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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 04 May 2019
EDUCATION 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Seminar to explore Greek language’s past, present and future in Australia Technology has made it easier to keep the connection alive even after the visit. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED Lemnos - Dandenong sister schools A very successful Skype session between the Moudros Junior High School Lemnos and the Greek Orthodox Community of Dandenong and District Greek School was the most recent development in a sister-school relationship established last November as part of the celebrations of the Centenary of the Armistice of Moudros. The project, which brings together students in Greece and Australia, was solidified in March 2018, when 22 visiting students from Greece and their Principal attended a liturgy at the St Panteleimon Church in Dandenong. However, the groundwork for the project had been prepared much earlier. It was almost five years ago when Christina Despoteris initiated an e-twinning relationship between Alphington Grammar School in Melbourne and the 1st Junior High School in Voula Athens via the program 'Voula/Melbourne – Building Bridges across Continents'. "The project is based on a computer program whereby the students write text, make videos, and upload them and generally communicate by computer," Ms Despoteris had told Neos Kosmos. Last October, the students and their teachers Skyped several times and discussed how they could use this connection to the benefit of both schools. Aside from practising their Greek and English, respectively, the students held each other's flags and connected with folk and traditional dances - a fun way to focus on cultural history. "A very sentimental moment last year, was when the students from Australia surprised their Greek fellows with the Greek National Anthem," Ms Despoteris said. "It was very touching, especially when both parties started signing it together. It was beautiful." Ms Despoteris went on to say that it had been a pleasure to assist the students' visit to Melbourne last year, and would love to further encourage the e-twining of the schools. "Our Committee is also working on the recent Victorian Government grant for educational aids for Moudros. We hope to build on these links, create more connections and make them stronger," she said stressing the historical importance of the initiative." Maria Papapanagiotou, the Principal of Moudros' Junior High School, Lemnos, said the schools communicate at regular intervals. "Here in Greece we are moved to the struggle of Greek Australian children and elders to maintain their Greekness, the customs and the customs of the homeland, to maintain contact with Greece," she said. "On their part, they feel excited to meet foreigners, hear the stories of the elders, and love the contact with the country of their grandparents, the Greek language, the colours of Greek nature, the Lemnian earth." The e-twinning relationship is of benefit for both schools and will only serve to solidify the relations between Greece and Australia. As part of the 'Speak Greek in March… And Not Only' Campaign, a seminar is being hosted in Melbourne this month to explore the Greek language in Australia. Featuring an impressive line-up of speakers from varying sectors, the aim of the seminar is to examine the current reality of Greek language use in the diaspora with regards to the problems and challenges being faced. Aside from past and present, it will also look at future activities, innovations and ideas from educators, organisations and individuals who are interested in promoting and retaining the language. Emphasis will also be placed on identifying solutions to these challenges, and exploring ways on how to improve matters, as well as investigating ways to keep the Greek alive in Australia. Convener of the Campaign and member of the seminar's Organising Committee, Mike Zafiropoulos AM will open the six-part event with an introduction. The first session, will be presented by Professor Vrasidas Karalis from the University of Sydney's Department of Modern Greek, who will comment on the current state of affairs, trends, experiences and perspectives of countries like Australia in the Greek diaspora. The second session will be chaired by Dr Thanasis Spilias, tackling the role of Greek language schools and other educational organisations, support of Australian and Greek governments, challenges, suggestions for improvements, innovation, cooperation, coordination, and experiences of other language communities. Taking part will be La Trobe Uni- Tight communities ... children wave Greek and Australian flags in Sydney. versity Research Associate, Dr Chris Fifis; Greek Consul for Education, Australia and New Zealand Dr Georgia Nikolaidou; Chair of Community Languages Australia, Tasos Douvartzides; Chair of the Association of Greek Language and Culture Schools, Iakovos Garivaldis OAM; Principal of the Greek Community Schools, Manos Tzimpragos; and Principal of Nestoras College, John Kostarakis. The third session will explore experiences of individuals, such as descendants of mixed marriages, non-Greeks who speak Greek, students of the Greek language who are recipients of scholarships and awards, as well as the role of parents and grandparents. Taking part will be President of the Greek Australian Cultural League, Cathy Alexopoulos OAM; second generation mother and Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Vice President, Tammy Iliou; 18-year-old app producer, Fotios Tsiouklas; mixed marriage descendant mother, Vasso Zangali; non-Greek background student of Greek, Katrina Zika; grandfather Gri- gorios Bairamis; and grandmother Ioanna Liakakou. The fourth session will bring attention to experiences of Greek community media, and its contribution to the retention and promotion of the Greek language. General Secretary of the Hellenic Interparliamentary Association and former Victorian Government Minister, John Pandazopoulos will chair the discussion, featuring Neos Kosmos' own editor-in-chief, Sotiris Hatzimanolis; general manager of 3XY and Ta Nea, Ross Alatzas; and executive producer of SBS Radio Greek Program, Themis Kallos. Kyriakos Amanatidis OAM will chair the fifth session, which will delve into the experiences of day schools, Greek language in the curriculum, along with their contribution to the retention and promotion of the Greek language. Taking part will be Principal of Alphington Grammar Dr Vivianne Nikou; Head of Junior School St John's College, Agatha Anamourlis; and head of LOTE at Oakleigh Grammar, Kiki Kousourakis. The final session will bring the focus to the future, looking into perspectives, funding, the role of providers and community organisations. They will also discuss the possibility of creating a Hellenic Language Foundation, cooperation with other language minorities, and pertinent proposals for strengthening the language. It will be chaired by La Trobe University lecturer Dr Dimitrios Gonis with participating speakers Dean Kalimniou, a lawyer, journalist, and poet; La Trobe University's Greek Studies Program coordinator, Dr Stephie Nikoloudis; La Trobe University Research Associate, Dr Maria Herodotou; GCM Education Committee member, Dr Nick Dallas; and Director, Master of FinTech at Swinburne University, Dr Dimitrios Salambasis. Sponsored by Nick Andrianakos and the Bank of Sydney, the Seminar will be telecast and webcast by Channel 31. The seminar will take place on Sunday 26 May at the Greek Centre (168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne) at 2.00 pm. Free to attend. To register, visit https://bit.ly/2PfvXn9 New free language-learning app As part of the 'Speak Greek in March … and not only' campaign, organisers have announced a new initiative – an app that helps children learn Greek in a fun and interactive way. Metropolis, developed by 18-year-old entrepreneur Fotios Tsiouklas, is a game aimed at a diverse age group, with the purpose of entertaining and at the same time contributing to the learning of the Greek language. "We recognise that the traditional methods of teaching our mother tongue to future generations, need to be sup- plemented by other strategies, more friendly and more accessible to today's children, who with the recent technological advances have become inseparable from their smart telephones and other such devices," said organisers of the campaign. Tsiouklas together with a number of volunteers, including Cr Mike Zafiropoulos AM and Hary Kouthouridis, undertook research for the game, prepared the content, produced the studio recordings and tested the application for errors. Advice and support were also sought and enthu- siastically extended pro bono by several experts. The voices in the game belong to two young Greek language students, Nefeli Kouthouridis, 10, and George Sempelidis, 14. "The 'Speak Greek in March … and not only' campaign is grateful for the generous offer by Fotios Tsiouklas and the other contributors to make the full version of the game freely available as a gift to the children of Greek background in the Hellenic diaspora, but also to other people who are interested to learn the Greek language," said organisers. Free to access, they are urging teachers, parents, grandparents, students and community organisations who care about retaining Greek in Australia to play their part in encouraging the downloading and frequent use of the app. "We would welcome feedback from any users, as only through review and evaluation we will be able to make improvements and correct any errors, but also produce new improved apps." Metropolis is available for download for Android, Apple and Microsoft systems, and is free of charge.
27 April 2019
11 May 2019