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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 December 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2015 9 NEWS GOCMV offering new summer course on Hellenism Transterritorial Hellenism is the next course being offered this summer at the Greek Community of Melbourne's Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture. Run in association with the School of Languages and Linguistics of La Trobe University, the course will explore issues in the modern construction of ethno national, civic, multiple and other identities. The concept of Hellenism specifically is said to have evolved through various parts of the modern world, including Istanbul, Izmir, Thessaloniki, London, Nicosia, New York, and Melbourne. The course will also explore the life of Greeks under Ottoman rule, and as students and scholars, victims of genocide, political exiles, guest workers, Europeans, and citizens of multi-cultural states, while also dissecting the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church, Greek irredentism, political conflict and modernisation on the formation of Greek identity. Set to be an interesting six weeks, Transterrirtorial Hellenism will involve six hours of classes per week and is open to all. Transterritorial Hellenism commences on 12 January, 2016 and ends 11 February, 2016 at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC. For more information, contact Dimitris Gonis via email firstname.lastname@example.org New goals for the Greek diaspora In its inaugural meeting, the Hellenic parliament’s Committee for the Greek Diaspora set its list of priorities Greeks abroad". The importance of human capital as a factor in Greece's plan to exit the ongoing crisis was stressed by Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Amanatidis in the inaugural meeting of the Hellenic Parliament's Committee for the Greek Diaspora. PHOTO: GOCMV. In his address to the members of the Committee, Mr Amanatidis set out a framework of actions that the Committee and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad (GGAE) should take, in order to further enhance the strong relationship of the Greek diaspora with the motherland. "We work on a legislative initiative for the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), seeking the greatest possible consensus, with democratic selforganisation of the institution, and the strengthening of its status and effectiveness," he said, while promising to introduce "reforms and structural changes to modernise the whole public administration in order to facilitate everyday life for Prominent among this set of reforms is the creation of an electronic system interconnecting all Greek embassies and consulates around the world with the Ministry of Interior - a change that would enable expatriates to issue any kind of certificate in their country of residence. Equally important is the planned digitisation of the GGAE archives, which would thus become accessible online for researchers wishing to locate any official document related to the Greek diaspora. But the most ambitious initiative is the establishment of May 20 as an international ‘Greek-speaking Day’, aimed at promoting the learning of Greek language and the diffusion of Greek culture. The date was picked to coincide with the alleged birthday of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. An official presidential decree, signed by Prokopis Pavlopoulos, will be the first step, before the issue is referred to the UN and UNESCO. "It is therefore clear that we aim not only to strengthen the links of the metropolitan centre with the Greek diaspora, but primarily the interaction of the Greeks inside and outside the borders of motherland to a new foundation - functional, modern and effective," he said. THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR GREEKS ABROAD The committee's priorities were set out by its chairman, Mr Alexandros Triantafyllidis, who stressed the need for a national strategy for the Greeks abroad "in a spirit of mutual understanding, consultation and consensus, based on the principles of democracy, humanism and culture". The aim to attract investments by expatriate Greek entrepreneurs has taken centre stage recently and features hight in the priorities set by Mr Triantafillidis, as a way to address the ongoing financial crisis. Among the committee's main goals is to create an extensive record of diaspora Hellenism, gathering information by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Hellenic Statistical Autority; the continuation of pro- grams for the preservation of the Greek cultural identity within Greek communities abroad; to assist intercultural education institutions; to further cooperate with the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association; to promote the teaching of the Greek language, through the relevant departments of universities and institutes around in Greece and abroad; to put to use Citizen Service Centres for Greeks abroad, in order to tackle bureaucracy and mismanagement; to support the national broadcaster's satellite channels (ERTSAT, ERT3, Voice of Greece) and develop synergies with the Greek media abroad. As for the recent wave of emigration of educated young Greeks due to the economic crisis, it presents new challenges for the committee, which needs to develop policies to cater for their needs. However, there's still no sign of a resolution to other long-outstanding demands of the expatriate communities, such as the pension and insurance issue and the right to vote in the general elections; the latter should be discussed thoroughly by the permanent committee in a special session, according to Mr Triantafillidis. New law allows the government to act on dual citizens suspected of terrorism One of the most controversial bills introduced by the government became a federal law on Thursday, as it passed both houses of parliament, backed by the opposition. The ‘Allegiance to Australia’ bill, as it was named by the Abbott government, amends the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to provide explicit powers for the cessation of Australian citizenship in specified circumstances where a dual citizen engages in terrorism-related conduct. Under the amendments, Australian citizenship could be stripped from a dual national convicted of a terrorism offence in Australia, who could also be sentenced to a minimum of six years' imprison- ment. But it would also apply to dual citizens overseas who engage in terrorist conduct or fight with an enemy army. The laws are intended to prevent Australians with dual citizenship who go abroad to join, support or train with extremist groups like Islamic State from returning to the country. About 100 Australians are believed to be fighting alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria at the moment, according to Australian intelligence agencies. The new laws can be applied to Australians overseas who help raise money or recruit and train new members for extremist groups, as well as those who engage in violence directly. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection would decide whose citizenship to revoke, based on advice from intelligence agencies. It is already preventing people from flying out of Australia if the government suspects they are on their way to join extremists in Iraq or Syria, Minister Peter Dutton told parliament, stating that 199 people had already been stopped since July. After a period of intense debate, the bills became law on Thursday with a final reading in the Senate, with the support of the ALP, among criticism from the Green Party and concerns expressed by a string of crossbench senators. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon addressed the parliament and said taking away the Australian citizenship from the terror suspects with dual citizenship will be like poking them to plan and plot against the nation. "Do we just give up, revoke their citizenship and then let them free range with their sick, twisted minds to do damage to Australians and to other innocents abroad?" he asked. "Isn't it better to be involved in counter-terrorism actions, international investigations, arrests, convictions and imprisonment?" Apart from advocating the government to focus on counter-terrorism, Senator Xenophon pointed out that the Senator Nick Xenophon changes were inconsistent with an earlier national security bill, which aimed to prevent Australians travelling overseas as foreign fighters. "The government said we shouldn't let people go overseas to fight, to be involved in terrorist attacks and we should keep them here, but this bill is saying if you're overseas, we don't want you back in the country," he said. "There seems to be an unusual dichotomy there, an uneasy dichotomy between the two."
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