aspora closer to Cyprus and enable the youth of the dias- pora to network. The introduction of two full-fee scholarships for young Cypriots was an- nounced during the three day event - one scholarship at the University of Cyprus for an MBA and the other scholarship will be at the Open University of Cyprus in any discipline. After eight years as pres- ident, Christos Karaolis stepped down and expressed "a personal thank you to all the 150 young Cypriot vol- unteers who form NEPO- MAK's regional, national and global committees". Antonia Savvides of the United Kingdom was elect- ed as a new president. "Today, 15,000 young peo- ple around the world make NEPOMAK and our activi- ties a part of their daily lives. We will continue to expand our network by pro- viding the new generation with the opportunities to engage with our roots, to learn about our history and to express their passion for our homeland." A new Executive Council was elected for the period 2014 to 2016. Australian NEPOMAK president Dem- etri Nicolaou was elected as one of the vice presidents, Abraam Gregoriou as a treas- urer and Kosta Socratous as an organising secretary. For more information visit www.nepomak.org or www.fa- cebook.com/nepomak.aus.nz Young Cypriots from across the world meet in Nicosia NEPOMAK members from around the world gathered in Cyprus for the 7th General Conference. Australia and New Zealand NEPOMAK delegates at the conference with the president of Cyprus. L-R: Matthew Zervides, Demitri Nicolaou, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Michael Christodoulides, Abraam Gregoriou and Kosta Socratous.
18 October 2014
1 November 2014