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Greek community digs deep for language programs

By Louise Errington

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles, Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Peter Styles and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Director Lorenzo Strano attend in “Blues Brothers” costume at the Apokries celebration NT Chief Minister Adam Giles, Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Peter Styles and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Director Lorenzo Strano attend in “Blues Brothers” costume at the Apokries celebration

The Greek community of Darwin has celebrated another significant event in its calendar by raising more than $15,000 to support Charles Darwin University’s language programs.

Apokries is the traditional celebration that marks the onset of the Orthodox Easter Lent period. For the past 10 years the Darwin-based community group Friends of Greek Language (FOGL) has used the occasion to raise funds for CDU’s Greek language and culture programs.

FOGL member Angelica Poulos said it was important to the Darwin Greek community to maintain its heritage language, which is central to Greek culture and western civilisation.

“Because Greek is an academic language, it finds a natural home at CDU,” Ms Poulos said.

“Language links people to their culture, and it is important that we share the Greek culture with other Australians to build understanding in the community.”

Coordinated by FOGL, the 2014 Apokries event saw revellers enjoy an evening of Greek cultural dancing, food and entertainment, including performances by special guest and internationally recognised Greek vocalist Kaiti Koullia.

The fundraiser comes on the back of a Greek Guardians dinner late last year that raised almost $80,000 for the CDU’s Greek language and culture programs, including the Greek In-Country Language Program conducted in July of each year.

Greek language and culture units are available to students undertaking a Diploma of Languages, Graduate Diploma in Language Teaching or a Bachelor of Arts. The units are also available as an independent studies unit or an elective as part of other higher education studies.

CDU’s Greek language and culture programs are made possible through funding and support from CDU, the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory Greek community.

The CDU Foundation’s campaign, “Guardians of Greek Language and Culture”, aims to raise $1.5 million to create a self-sustaining program for undergraduate, postgraduate study and research at the university.

For information about the Greek In-Country Program, visit W: cdu.edu.au/creative-arts-humanities/greekincountry.

For information about the Greek Guardians program, visit W: cdu.edu.au/mace/foundation/greek-guardians.