The challenge of building a more prosperous and compassionate Greece was the central theme of The Hellenic Initiative Australia’s successful “Rising to the Challenge – Greece at the Crossroads of Social Change” series of events held across Australia last week.
The events, which took place in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, brought together important Greek-Australian businessmen and community leaders to hear several dynamic speakers discuss the economic and social crises in Greece.
The information which was used in discussions was for the most part based on data provided by Greek NGOs working on the issues involved.
International business leader Andrew N Liveris AO, the chairman and co-founder of The Hellenic Initiative, spoke in Sydney and Melbourne, providing insights into global politics, and the changing economic and social landscape in Greece.
He also presented his vision for the country’s return to normal, which he believes can happen with the support of the diaspora.
The highlight of the Melbourne and Sydney events was a wide-ranging panel discussion with Liveris and two leaders of The Hellenic Initiative, Australia’s partner charities, Maria Karra, Co-Founder of the Emfasis Foundation, and Lena Papalexopoulou, the Vice-President of the Desmos Foundation.
During the one-hour conversation, which was moderated by anchorman John Mangos, the speakers presented their valuable insights into Greece today and described their efforts to bring about fundamental change in the country through social change, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
Nicholas G Pappas, the president of The Hellenic Initiative Australia, said the events provided an opportunity to meet two inspirational leaders who are helping to change the social fabric of Greece and learn about the important work being done by The Hellenic Initiative Australia’s charity partners in Greece.
“We are honored to have had the opportunity to hear from these outstanding women, whose compassion and devotion to their charitable endeavors gives us hope that Greece’s future is indeed bright.
“We thank them for fortifying our vision for Greece and making us believe that our vision is achievable and hopeful, that it is slowly coming within our collective grasp,” Pappas said.
The THI Australia event series kicked off in Sydney on September 9 with a dinner at Beta, supported by the Hellenic Club Sydney. The September 10 event in Melbourne took place at the new Docklands headquarters of ANZ, THI Australia’s National Event Partner.
The series concluded in Perth on Thursday, September 12 at Crown Towers, where Karra and Papalexopoulou joined Dr. Jonathan Carapetis, Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, in a discussion about the key issues and challenges for the not-for-profit sector globally.
During their time in Australia, Karra and Papalexopoulou also met with local charities and organizations to gain an understanding of the non-profit sector in Australia and to foster connections for international knowledge-sharing.
“Desmos and Emfasis are representative of the new-generation charities that have emerged in response to the crisis, and The Hellenic Initiative Australia is proud to be supporting their efforts to assist people in need and make a lasting impact on Greek society,” Pappas said of the foundation founders and officials.
“For every story of hope and solidarity, however, there are still another ten that speak loudly of pain, despair, and anguish, so there is still a great need for our support,” he added.
The Desmos Foundation is one of Greece’s most dynamic and impactful philanthropic hubs, supporting a range of charitable organizations which help people in need and vulnerable groups throughout Greece.
Its initiatives include programs focusing on social welfare, healthcare, youth empowerment, education and employment, as well as emergency response and recovery.
The Emfasis Foundation supports the homeless, as well as vulnerable and socially-excluded groups in Athens and Piraeus. Their pioneering social street work programs, led by a team of sociologists, psychologists and trained volunteers, provide immediate relief and ongoing support.
THI Australia currently supports the Emfasis Mobile Support Unit and Desmos’ I Care & Act programs.
(Source and photo: The Hellenic Initiative Australia)