Following on the Metapolitefsi we explore the impacts of the GFC and modern migration to Australia in search of job prospects. Our speakers share their insights into the experiences of Greek-Australian cultural identity, and the feeling of being part of two different worlds.
Filmed at Melbourne's Greek Quarter.
Hosted by Kyriakos Gold, CEO of Just Gold Digital Agency
Guest speakers include Kostantinos Kalymnios, lawyer; Costas Markou, consultant; Sotiris Hatzimanolis, Editor in Chief Neos Kosmos; Maria Vamvakinou MP; Peter Kalliakoudis, travel executive; Bill Papastergiadis, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria; Dr Konstandina Dounis, Teaching Associate at Monash University; Dr George Vassilacopoulos, A/ Senior Lecturer La Trobe University; Mike Zafiropoulos AM, JP, Chair of Channel 31 Melbourne, former General Manager at SBS Melbourne, Mary Coustas, Actress and Writer; (in order of appearance).
Guest speakers include Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Dr Konstandina Dounis, Teaching Associate at Monash University; Dr George Vassilacopoulos, A/ Senior Lecturer La Trobe University; Kostantinos Kalymnios, lawyer; Maria Vamvakinou MP (in order of appearance).
A new wave of Greek Australian emigration is observed in the period 2009-2014.
The pessimism of the Greeks about the state of the economy in Greece continues, albeit
to a lesser extent, with the result that many of the citizens have emigrated or are aiming
to go abroad for work. Besides, a key feature and consequence of the crisis is the high
unemployment driving the Greeks abroad, in order to find work.
The prosperity of the Greek Australian community in the 60s and 70s meant that many
Greek Australians had moved back to Greece in the 80s and 90s. This large Greek
Australian community had the option to move back to Australia - as Australian citizens
this time – escaping the pressures of the Global Financial Crisis and austerity that hit
Southern Europe. This wave also influenced significant number of Greeks to choose
Australia rather than moving to other European countries such as Germany.
The shock data presented by “Kathimerini” (30-11-2014), reflect the big problem of
“brain drain” from Greece, foreshadowing perhaps the worst. In total and in all fields,
over 100,000 Greek scientists, mostly young, are abroad, either having established
themselves professionally or looking for a good job. Also, another 30,000 Greeks are
studying at universities abroad, many of whom are looking for work in order to stay
permanently in a foreign country. And the dimensions of the problem are widening.
Abroad, experienced academics and researchers are beginning to seek their fortunes,
who are at the forefront of scientific research, but also of “claiming” European funds.
“Universities and the wider Greek research community not only cannot get new blood,
but also cannot retain their experienced staff,” said Evi Sachini, director of the National
Documentation Center (ECB) of the National Research Foundation. Economic and
qualitative data show that Greek higher education is on the verge of a major crisis.
Poll results show that today mainly young people aged 22-35 are migrating and that
7 out of 10 would leave their country for a job abroad. On the contrary, in the 60’s
the Greeks who decided to emigrate were older, mainly 35 years and over. Today
Greeks that are migrating, they do not leave by chance, they research for information
through the internet for offered jobs as well as for a decent working environment in the
countries of Europe, Australia and America. Due to the lack of any perspective, distrust
of politicians and the established in general, the country loses people who are useful for
the rebirth of society.
Comparing the migration of the period ‘60 -’70 with the current one, the differences
that appear are many and important. The first and most important thing is that
today the best are leaving. Young people, doctors, engineers, and a number of other
professionals with masters and doctorates, leave Greece in search not only of better
salaries but mainly seeking the recognition of their efforts, their achievements
and better life quality. They are once again leaving a country that does not have
the conditions for high research and condemns them to extremely low wages,
undergraduate positions, degraded employment and a frustrating climate that devalues
Today its estimated that more than 600.000 people live in Australia. More than half that
number live in Melbourne which is the third country in population after Athens and
The Greeks in Australia have contributed significantly to all aspects of living and have
influenced Government, Corporate and Community structures. At the same time
Australian culture was enriched at large by contribution to the arts, tourism, sport,
restaurants, food and wine.
In Melbourne and Sydney there are many neighbourhoods with distinct Greek
Australian influence like diners, cafés, retail stores, community representatives from
many Greek cities, radio stations and newspapers.
Well-known festivals that are held over the years like Antipodes in Melbourne or the
Greek Festival of Sydney of the Semaphore Greek Festival in Adelaide. Festivals are
a celebration and showcase of Greek culture through music, dance and food. Greek
artists are invited to participate from Greece in their effort to keep the “cultural
communication” lines open and interconnected.
In addition, common Orthodox religious customs have helped the Greek Australian
community stay connected over the years, especially the older generations, nourishing
the feeling of belonging.
Reflecting a hierarchy of parental aspirations for their children’s professional futures,
we see the offspring of Greek migrants moving from the entrepreneurial spirit
of small business (that drove their parents to success in Australia) to professional
and government roles creating today the diverse and successful Greek Australian
community we have come to experience.
(Στρατός Καρακασίδης) Το τρίτο μεταναστευτικό κύμα των Ελλήνων
(Πέτρος Α. Κιόχος) Η εξωτερική μετανάστευση της χώρας μας και οι συνέπειες αυτής
(Αλέξης Τότσικας) Όπου γη πατρίδα – Έλληνες μετανάστες στον κόσμο
The series focuses on the Greek Australian connection to Hellenic Culture across the centuries and the ideals of the Revolution.