KARRINYUP resident John Nickolas Yiannakis has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his work in the Greek community.
The Curtin University lecturer and researcher was recognised for his work with a multitude of WA Greek committees, high schools and Hellenic communities.
Mr Yiannakis, who received the Hellenism Award from the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2003, said he was honoured to be awarded.
Mr Yiannakis said Australia’s Greek community had contributed in many ways to modern Australia.
“In virtually every field, whether it be sport, business, academe or trades, you’ll find a Greek presence,” he said.
“I’ve tried to demonstrate that the Greeks have been in WA for a long time and have contributed to the state in lots of ways.
“It’s not just ethnic history; the Greek people fit into the broader picture of WA’s history.”
The lecturer at Tuart College said Australia was a richer nation due to its multiculturalism.
“I’m proud of my heritage; it’s a rich heritage that goes back almost 3000 years but at the same time, I enjoy all the aspects of being Australian,” he said.
“But added to that there is this cultural heritage from another part of the world that you can express.”
Mr Yiannakis said the Greek community could form a good example for today’s new Australians.
“Greeks are a good example of multiculturalism working. They’ve fit in, they’re good citizens, they’ve made significant contributions while maintaining elements of their cultural heritage and could potentially be seen as role models to new arrivals to the country,” he said.
Mr Yiannakis thanked his wife and family for their patience and support.