On Tuesday the 11th of February, the Greek Community Building in Melbourne’s CBD hosted the inaugural Greek Youth Summit.
The Summit was arranged by Dean Kotsianis, and the Cretan Brotherhood Youth President Vasilios Berbatakis.
The program consisted of guest speakers, an interactive panel and themed discussion sessions to guide conversation amongst the 100 attendees.
Guest speakers included GOMV President Bill Papastergiadis and Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chair Fotini Kypraios.
The panel consisted of Chris Karkanis, Olympia Thea, Tass Sgardelis and John Leventis of the Cretan Brotherhood.
“To see Greeks who care for our progression all unite is something very powerful and it left me speechless when I saw everyone connecting.” Explained Vasilios, who was happy with the Summit and also identified areas of improvement.
“We have received a lot of feedback both positively, negatively and areas where we can try new things. We will include an online link that guests can send their questions and opinions too next time as we realise a lot of people are nervous so we need to be able to make the Youth Summit platform one where they feel comfortable to participate in.”
Vasilios also commented on the role the Cretan Brotherhood played in the wider Greek Youth Community.
“The Cretan Brotherhood has become a big leader over the recent years because of its inclusivity for all to become a part of our club. Everyone is very friendly but you can see the determination we have when we are practising and the hours of hard work that we put in has delivered numerous successful performances.”
Vasilios also explained areas where the Cretan Brotherhood can learn and improve.
“The club has multiple committees with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Greeks in Australia. It is very important that as youth, we still include the 1st and 2nd generations in our discussions and take on board their experiences. We can amalgamate them with our education and technological contentedness to bring new opportunities and value creation to the [Cretan, and wider] Greek community.”
Senior Committee member John Leventis was one of the panellists for the summit. He found the summit positive and informative.
“The overarching message that was put forward to attendees was that we must look towards the future and continue to grow and nurture the Greek community in Victoria and Australia. We must not take matters for granted.” said John.
John went onto describe how he saw the Cretan Brotherhood’s role in the community.
“We must lead by example. This may be in the form of hosting events, and continuing to have our doors open to anyone and everyone as we always have, but also, to pass on our knowledge to other Greek communities that are struggling.”
John also identified lessons for the Cretan Brotherhood to learn.
“There are many young and eager individuals out there that are willing to learn and contribute to the community. We must continue to show respect to all facets of our club and community. Never take what we presently have on hand for granted and to always look for new opportunities in the future that will both aid our club, members, community and the overall Greek diaspora in Australia.”
The summit has since received positive feedback from national and international publications including the Neos Kosmos and The Greek Herald.
By Emmanuel Heretakis with Vasilios Berbatakis and John Leventis