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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 June 2018
NEWS 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Natalie Kyriacou OAM named finalist in UN Environment Just after receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia, the 30-year-old environmentalist is continuing on her mission to bring about positive global change, and is now on the radar of the United Nations ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Natalie Kyriacou OAM has had to quickly become accustomed to seeing her name in print. The 30-year-old environmentalist has been named a finalist in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Young Champion of the Earth. The global initiative sets out to celebrate and support the hard work of young people aged between 18 and 30 who show real potential in creating positive change, and Kyriacou certainly fits the bill. Over the past decade, the Melbourne-based founder and CEO of My Green World and creator of mobile game app World of the Wild, has set her sights on driving global change by creating inclusive education programs and technologies to increase young people's access to wildlife and environmental conservation and sciences. "This is really exciting," Kyriacou told Neos Kosmos. "This program's quite amazing. The other finalists are so impressive, and I'm thrilled to be standing next to them on this." One of the most exciting 2018, and it's already proving to be a pivotal year in her career. In April, the Cypriot Australian was named an honouree on Forbes' 30 Under 30 Asia Social Entrepreneur list, and just this month was the recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia. "It's been really overwhelming and a little bit of a roller coaster … It sounds awful," she laughs. "But it's been so challenging emotionally, because this isn't what I expected, or was working towards. But it is exciting and it's been really nice to know that people are following and supporting my work," Kyriacou says. While the attention has been on her, her eye rarely sways from the bigger picture. "I don't think that it should Natalie Kyriacou working with orangutans. PHOTO: SUPPLIED opportunities the UN program offers candidates is a combination of tailored mentorship, intensive training and funding. Kyriacou is one of 35 shortlisted regional finalists who are currently subject to an online public vote, open until 25 June. The 14 finalists with the highest number of votes will then be judged by a global jury, who will select the final seven winners; one from each region, with the exception of two in the Asia-Pacific. For Kyriacou, the win would go a long way. Aside from the mentorship benefits and professional development, which she is already get- ting a taste of, the $15,000 prize would mean realising her Kids' Corner dream – an inclusive digital classroom inspiring children to participate in wildlife environmental and conservation through games and programs, made accessible for all. "We want to embed Kids' Corner in hospitals. So that John Patsikatheodorou His activism and involvement and compassion for the community touched so many lives MARIA VAMVAKINOU, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CALWELL John Patsikatheodorou, community activist and pioneer of many multicultural services, left us suddenly, aged 66, on 4 June 2018. Born on 10 May 1952 in Livadi, Elassona in Greece, John boasted that he came from the land of the gods, Mount Olympus, and with theodorou in his surname meaning God's gift, that he was here for a higher purpose. John arrived in Australia in 1963, and nine years later, completed his Higher School Certificate at Melbourne Boys' High. He had a passion for maths and science so enrolled in biological sciences at La Trobe University, where he became active in student and multicultural issues. He engaged with the Greek Students and Graduates Association, resulting in the estab- lishment of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, radio station 3ZZZ, the Australian Greek Welfare Society, and the Australian Greek Aged Care Society. He found his calling when Cyclone Tracey struck during Christmas 1974. He was employed as a bilingual welfare worker with the Department of Social Security assisting with the resettlement of Greeks from Darwin in 1975 and 1976. He felt resettling the displaced Greek community was more important than going to university. His parents never found out that he had dropped out, and when they asked him why he didn't have a graduation photo, he made up some story. For the rest of his life, his activism and compassion touched many lives. John worked as a student/parent welfare support worker at the Richmond Community Education Centre from 1976 to 1978, and for the City of Northcote in the Town Clerk's department 1978 to 1982, where he was once pulled up for speaking in Greek with a colleague. He became a member of the ALP in 1974, and the Australian Chapter of Passok (Pan Hellenic Socialist Movement of Greece). He was employed as an electorate officer from 1983 to 1985 with Brian Howe, the then member for Batman and later, deputy prime minister. He left Brian's employment because he said he couldn't work for an MP who advocated for uranium mining. Between 1985 and 2003, John served as director of two Migrant Resource Centres - Broadmeadows and Inner Western Region (Footscray) - and in 1991 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Victoria. He helped form a number of community organisations and has served on various boards, including Western Health Care, Western English Language Centre, National MRC Association, Broadmeadows Employment Projects, Ministerial Advisory Council on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Human Services, Moonee Valley/Maribyrnong Local Learning and Employment Network, Footscray Legal Centre, 98.9 North West FM, Regional Ethnic Aged Services Network, Employment Initiatives – Community Jobs Programs, Drug Education – Illicit Drug Strategy City of Maribyrnong, Education and Training Unit, Partnership with VU – Undertaking Ageing Well research – Vietnamese and Italian communities, Settlement Advisory Council, Regional Consumer Council, Broadmeadows Multicultural Early Learning Centre, Greek Community of Broadmeadows and Districts, Brite Services, Terminate Tullamarine Toxic Dump Action Group, and Gladstone Park Community Centre. Even this extensive list is not exhaustive. We will never know the full extent of his involvement as he was an unpretentious person who did what needed to be done to make people's lives better without thinking of the impacts to himself or his family. John was a happy man, re- nowned for his cheeky sense of humour, and his passion for Greek music and dancing. When his wife Helen became the mayor of Hume City Council (twice), he was happy to be referred to as 'the lady mayoress' and gladly attended all events with her. He also called himself 'the bag man', as he carried Helen's bag while she performed her official duties. John is survived by the love of his life and soulmate, Helen, three sons, who he loved deeply; Dimitri, Stratos and Nikolas, and soon-to-be daughterin-law Dimitra. The world is a sadder place with the loss of this wonderful person. Our local community has lost a stalwart, and the Labor family has lost a cherished comrade. would require upgrades in our technology, more research and development," she explains. "But it would also publicly give a lot more recognition to Kids' Corner as a platform being aligned with the UNEP, which would do wonders for our program." We're halfway through ever be an objective or an aim to receive an award or anything like that, but if it does come along on the way of your work then it's great to embrace it and hopefully it furthers the impact that you can have." To cast your vote in the United Nations Environment Program Young Champion of the Earth, visit http://web.unep. org/youngchampions/2018/ bio/asia-pacific OBITUARY John Patsikatheodorou was born on 10 May 1952 in Livadi, Elassona, Greece.
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