As part of an ongoing series of seminars on Greek history and culture offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne, historian Joy Damousi will deliver a lecture entitled “The Greek Civil War and Child Refugees to Australia: Cold War and Australian Internationalism.” The event will be held on Friday, October 10.
The Greek Civil War (1946-1949) forced approximately 28,000 Greek children to leave their country and migrate to neighboring countries in Eastern Europe. They traveled to various countries, such as Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary. Australia, a key member of the United Nations at the time, was actively involved in handling the situation in an effort to reunite children with their parents, many of whom had migrated to Australia after the war.
The lecture will focus on the debates fostered by nations in forums such as the United Nations. Damousi will focus specifically on the efforts made to reunite these children with their parents.
Moreover, the lecture will highlight the need to recognize the efforts of the Australian Council for International Social Service and its director, Aileen Fitzpatrick, for the successful transition of children in Australia.
Fitzpatrick played a key role during the debate on the fate of these children. She and her institution promoted internationalism and the idea of a global community united by humanitarian efforts and transnational exchanges.
Joy Damousi, professor of history at the University of Melbourne, was recently awarded with the “ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship,” which she will use to study the history of child refugees in Australia from 1920 until the present.