Elly Symons accompanies Greek American lobbyist Mr Nick Larigakis on Australian lecture tour

 

Ms Elly Symons, a member of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society Board, visited Canberra last week representing Victoria for the Australian Hellenic Council (AHC). 
 
The AHC was accompanying Mr Nick Larigakis, a full time lobbyist from the American Hellenic Institute who was in Australia for a lecture tour and also to lobby our parliamentarians. 
 
Mr Larigakis is an expert in the Eastern Mediterranean and has spent 30 years in Washington lobbying the US government on important Hellenic issues including the Cyprus problem, the naming of FYROM and Turkey and Greece's NATO obligations. 
 
The delegation had excellent meetings with Federal MPs from both sides of the political spectrum.  
 
The AHC appreciated the opportunity to brief both Senator Sinodinos and Penny Wong's senior foreign affairs advisor and met with Alex Hawke and Julia Banks, who are Hellenic Australians.  
The Hellenic Republic Ambassador and the Cyprus High Commissioner also welcomed the delegation and briefed us on their respective current foreign affairs issues. 
 
The Hellenic Club in Canberra hosted a lecture and dinner and enthusiastically pledged support for the future work of the Australian Hellenic Council. 
 
Mr Larigakis then arrived in Melbourne where Elly coordinated his itinerary and accompanied him to meetings with State Ministers Jenny Mikakos and Philip Dalidakis who both appreciated the briefing Mr Larigakis was able to provide on the situation in Turkey in the region and the role the US can play in assisting Greece and Cyprus and also enforcing the responsibilities of Turkey to the NATO alliance. 
 
Mr Larigakis gave an informative lecture at the Greek Centre to a packed house including members of the IPS board and completed his Melbourne tour with a dinner presentation at the Cyprus Community of Melbourne who showed great appreciation for his strong advocacy for a just solution to the 43 year old Cyprus problem. 
 
Elly thoroughly enjoyed her week at the cut and thrust of Australian politics and was delighted to see so many members of the broad Australian Hellenic community engaged with and interested in issues which affect Hellenism.  
 
Elly also felt heartened to see Hellenes participating in public life, voice their concerns and play their part in the democratic process.  
 
Photo (l-r): George Vellis, George Vardas, Elly Symons, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Nick Larigakis and Michael Christodoulides

Families unite at the 2017 Ithacan picnic

Despite unfavourable weather conditions, a few hundred Ithacans, their family and friends attended the 2017 Ithacan Picnic at Ferny Creek and had a wonderful time. Due to the rain, we all set up our tables in the hall which created a more intimate atmosphere. There was a buzz in the room as family and friends reunited over spanakopites, souvlakia, sandwiches and sweets. The Rotary Club provided BBQ sausages which proved very popular having sold out on the day. Many brought delicious cakes for our new tradition of afternoon tea in the hall, and when Anna Vlass brought along her homemade galaktobouriko, it disappeared in seconds. Our younger members were well taken care of with a balloonist and face painter providing lots of fun and entertainment. Some kids also received a Milo cricket shirt and cricket ball. One of the highlights of the day was when Julianne Stoyles, one of our new Ithacan members and a descendant of the Mavromatis family from Exoghi through her father’s side, brought along her extensive family tree. To mark the occasion, many of the Mavromatis descendants who happened to be at the picnic, posed for a photo with the clan. What a special moment and family reunion. The afternoon ended with the obligatory Greek dancing led by Olga Black and her regular cohort of Greek dancing enthusiasts. We thank the organising committee for yet another fantastic picnic experience.

Centenary Gala Ball 2016 - a night to remember

On October 22, close to 600 guests attended the Centenary Gala Ball held in the Members Dining Room at Melbourne's iconic MCG. Some guests attended from interstate and as far away as Greece.

 

The night opened with an introduction by MC and fellow Ithacan Angela Pippos who told us a little bit about her own ancestral history from Ithaca. Our Vice President, Costa Kaimakamis, and Margarita Varigos, daughter of former President Nick Varigos and Rena Varigos also shared MC duties and it was wonderful to see our younger generation taking an active role in proceedings.

 

Special guest was the Greek Consul General, Christina Simantiraki, who gave a speech in Greek commending the Society for its achievements and respect of its heritage.

 

Greek band STROFES were a sensational choice and the dance floor was packed to capacity. The inimitable Olga Black and her cohort of dancers began the Greek dancing showing us how it's done. The crowd was also entertained by THE THREE TENORS who initially posed as waiters, fooling the crowd.

 

Congratulations to Kathy Koutsounis Tsaralikis who won the lucky door prize of a return trip to Greece flying Emirates, thanks to Spiros Alysandratos of Consolidated Travel Group. Other lucky draw prizes included two $500 vouchers from Hello World Oakleigh and TravelManagers.

The Silent Auction was a fantastic success, raising close to $8000 for the primary school in North Ithaca.

 

The Society would also like to thank the Iris Lucas family for their generosity in hosting the afterparty at The Spice Market where many continued the night of celebrations.

An event this significant and with hundreds of people in attendance takes years to plan and a tremendous amount of work was poured into its organisation. A big congratulations to Anna Vlass, the Ball Committee and the Executive Committee for staging such an unforgettable evening. Last, but by no means least, we thank our major sponsors, supporters and Silent Auction donors whose generous support was very much appreciated.

   MAJOR SPONSORS

ELF AndrewRaftopoulosIncorporated  City of Melbourne logo stacked Consolidated Travel

Delphi logo
KaliOrexi  Merkon Test copy 

SUPPORTERS

   Armadale Pharmacy - Gerald Galatis                   Bagheera Enterprises - Andrew Black                    Hello World Oakleigh

   Joannides Funerals           Kim Petalas          Penny Stansfield TravelManagers         Stradbroke Dental - Dr Anna Paxinos

Merry Christmas and see you in 2017

We are coming towards the end of a very eventful Centenary Year. On 16 October we launched our Centenary publication "The Ithacans." The Society is indebted to the publication group: Anna Vlass, George Paxinos, James Raftopoulos, Mini Paxinos, Kay and Andrew Raftopoulos, for their hard work and the professional manner in which they successfully approached this historical endeavour. The following Friday we hosted our interstate Ithacan guests at a vineyard lunch at De Bortoli’s in the Yarra Valley. The next evening it was the occasion of our Centenary Gala Ball held at the MCG. Some 600 guests attended and the view looking out onto the famous football ground was magic.

On 19 November, the exhibition "Our Odyssey - Ithacans in Melbourne" opened at the Immigration Museum in Flinders Street. This compelling show will be of interest not only to Ithacans and friends but also to the general public.

Another successful first for our Society was the Neos Kosmos wraparounds published in both the English and Greek editions during our Centenary Week in October. Our grateful thanks must go to writers/editors Vicky Kapourelakos and Eugenia Vlass-Tsalikis.

Don’t forget our Annual Picnic on Sunday 12 February 2017 at Ferny Creek featuring a sausage sizzle, the traditional races and medals, music, dancing and a sumptuous afternoon tea.

Finally, I would like to wish you and yours health and happiness in the New Year.

Anthony Drakopoulos
President

Book launch of 'The Ithacans' a great success

IPS Centenary COVER SINGLE 051016 1The centenary publication 'The Ithacans' was launched on Sunday 16 October in front of a full house by acclaimed political journalist and author George Megalogenis. 

'The Ithacans' is a culmination of many years of work by the publication group and the result is nothing short of spectacular. The Society extends its congratulations to the group for their vision, perseverance and tireless efforts in producing a volume of work that makes us all very proud. The publication group consisted of:

 

Anna Vlass - Convenor
George Paxinos - Writer  
Alkmini Paxinos - Editor
Alkmini Paxinos and Anna Vlass - Layout and proofing 
James Raftopoulos - Designer
Andrew Raftopoulos - Design consultant
Andrew and Kay Raftopoulos - Printer liaison

 

MCed by Executive Committee member Elly Symons, the audience listened to speeches by the publication group who gave us an appreciation of the enormity of this literary undertaking as well as some insight into what inspired the words and design.

Feedback has been very positive, with members saying it provided them with an emotional trip down memory lane as they reminisced about their lives of those of their loved ones.

If you were unable to attend the book launch but wish to purchase a copy/ies of THE ITHACANS, books will be available for purchase at our upcoming functions including the:

Children's Christmas Party on 4/12 and

Members' Christmas Luncheon at Merrimu Receptions on 18/12

HOW TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE ITHACANS

Alternatively, you can order your copy/ies of THE ITHACANS by completing the ORDER FORM, indicating your preferred method of payment and collection.

DONT MISS OUT AS STOCKS ARE LIMITED.

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