AHEPA Youth president steps down

first_imgAHEPA Youth’s founding president, Jiannis Tsaousis, has stepped down from the role after two years at the helm.The 20-year-old student will now take the back seat in the Greek Australian youth fundraising and networking group and help newly elected president John Papaemmanouil with the transition.“I think John is a fantastic young man, and with him and the executive, I have every confidence that they’ll do a great job, they’ve got experience from working in a team under my presidency,” Mr Tsaousis told Neos Kosmos. New president Mr Papaemmanouil has big shoes to fill, he says, and says it will take a bit of time for him to feel comfortable in the job.“You have set the foundation, not only for our generation but also for generations to come,” Mr Papaemmanouil said about Jiannis.“You have always been very supportive and while it may take a while for me to build up the experience and learn the lessons you have learnt over your time as president, I know that the next few years, with our talented executive, our family of members and my leadership, the bricks will be built on the foundations you have set.”Mr Tsaousis says the decision to step down has come due to his encroaching studies, although he says he will still be an active member in the group. “AHEPA has a special role for past presidents, in the constitution you become what is called a governor, it’s a nice and fancy name but it just means I’ll be mentoring the youth wing,” he says.Mr Tsaousis set up AHEPA’s Achilleas Youth wing in 2012 after he felt there was no mature youth group for Greek Australian students and graduates to give back to the community.After being invited to speak at an AHEPA event, Mr Tsaousis was compelled to become a member and start a group for people his age to become active citizens. “I said I’d love to become a member, and they laughed at me because they said there’s no youth wing at the moment,” he remembers.“And I said what does it take to start it up, I’m in first year, I’ve got time on my hands, I’ve got the willingness, I’ve got the interest, and they said, get 16 people together and get back to us. “And within a month I got 16 good friends from school, from Greek school, from university and things started from there.”In his presidency, Mr Tsaousis has managed to create precedents for AHEPA’s Australian wing. With his fundraising work for the charity O Kivotos tou Kosmou, which cares for disadvantaged children in Greece he got the Victorian branch to take notice. Together, the two branches have raised over $79,000. Via Twitter, AHEPA Youth were able to reach out to former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyianni and invite her to a Q&A session event via Skype. And just last week, a joint venture between AHEPA Youth and NUGAS saw Greek Australian students and businessmen mingle in a Business Breakfast. “It was something that was different, it differentiates our offering and fills the void in our community,” Mr Tsaousis says. “It attracts lots of Greek Australian students who are not necessarily engaged with the Greek Australian community or might not identify strongly with Greek Australian university societies.”The Youth chapter of AHEPA has indeed filled a void for Greek Australians feeling left out of community affairs. It never tried to be a group that solely organised dinner dances, the booze cruises and the dancing groups that have been on offer for years through student Greek societies. Rather, it chose to open doors for young Greeks wanting to give back to the community and become strong citizens in the process. “I approached AHEPA because I wanted to be able to give back to our community in a constructive way that allowed the youth to be real active citizens, not only in the Greek community but also the broader Australian community and in the global diaspora,” Mr Tsaousis says.Now, with a new president at the helm, he expects AHEPA Youth to continue to invest their time promoting core values of fundraising, networking and global Hellenism.He hopes to see a stronger relationship built with the already established Greek American AHEPA Youth groups.“I see us collaborating on diaspora wide projects in fundraising, networking and leadership,” he says.The new executive council for AHEPA: President: John Papaemmanouil Vice President: Marialena Michanetzi Treasurer: Ross Katsambanis Secretary: Anna Vassiladis Warden: Anthea Tsaousis Director of ceremonies: Paula Oude-Vrielink Public relations officer and prayer reader: George Stratigis AHEPA Youth is open to anyone from the age of 16 to 35. To join, visit www.achilleasyouth.org/join Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more