MELBOURNE | The 61st National Convention of AHEPA AUSTRALASIA held in Melbourne from the 9th to the 12th October 2015 decided to hold an Annual YOUTH CONVENTION specifically for younger members.
The Youth Convention is to be held every January in different cities in order to give the opportunity for more young students to participate from around Australia. The inaugural Youth Convention will be held in January 2016 in Brisbane and is to be organised by the Youth Chapters of Achilleas in Victoria and Thoron in Queensland.
The Youth Convention is a very important step forward and is aimed at the intergenerational progression of the Association with the Youth of AHEPA being more involved in the future. “AHEPA YOUTH is about promoting Leadership qualities, Fundraising and Networking amongst Greek Youth.” said Jiannis Tsaousis, past president of Achilleas, who proposed the Annual Youth Conventions.
AHEPA has been fortunate in achieving important intergenerational rejuvenation in recent years with the establishment of Chapter Achilleas and Kleio in Melbourne and Thoron and Pythagoras in Brisbane. The younger members of AHEPA were very much involved and showed great interest and enthusiasm in the important discussion and decisions in the 61st National Convention which was held in Melbourne at the New Greek Community Cultural Centre in Lonsdale st. Melbourne which involved delegates from all over Australia.
The Convention also decided on the major restructure of the Organisation in order to unify AHEPA by establishing one representative body of the STATE COUNCIL as the highest executive body of the Association in each State and Territory. The State Council will consist of both male and female members of the organisation.
The Official Opening of the Convention was held on Friday 9th October at the Greek Community Centre in the presence of many distinguished dignitaries, including The Hon Maria Vambakinou, federal member for Caldwell, the president of the Greek Community of Melbourne Mr Bill Papastergiadis and Father Kosmas Damianidis representing His Eminence the Archbishop Stylianos and Bishop Izakeil. The Delegates and guests were welcomed by the National President Mrs Christine Lynch OAM, who officially opened the Convention.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the AHEPA Humanitarian Award to Mr. Kon Karapanagiotidis, CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, for his meritorious services to the asylum seeker community. Mr Karapanagiotidis spoke with great passion about his work and his dedication to our Hellenic ideals of Philanthropy and “philoxenia.”
During the Convention the delegates elected Steve (Stavros) Liassi from Queensland as the new National President and Panagiotis Yiannoudes from Melbourne as the new National Vice President, along with a team of 17 members of the National Lodge of AHEPA Australasia. The new National President invited all delegates to have the next 62nd Convention 2016 in his home town of Brisbane.
The Convention also presented well deserved Awards such as the AHEPAN OF THE YEAR to Sis Bessy Mougos, the inaugural Daughters of Penelope Achievement Award to Sis Tasia Manos for her services to the female arm of AHEPA and the two shields for increased Membership to Chapter ATHENA of the Daughters of Penelope. The installation of the President of the younger Chapter Kleio, Sis Natalie Livaditis, was also held on the installation evening.
The Convention discussed and endorsed Resolutions concerning the important National Hellenic Issues such as the Macedonian, Cyprus, Pontian and Asia Minor Genocides, Theological College of Halkis and the Restoration of the Parthenon Marble and national Projects to aid the Community.
As part of the largest Hellenic Association in the world, AHEPA AUSTRALASIA continues to promote their important Cultural, Charitable, Educational and Social objectives and through hard work have achieved many goals and gained much recognition in the 81 years since inception in 1934.
Once again AHEPA members have excelled in their Philanthropic work with large donations totaling over $122,000 made to various Charitable institutions including for Medical research, Children with special needs aged care and welfare, Sierra Leone Ebola virus epidemic, Schools and University awards and of course our Greek Orthodox churches. AHEPA VICTORIA donated $25,000 towards the New Greek Community cultural centre building and is very proud of its AHEPA GREEK SCHOOL in Ivanhoe with over 130 students learning the Hellenic language and culture.