The current president, Bill Papastergiadis, remains unchallenged, as the members show trust in the board’s vision to further open up to the broader community.
The Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria is going to elections to appoint its new board; the process will take place on Sunday 17 Januarry, from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm at Alphington Grammar School (Old Heildeberg Rd, Alphington).
For a while, it seemed that the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria wouldn’t have to go to elections, as the number of candidates matched the number of board members. However, a 20th candidate came forward, setting forth the course of action provided in the organisation’s statute.
The candidates are: Jim Bossinakis, Alexis Costa, Nick Dallas, Angela Georgalis, Tammy Iliou, Voula Kalliani, Michalis Karamitos, George Koletsis, Nicholaos Koukouvitakis, Costas Markos, Theo Markos, Spiros Papadopoulos, Bill Papastergiadis, Nick Parthimos, Marinis Pirpiris, Christos Sikavitsas, Konstantinos Tsakoumis, Phillip Vassiliadis, Leonidas Vlahakis, and Vassiliki Zangalis.
All but five are current board members – among them president Bill Papastergiadis, who points to the presence of two women among the four new candidates as something that reflects the current board’s willingness to further open up to women within the Greek Australian community.
Another step forward is the cooperation with The National Union of Greek Australian Students Victoria (NUGAS); according to the group, each new membership to NUGAS will include a membership to the GOCMV, in what is a plan to ensure the Community’s constant infiltration with young people, who can play an important role in its rejuvenation.
UNIFIED UNDER A COMMON GOAL
Given that there is no “opposition party”, it would appear that Bill Papastergiadis’ presidency is unchallenged and that he enjoys the trust of the members of the Community. He seems to agree.
“One of the hallmarks achieved by the current board is that we are unified,” he tells Neos Kosmos. “There have been no internal rivalries; instead, we remain focused on the project that we have undertaken.
“I’ve been surrounded by talented people from a broad political spectrum; we have people from the far left to the right, working together.”
As any older member of the Community can testify, this hasn’t always been the case. Up until six years ago, it was torn into shreds in four or five different divisions, competing with each other. This is now a thing of the past and it seems that the community is satisfied with this sort of stability.
“Even people who were historically in opposition are now supporting us and have been working with us, often in various roles in the Community’s committees,” confirms Mr Papastergiadis, hoping that this will continue in the future.
“The next three years are going to be very important for the Community. We have the issue of our debt to tackle, we have a cultural and education program under way, and our ultimate goal to open up to the broader community,” he says.
“This has been pursued through joint ventures with some of the major festivals of Melbourne, such as the Jazz Festival, the Comedy Festival (45 of its shows were held at the Greek Culture Centre) and the Melbourne International Festival. Our main priority, for the near future, is to focus on the greater engagement of all the Greek organisations, as most of them are at a crossroad; some are heading toward extinction and most struggle to remain relevant. We feel that it is important that they are represented by the GOCMV.”