Greek language program to continue at La Trobe

In a historic agreement signed by the University, the Greek Community of Melbourne in association with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, the university language program will continue with financial support raised by the Greek community however needs to increase enrolments significantly over the next 3 to 5 years.

The Greek language program was considered financially unviable by the University because of low enrolments and was proposed for closure from 2022 as part of an overall University change proposal. Following much negotiation over the past 6 weeks, an agreement to continue the Greek Language Program at La Trobe University was reached last week.

Following constructive meetings between La Trobe’s Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO and other University senior executives and Mr Bill Papastergiadis OAM, President Greek Community of Melbourne, and other senior figures from the Greek community, the general community in Melbourne has committed to providing $192,000 over three years as well as proactive assistance in ensuring the program reaches a financially viable enrolment target after semester 1 census in 2023.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO warmly welcomed the support from the Greek Community of Melbourne and said he looked forward to continuing a fruitful collaboration to find constructive solutions to enrolments in the Greek language program.

“La Trobe University plays a significant role in providing quality higher education to communities in Melbourne’s north, including the Greek community,” Professor Dewar said.

“It has been pleasing to see such a strong and passionate response to the proposed closure of our Greek language program and that senior leaders from the Greek Community have come to the table to offer positive solutions – both financial and to assist with enrolments — to ensure the program can survive and, hopefully, flourish in the future.”

Mr Bill Papastergiadis OAM, President Greek Community of Melbourne, said, “As the sole provider of a major in Greek Studies in Victoria, it is heartening that an agreement has been reached to save this program. The Greek Language is a critical part of our culture. It plays a vital role in strengthening the multicultural and cosmopolitan fabric of Victoria. A broad coalition of interested persons and groups worked tirelessly with the University to ensure that the Program not only survives but thrives. I am excited about what the future will bring for our Greek language program. I thank the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University for being open and honest in their dialogue and workings during this process. Today is an important moment for our community.”

The Very Reverend Father Evmenios Vasilopoulos, Archiepiscopal Vicar for the District of Northcote Victoria said, “The continuation of the La Trobe University Modern Greek programme evidences the sensitivity of La Trobe University towards the broader multicultural community and its nuanced appreciation of language learning, as intrinsic to the promotion and enhancement of cultural diversity within our polyglot state. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and its primate, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios eagerly look forward to an enduring partnership with the University and other key community stakeholders so as to maintain and advance the study of a linguistic corpus that has exercised such a profound influence on the political, cultural and religious development of world civilisation.”