Volume 26 Number 219 — February 1, 2000
Happy New Millenium
A Message From Eugene T. Rossides, AHI Founder
As we begin the new millennium I take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with our members. I believe that we have a good story to tell both in the effectiveness of our message and in the opportunities we are providing for Greek Americans to interact with each other.
Since its formation in 1974, the American Hellenic Institute has sought to articulate a consistent, firm, and clear message about U.S. interests in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and their relation to U.S. values. This is that:
At the risk of political unpopularity but with the steadfast support of our members, we have not deviated from this message. In 1999 our message finally brought some welcome advances:
With regard to Greece, AHI has articulated a consistent theme that Greece is the pivotal state in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean for U.S. interests. The annual Greek American Policy Statements have regularly advocated the position that Greece is the key to regional peace, stability and prosperity and that the U.S. should cultivate a “special relationship” with Greece.
Our consistent projection of this message in meetings with U.S. officials including Ambassador Nicholas Burns, and in Capitol Hill conferences on this theme, has resulted in increased official comments on Greece’s importance to U.S. interests in the area.
Ambassador Burns was thoroughly briefed by AHI in November 1997 on our positions, attended our conference on Greece and was our luncheon speaker. After arriving in Greece he articulated Greece’s importance to the U.S. in the region, the first U.S. Ambassador to do so. He also influenced President Clinton’s reference to Greece during his November 1999 visit as the “powerhouse of Southeast Europe.”
With regard to the Aegean, AHI’s consistent position has been that the law is clear and that any unilateral territorial claims by third parties should be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague for binding arbitration. This position was adopted by the European Union Council at its meeting in Helsinki on December 10-11, 1999 and has subsequently been endorsed by the U.S.
On Cyprus, our consistent message has been that U.S. interests are best served by a settlement based on the rule of law, resistance to aggression, and democratic norms. We welcome the EU decision at its Helsinki meeting to consider Cyprus’ accession without making a resolution of the Cyprus problem a precondition. The effect of this decision is that Cyprus’ accession will not be subject to blockage by a third party, specifically Turkey.
With regard to Turkey, AHI has argued that, while it has no quarrel with the Turkish people, the military-controlled government of Turkey suffers critical democratic and human rights deficiencies arising from its military-dominated constitution and have argued that, until these deficiencies were remedied, Turkey should not be regarded as a full member of the community of democratic states.
We have argued against the application of a double standard in favor of Turkey. We are pleased to see increasingly frequent condemnations of Turkey’s deficiencies and criticism of the U.S. appeasement and double standards for Turkey in Congressional statements, the media and reports by human rights organizations.
A positive development which benefits both Greece and Cyprus was the EU position adopted at the Helsinki summit on December 10-11, 1999 which rejected U.S. pressure to give Turkey special dispensations for the EU accession process and required Turkey to meet the same criteria as other candidate countries. The EU decision on conditionality mirrors AHI’s long-held positions and is a positive development. The U.S. had no alternative but to endorse the EU decision.
The good news with which 1999 ends spurs us to new efforts. Much work remains to be done to ensure that these advances are fully consolidated and implemented. On Turkey, the Administration and its career officials in the State and Defense Departments and National Security Council have a track record of chronic unreliability and duplicity. For years, the Administration has preferred to appease Turkey and to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s aggression and human rights abuses. Turkey has a long record of going back on its promises. We must remain alert to any Administration backsliding or pressure to grant Turkey special favors.
We will be particularly vigilant to monitor the readiness of Turkey to take meaningful steps to meet the EU conditions, especially regarding the Aegean and Cyprus.
We will continue to stress the responsibility of career officials for the Administration’s failure to apply American values and principles and instead to follow undemocratic policies of appeasement and double standards toward Turkey. We will highlight their cover-up role.
As the Cyprus settlement negotiations unfold, we will monitor and resist any attempt to reward aggression or to undermine democratic norms and constitutional propriety. In 1999 the Administration continued its seven-year record of giving a high priority to Cyprus in terms of rhetoric but no substantive pressure on Turkey to take positive action.
Indeed there are reports that the Administration is pressuring the Cyprus government to make concessions. We will not allow the Administration’s rhetoric on Cyprus to obscure the need for real pressure on Turkey to negotiate in good faith. We will resist any attempts to force further concessions from the Cyprus government as contrary to U.S. interests and values.
With the 2000 presidential and congressional elections in full swing, we will be working hard to get our message out to the candidates. We will prepare a questionnaire for each candidate seeking his or her views on issues of concern to the Greek American community. In this task I urge you to involve yourselves as much as you can. The efforts of AHI members at the grass roots state and district levels are absolutely vital.
In 2000 AHI will be undertaking new efforts to promote an ever closer U.S. relationship with Greece and Cyprus as in the best interests of the U.S. Our November 1999 inaugural conferences in Athens and Nicosia were steps along that road. AHI congratulates Ambassador Burns for his outstanding contributions to U.S.-Greece relations.
Alongside our public policy efforts, we are putting increased attention to providing opportunities for our own to meet each other for mutually beneficial purposes. We do this through our business network events and expect to expand these in 2000.
The support of our members is the vital element in any success we have had. In 2000 we will redouble our efforts to reflect this. We will be looking at ways to create new opportunities for our members to benefit from the ever-broader interaction of our membership and from the deepening relationship with Greece and Cyprus. We thank our members for their loyal support and go forward in confidence that we can count on their continued support.
May I end by wishing you and your families all the best for the New Year, New Century and New Millennium. May all your dreams be fulfilled.”
AHI CONFERENCES IN GREECE AND CYPRUS
On November 13 and 15-16, 1999 respectively the American Hellenic Institute held its inaugural conferences in Nicosia and Athens. Entitled “U.S. Relations with Greece and Cyprus: The American Foreign Policy Process and the Role of Greek Americans”, the conferences were designed to help forge a more effective partnership between the United States and Greece by:
Both conferences were highly successful. In Nicosia, the conference attracted an attendance of about 100. In Athens the gala dinner on November 15 was attended by over 325 guests and more than 200 participants attended the conference and luncheon on Nove†ber 16. In both Greece and Cyprus extensive television and newspaper coverage resulted. Additionally, the English-language insert of Kathimerini in the International Herald Tribune of November 17 carried a full account of the conference with a picture.
The main speaker in Nicosia was Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives. In Athens the main speakers were Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, President of New Democracy, and Mr. Nicholas Burns, U.S. Ambassador to Greece. The dinner address was given by Mr. Eugene Rossides in place of Defense Minister Akis Tzotzatopoulos, who unexpectedly had to travel to Brussels on urgent European Union business. The Athens conference concluded with a reception at the U.S. residence hosted by Ambassador Burns and attended by over 150 guests.
Both conferences came at exceptionally auspicious moments. With new Cyprus talks opening in New York on December 3, the Nicosia conference usefully set the stage on the U.S. approach and how AHI is working to promote a fair and just settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Athens conference took place on the eve of President Clinton’s visit and was able to send a forceful message about the U.S. double standard on applying the rule of law to Turkey and about the underlying strengths of the U.S.-Greece relationship and how the Greek American community seeks to improve this relationship. Ambassador Burns described the Greek American community as a “vital link” between the U.S. and Greece and spoke of his “great admiration for the AHI which acts as a bridge between the U.S. and Greece.”
AHI speakers at the conferences covered the following topics:
“Current U.S. Policy Toward Greece and Cyprus: a Greek American Perspective” —Professor Van Coufoudakis
“The American Foreign Policy Process and the Role of Greek Americans” —Eugene Rossides
“The Role of the Media and Academic Community on U.S. Foreign Policy” —Jonathan Clarke
“Outside Influences on U.S. Foreign Policy”—Nick Karambelas
“The Lobby Process: AHI at Work” —Nick Larigakis
“Modern Greek Studies and the Role of the Modern Greek Studies Association” —Professor Van Coufoudakis
“AHI as a Facilitator of Promoting Greek and Cypriot Businesses in the U.S.” —James Marketos
Arrangements for the conferences were made respectively by Professor Andreas Theophanous, Director of the Research and Development Center of Intercollege, Nicosia, and by Mr. Costas Ioannou, President AHI-Greece, in cooperation with Mrs. Helen Politis. AHI congratulates and extends its warmest thanks to these individuals and organizations for their hard work and skill in organizing these two successful events.
AHI would also like to thank the following moderators/commentators for their very useful contributions:
Nicosia: Mr. Christodoulos Pelaghias, Mr. Emilios Solomou, Mr. Sophocles Michaelides.
Athens: Professor Athanassios Platias, Professor Constantine Arvanitopoulos, Professor Theodore Couloumbis, Professor Marios Evriviadis, Mr. Andonis Papayannidis
In Athens sponsorship was received from the following organizations and individuals: Sigma Securities S.A., Farrell Lines, ATE/AEDAK, Lilly and CAM 2 International, President Ted G. Spyropoulos. AHI expresses its deep gratitude for this generous support.
Letter to President Clinton
AHI sent a letter to President Clinton on November 30, 1999 urging him to take follow-up action on his visit to Greece to consolidate a special relationship with Greece as the pivotal state in Southeastern Europe for U.S. interests and to take urgent measures to bring about a just settlement of the Cyprus problem. A copy may be found on the AHI Web site (http://www.ahiworld.org).
EVENTS MARKING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF AHI
From October 8-11, 1999 the American Hellenic Institute celebrated its 25th Anniversary by holding a convention in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1974 in response to the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkey, the AHI has grown into a nation-wide organization dedicated to strengthening U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus and to promoting U.S. interests in the region.
Twenty-five years later we are proud to say that, thanks to the generosity of our members, led by George Spyropoulos, we own our own building, Hellenic House, located on 16th Street, five blocks from the White House. This is home to AHI as well as to the AHI Foundation which serves as a think-tank for Greek American issues, to AHIPAC which lobbies for our interests, and to AHIBN, a vibrant business network promoting the entrepreneurial spirit of Greek Americans.
The Convention featured an active program of business, social and cultural events and attracted attendance from AHI members and their families from across the nation, including from Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Highlights included:
Social events included sightseeing in the nation’s capital and a tennis tournament won by Mr. Ted Golfinopoulos from New Jersey.
AHI takes great pride in the commitment and enthusiasm of its members. It thanks them for their attendance and expressions of support. Together we can forge a winning partnership in the pursuit of our objectives.
Arising from this conference, on November 5, 1999 the White House contacted the Capitol Hill Historical Society to request a transcript of the dinner speech delivered by the Hon. Clarence J. Brown, CEO U.S. Capitol Historical Society, former Congressman from Ohio.
Mr. Brown’s speech referred to the vital contributions of ancient Greece to modern democratic thinking and to the American constitution and governance. His speech was used for briefing purposes for President Clinton’s visit to Greece and for possible incorporation into remarks to be delivered by the President during his visit.
AHI STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT CLINTON’S VISIT TO GREECE
In light of the controversy surrounding President Clinton’s visit to Greece, on November 16, 1999 AHI released the following statement on this matter.
“The November 19-20, 1999 visit of President Clinton to Greece comes at an auspicious moment in relations between the United States and Greece. On November 8, 1999, President Clinton stated that Greece was ‘a force for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.’ For its part, Greece is a stable and lively democracy; its economy is prospering; it is the only country in the region that is a member of both NATO and the European Union.
The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) advocates the development of the strongest possible U.S. partnership and “special relationship” with Greece as in the best interests of the U.S. and Greece. In furtherance of this objective, AHI’s senior officers led by AHI founder Eugene Rossides, are currently in Greece to present the inaugural AHI conference in Greece ‘U.S.-Greece Relations: The American Foreign Policy Process and the Role of Greek Americans.’
President Clinton’s visit to Greece provides the opportunity to make progress on important regional issues such as the Aegean and Cyprus. AHI believes that international law and moral justice are clear on both issues. AHI calls on the U.S. Administration to give the highest priority to these principles. They accord both with American interests and American values.
AHI looks forward to a successful outcome to President Clinton’s visit and congratulates the American and Greek peoples on this historic occasion.”
LEGISLATIVE POLICY CONFERENCE IN ST. LOUIS
On October 23: AHI held a one day Legislative Policy Conference in St. Louis, Missouri at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel.
The conference was in cooperation with the AHI-St. Louis Chapter and co-sponsored by the Hellenic Society of St. Louis, The Hellenic Spirit Foundation, the Justice for Cyprus Committee of Greater St. Louis, and the Foundation for Hellenic Studies.
Honorary Conference Chairman was long-time AHI member Dr. Nicholas Matsakis. Serving as the Conference Chairman was Dr. George Pelican, AHI-St.Louis Chapter President, while Constantine Michaelides was the Moderator and Nick Karakas the Luncheon Chairman.
The main luncheon speaker was Alexios G. Christopoulos, Minister, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C.
Other conference speakers included Eugene T. Rossides, Nick Larigakis, Professor Van Coufoudakis, Nick Karambelas, and Jonathan Clarke.
The AHI is grateful to Dr. George Pelican and the members of his committee for all their hard work to make this event a success.
In our last bulletin we reported that on July 21, 1999, the House of Representatives passed by unanimous voice vote Amendment 19 to H.R. 2415 (the State Department authorization bill), expressing the “Sense of Congress…that:
This was a useful first step. However, the bill is not yet law. In the final compromise between the Senate and House on the budget, all non-budget related items were deleted, including the Aegean Amendment. AHI will seek to revive the bill next year. We encourage all AHI members to contact their representatives and senators to impress upon them the community’s interest in this bill.
MEDIA CAMPAIGN ON TURKEY
Starting on October 15, 1999, the American Hellenic Institute launched a major campaign to highlight the grave deficiencies of U.S. policy toward Turkey. In a letter and accompanying memorandum to the U.S. print and electronic media, AHI describes a pattern of systematic abuses underlying U.S. policy toward Turkey. Forty such letters have been sent to date. AHI Chapters and Representatives around the nation are also receiving copies of the letter and memorandum for the purpose of follow-up action with their local media.
Describing these abuses as one of the great underwritten stories of U.S. foreign policy, the letter urges the media to give greater coverage to these issues as they go to the heart of what the U.S. as a country stands for. They are relevant to critical areas of American governance. The memorandum sets out eight areas as meriting media investigation and reporting:
This is a story of national disgrace with universal interest. These issues concern fundamental U.S. values: freedom, democracy, decency, human rights, the rule of law, and the values and principles we fought for in World War II and against Soviet communism. Turkey has been and continues to be a stain on the honor, integrity and credibility of NATO and the U.S.
Critical aspects of our foreign policy are going unreported or underreported to the great detriment of our national interests and values. The fact that our government is turning its back on these values regarding Turkey is a major news item.
Copies of the letter and memorandum may be found on the AHI web site http://ahiworld.org.
OTHER MEDIA CONTACTS
Other media contacts include a briefing of the Washington Times editorial staff. This led to the publication on October 7, 1999 in the Washington Times of the following letter from Eugene T. Rossides.
“Re: “Ushering in Turkey’s New Era” by Bruce Fein in your issue of September 24, 1999. Mr. Fein’s role as a spokesman for Turkey is now familiar. His last pro-Turkish appearance on your pages was on May 18 when he defended the violent behavior of Turkish parliamentarians against women choosing to wear headscarves. While it is curious that the Washington Times gives space on its commentary page to what is in essence a sponsored handout from a foreign government in advance of a visit to Washington by its Head of Government, it may be worth noting some of the points omitted from Mr. Fein’s column.
Mr. Fein’s most curious omission was the recent warming of relations between Turkey and Greece following the tragic earthquakes in both countries. This would have buttressed his claims about a new, forward-looking Turkey.
I welcome the policy of the Commentary age in giving ample space to international issues. That writers have strongly-held personal points of view is of the essence. But government propaganda masquerading as opinion goes a little far.”
Further letters published include Mr. Rossides’s letter in the December 2, 1999 issue of the Wall Street Journal. This read:
“In response to your November 23 editorial ‘Greek Tragedy’: Your implicit endorsement of the Turkish illegal invasion of Cyprus as a contribution to democracy takes ‘spin’ to a new low. Also you give the impression of having written without regard to what really happened during President Clinton’s visit to Greece. The anti-Clinton demonstrations were orchestrated and attended by a tiny minority (less than 5,000 out of a total Athens population of some 4 million). Incidentally, the demonstrations never got near the American Embassy.
You also made the baseless charge that Greeks sympathize with the idea of a “Greater Serbia.” Yes, many Greeks had substantive differences with the U.S. over Kosovo (so, it must be recalled, did the Wall Street Journal) but this did not detract one iota from Greece’s participation in the NATO operation.
The source of the allegation about ‘traditional Greek hostility toward Albanians’ is a complete mystery. Has your writer no knowledge of the fact that in 1996 Greece and Italy led the international force that stabilized the anarchic situation in Albania in the wake of the collapse of the pyramid scams?
As for your reference to the need for Greece to overcome ‘nationalist and statist shibboleths,’ this is years out of date. Greece is now firmly part of the EU mainstream. In 2001 it will join the European Monetary Union (in advance of the UK); Greece is the site of the EU reconstruction headquarters for Kosovo; of all the countries in the region, Greece is the one stable democracy and prosperous economy. President Clinton described Greece as the ‘powerhouse of Southeast Europe.’”
On December 5, 1999 the Chicago Tribune published the following letter from Nick Larigakis: “In his opinion piece “Whose side on the Greeks on, anyway?” R.C. Longworth uses the excuse of the demonstrations that took place in Athens during President Clinton’s visit to indulge in a wild analysis of the Greek psyche. I think even he would concede that it is quite a stretch to connect the actions of about 5,000 demonstrators (out of a total Athens population of about 4 million) on a single day at the end of the 20th Century with the Reformation, Renaissance and Enlightenment. I wonder what fanciful explanation Mr. Longworth has for the behavior of the (estimated) 50,000-plus demonstrators in Seattle and parallel marchers in London. Did they also miss out on the “skeptical and cooler Western mind?” I am sure the AFL-CIO would be fascinated to know.
Even without the pretentious psycho-babble, Mr. Longworth’s piece is beset with factual errors. Greece an inconstant ally? How does he account for World War I, World War II (both of which saw Turkey in the hostile camp or neutral), Cold War, Gulf War and Kosovo? Anti-Albanian? Mr. Longworth has clearly overlooked Greece’s very helpful intervention (alongside Italy) in Albania in 1996 which prevented Albania from collapsing into civil war in the wake of the pyramid scams. Afraid of Macedonia? In fact, Greece is a major investor in Macedonia and its main trading partner. An awkward member of the EU? Greece is set to join the European Monetary Union in 2001 ahead of the UK. The northern port city of Thessaloniki is also the coordinating point for EU reconstruction efforts in the Balkans.
These are powerful positive factors. During his visit, President Clinton stressed them in describing Greece as the “powerhouse of Southeast Europe.” This gets it right. No-one, least of all the Greeks themselves, would claim that Greece is a flawless nation but, if criticisms are to be made, let us at least make them on the basis of fact rather than fantasy.”
EUROPEAN UNION SUMMIT IN HELSINKI
On December 9, 1999 and in advance of the European Union summit in Helsinki, Finland, the American Hellenic Institute sent to a letter to President Clinton (copy may be found on the AHI web site) on the issue of Turkey’s application for EU candidate status.
The letter stresses that the most important issue with regard to Turkey’s application is whether Turkey itself is prepared to earn this status by meeting certain standards of conduct in advance as is required of all other applicants. The letters faults the U.S. failure to insist on these necessary preconditions as bad policy. It signals to Turkey that the U.S. is once again appeasing Turkey before it has taken the necessary reform steps. Ironically, by giving Turkey a free pass and thus reducing the incentive for Turkey to make the tough long-term choices on such matters as human rights and the removal of military influence, the U.S. is likely to impair Turkey’s ability to complete the fundamental transition process to democracy and a market economy.
Before Turkey’s candidacy can be accepted, Turkey needs to take two immediate steps of direct relevance to the EU to prove that it is an appropriate candidate:
The letter urges President Clinton to make clear to Turkey that failure to accede to these two obvious conditions would provide appropriate grounds for any EU member to oppose Turkey’s candidacy. The U.S. should not provide Turkey with a blank check on this issue, but Turkey should expect to be held to the same criteria as any other EU applicant.
CYPRUS: NEW YORK TALKS
In advance of the Cyprus proximity talks, the AHI sent a letter to President Clinton on December 1, 1999 stating that the talks on Cyprus represented an important opportunity to inject a sense of reality into the search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem. Only the United States can do this. Given that a resolution of the Cyprus problem accords with both U.S. strategic interests and U.S. moral obligations, the letter urged the President to inject a strong American presence into the negotiations to make clear that we will no longer tolerate the time-worn excuses for delay, obstruction and prevarication of the military-controlled government of Turkey.
AHI believes that the best interests of the U.S. would be served by identifying Turkey as the aggressor it is and laying down an ultimatum that Turkey should withdraw from Cyprus or face sanctions. As a second best, however, we would be prepared to accept a clear statement by the U.S. that it endorses the international consensus and that any party deemed to be obstructing this consensus—given that the Cyprus government accepts the international consensus, this clearly would mean the military-controlled government of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership—will face penalties in terms of their relationship with the U.S. A firm and clear statement to this effect will signal that the U.S. will no longer tolerate Turkey’s delaying tactics. This in turn would pave the way for a settlement (see AHI Web site www.ahiworld.org).
VISIT OF TURKISH PRIME MINISTER TO WASHINGTON
On September 17, 1999 the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to President Clinton (the text may be found on the AHI Web site) drawing his attention to the new climate of friendship between Greece and Turkey brought about by the tragic Greek and Turkish earthquakes. This new climate, which AHI welcomes, presents an opportunity to make progress on regional problems if, in his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on September 28, 1999, Mr. Clinton counsels Mr. Ecevit to respond favorably to the new set of circumstances. Pointing out that on many of the open regional issues—the Aegean, Cyprus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate—progress is being frustrated directly by Turkey, the letter expresses the hope that the tragedy of the Turkish earthquakes has brought home to Turkey the advantages in reaching speedy resolutions of these issues.
For this to happen, the United States will have to make clear to the Turkish government, and especially to the Turkish military, which has the final say on all major decisions, that the U.S. will draw adverse conclusions from any continued refusal by Turkey to negotiate constructively. This is particularly necessary over Cyprus where Turkey is allowing Mr. Denktash to frustrate the G8 and UN Security Council’s initiative. Turkey needs to call Mr. Denktash to order.
ARMS SALES TO TURKEY
On November 10, 1999 the American Hellenic Institute sent to a letter to President Clinton drawing his attention to a report “Arming Repression: U.S. Arms Sales to Turkey During the Clinton Administration” produced jointly by the World Policy Institute and the Federation of American Scientists.
Funded by some of America’s most prominent and respected foundations, this comprehensive report provides impeccable and unassailable evidence of a U.S. policy that is directly counter to U.S. interests and is a deep stain on our values and principles.
The report confirms the message delivered by the AHI that the U.S. has and continues to arm Turkey at a time when, in the words of the State Department’s own Annual Human Rights Report, “extrajudicial killings, including deaths in detention from excessive use of force, ‘mystery killings,’ and disappearances continued. Torture remained widespread.”
The report makes a number of very sensible recommendations for a new approach toward Turkey. AHI endorses these and further calls upon the Administration to:
The full text of the letter may be found on the AHI web site.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: AHI 25TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER TO BE HELD ON SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 2000
The AHI 25th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2000 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Honorees at the gala who will be presented with awards are:
The Master of Ceremonies will be John Metaxas, correspondent and anchor for CNN Financial News.
The Annual Dinner is the major fundraising effort of the AHI during the year and we hope that all our members and friends can support this effort,” said AHI Chairman James Marketos.
This annual gala attracts persons from all over the country and international guests from Greece, Cyprus, Canada, and Venezuela. Invitations will be mailed during the middle of January 2000. For more information please contact the AHI at 202-785-8430 or 800-424-9607.
AHI INAUGURATES CHAPTERS IN BIRMINGHAM, ATLANTA AND BALTIMORE
On October 20, 21 and December 8, AHI executive director, Nick Larigakis, was the guest of speaker at the inaugural meetings of AHI chapters in Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA and Baltimore, MD.
In Birmingham, the meeting was hosted at the home of Demetrios and Rita Nakos. Despina Vodantis will serve as the AHI-Birmingham president.
In Atlanta, the gathering was hosted at the Landmark Diner and organized by the AHI-Atlanta chapter president, Professor C.G. Alexandrides.
In Baltimore, the meeting was held at the Acropolis Restaurant in Baltimore’s Greek Town. Organizing the dinner meeting were Dr. and Mrs. Van Lomis, who will be serving as the care takers of the chapter until the executive board has been appointed.
The AHI is seeking to develop chapters in as many areas of the country as possible. If anyone is interested in learning more about how to start a chapter in their city, please contact Nick Larigakis.
SUCCESSFUL HELLENIC HOUSE FUND-RAISER HELD IN PRINCETON, NJ
On Saturday, October 16, a Hellenic House fundraiser was held in Princeton, NJ. Hosting the event at their beautiful home were AHI members Ted and Kay Golfinopoulos. Mr. and Mrs. Golfinopoulos were very gracious in hosting the event. They made a special effort to greet everyone personally and their buffet table was plentiful. The event was well attended and helped to raise over $5,000 towards eliminating the mortgage of Hellenic House, which currently is at $260,000.
Special guest at the fund-raiser was John C. Metaxas, correspondent and anchor of CNN Financial News. The AHI appreciates John’s support of this event and for taking the time from his busy schedule to drive four hours from his home in New York with his wife to support our efforts. However, the long-distance award went to AHI member John Polydouris, who drove from Albany, NY to be there.
Serving on the Host Committee for this event were: Mr. & Mrs. Gus Andy, Mr. & Mrs. Adam Angelakis, Mr. & Mrs. George Angelakis, Ms. Sonia Bourodimos, NJ State Assemblyman Steve Corodemus, Theodore Golfinopoulos, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Kakoyiannis, John Kalogridis, Mr. & Mrs. Pavlos Kotrotsios, Constantine Larigakis, Dr. Theodore Lyras, Mr. & Mrs. Dimitris Manetas, Mrs. Katie Mamas, Mr. & Mrs. George Nyktas, Mr. & Mrs. Stefanos Nyktas, Drexel University President and Mrs. Constantine Papadakis, Mr. & Mrs. George Savidis, Mr. Chris Sevast, HANC President, Ted G. Spyropoulos, Mr. & Mrs. Panos Stavrianidis, Cyprus Federation President and Mrs. Savas Tsivicos, Dr. & Mrs. Sotirios Vahaviolos, and Mr. & Mrs. Jordan Yuelys.attend the event.
AHI wishes to especially thank Ted Golfinopoulos and Dr. Sotirios Vahaviolos for their hard efforts in helping to organize the event.
If anyone wishes to help organize or host a Hellenic House fund-raising event, they should contact Nick Larigakis.
THE NETWORK AT WORK
“A Greek American Renaissance Man”
Apart from being one of the wealthiest Greek American entrepreneurs, George C. Chryssis is also a philanthropist, poet and an author. George C. Chryssis’ professional career and community activism spans more than twenty years, beginning with his naturalization as an American citizen in 1978.
Mr. Chryssis was born in Crete, Greece, and was educated in the United States, receiving his Bachelor’s degree (1972) and Master’s degree (1977) in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. In 1979, after becoming an American citizen, Mr. Chryssis co-founded the Power General Corporation in Canton, MA. The corporation quickly became a successful manufacturing company of switching power supplies. He served there as Vice President of Operations & Engineering. While at the company, he also served as President of Auto-Circuits, a subsidary of Power General.
In 1985, Mr. Chryssis founded Intelco Corporation in Acton, MA. As President, CFO and Chairman of the company, Mr. Chryssis turned Intelco into a leading telecommunication test instrument manufacturing company. A true venture capitalist, Mr. Chryssis has since formed or co-founded five more companies: G&M Enterprises, Inc. (1991), two PCS telephone start up companies (1993), Collegescape, Inc. (1997) and the Arcadian Capital Management, L.P. (1999).
Mr. Chryssis’ dedication to the American and Greek American community goes beyond creating jobs for people. Mr. Chryssis is very active in charitable, educational, civic, community, professional and political affairs.
He is a member of many organizations including member of the Board of Overseers at Northeastern University, a member of the Northeastern Corporation, a member of the Development Committee, and a life member of the President’s Club at Northeastern University. Mr. Chryssis is also a Trustee of Anatolia College, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Mr. Chryssis is a Sustaining Director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing the concerns facing humanity in the new millenium. The list of Mr. Chryssis’ involvements goes on and on—too much to be covered in this article.
In the Greek American community, Mr. Chryssis says he is passionate in promoting, empowering and advancing the community, as well as strengthening the historic relations between the USA and Greece. He has served on the executive committees of many Greek Orthodox associations and regional Greek American organizations including as President of the Pancretan Association of American (1995-1997). At the political level, Mr. Chryssis has been working with AHI.
When Mr. Chryssis is not working on any one of his many professional and personal interests, he commits himself to philanthropic and charitable work. Considering philanthropy a “duty and obligation of every individual,” Mr. Chryssis is a leading benefactor of many charitable and educational institutions including (from a much longer list) the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the Special Olympics, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, St. Basil’s Academy and the Philoxenia House.
To round out the “Renaissance Man” qualities of Mr. Chryssis, the accomplished entrepreneur is also a prolific author and poet. He is the author of the popular technical book “High Frequency Switching Power Supplies,” published by McGraw-Hill. He has also authored three poetry books in Greek: “Echoes and Re-Echoes” (1993), “Heliotropia” (1996), which was also translated in English, and “Short Poems of Nostalgia” (1999). His poems have appeared in various other publications, including the volume “East of Sunrise” published by the National Library of Poets (1995) and the book “Baseball’s Golden Greeks.”
A Greek Symphony
The eagerly-anticipated U.S. premiere of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis’ new opera, Electra, will take place in a concert version at Carnegie Hall, in New York City on June 11, 2000, at 2 p.m., under the baton of AHI member Peter Tiboris. Mr. Tiboris will conduct the Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra, and a cast of Greek and Greek American singers, led by Greek American mezzo-soprano Reveka Mavrovitis in the title role.
In two separate and highly successful careers, Peter Tiboris has made an indelible mark on the world’s musical community. He has brought classical music to countless thousands of people, and given aspiring musicians the opportunity to perform on the world’s greatest stages and concert venues.
As a conductor, he has been hailed by The New York Times as “sizzling and precise,” and “vigorous…alert and energetic.”
Since forming MidAmerica Productions, Peter Tiboris has added nearly a dozen different enterprises to the MidAmerica umbrella, including Eckphrasis, Inc., a management company, Elysium Recordings, Inc., a CD label, Great Concerts Abroad, a producer of concerts in Europe, and most recently, Erato Productions, Ltd., a producer of concerts in Greece.
Peter Tiboris has led more than 100 concerts in New York, Washington, New Jersey, Vienna, London, Prague, Athens, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, and Poland, including 40 performances in Carnegie Hall.
In the U.S., Mr. Tiboris conducted the world premieres of works by Dinos Constantinides, and the U.S. premieres of music by Sergey Taneyev. His numerous New York premieres have included works by Beethoven, Bruckner, Dello Joio, Dohnany, Glass, Mascagni, Mozart, Nielson, Schnittke, Schubet, Tchaikovsky and Verdi.
Nearly a dozen of Maestro Tiboris’ musical interpretations have been preserved on disc, including eight recordings for Elysium Recordings, Inc., a label he founded in 1995. His most recent release is Music for Doubles, featuring music by Saint-Saens, Krommer and Martinu, recorded with members of the New York Philharmonic and the Bohuslav Martinu Orchestra of the Czech Republic, of which he is principal guest conductor.
A second-generation Greek American, Mr. Tiboris is a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In recent years, he has nurtured close ties with his ancestral homeland and with Greek artists of the diaspora. He has enabled several artists from Greece to make their U.S. debuts in concerts produced by MidAmerica Productions. This past year, he created a three-part series in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, “By and about Greeks: Hellenism and Music,” featuring the artistry of George Tsontakis, Theodore Antoniou and Dinos Constaninides. In 1998, he founded the annual Mykonos International Music Festival in Greece. During the summer of 2000, he is creating Opera Aegean, a training program and opera company based in Athens, Greece, and led by the legendary baritone, Sherrill Milnes.
For information about MidAmerica Productions or about the Opera Electra at Carnegie Hall on June 11,2000 call 212-239-4699; fax: 212-563-5587.
AMERICAN HELLENIC INSTITUTE BUSINESS NETWORK HOSTS NETWORKING BREAKFAST IN BALTIMORE
John C. Metaxas, correspondent & anchor of CNN Financial News, was the featured speaker at an AHI Business Network Breakfast in Baltimore, MD on September 25, 1999.
Over 80 persons attended the breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Hotel. Leading the Host Committee was Event Chairperson, Evangelos D. Sidou, Esq., The others on the Committee included: Kostas Alexakis, CEO, USL Financials, Nick Karambelas, Esq., Partner in the law firm of Sfikas, Karambelas & Akaras, LLP, Dr. and Mrs. Van Lomis, Dr. Ioanna T. Morfessis, President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, Dr. and Mrs. Pete N. Nickolas , and Philip Savopoulos, President of American Iron Works, Inc.
John Metaxas, in addition to explaining his duties with CNN and his perspective on current economic trends, delighted the audience with his sense of humor and his appreciation for his Hellenic heritage and how important it has been for him in his personal and professional development.
For persons interested in helping to host an event in their city, contact Nick Larigakis at 1-800-424-9607 or 202-785-8430.
AHI member Dr. Constantine Papadakis, President of Drexel University, has taken the city of “Brotherly Love” by storm, and all his hard efforts have not gone unnoticed. Dr. Papadakis was recognized by the following organizations this past fall:
Pappas Telecasting Expanding
In late September, AHI member Harry J. Pappas, President and CEO of Pappas Telecasting Companies announced that his company finalized the purchase of Value Vision International, Inc., (NASDAQ: VVTV) for $28 million. The deal means that Pappas Telecasting will receive the KVVV-TV full-power station, Channel 57, and K53FV low power station, serving the Houston, Texas market.
Pappas stated, “The purchase of KVVV-TV, a full power analog station, and the right to construct KVVV-DT as full power digital station, plus the outstanding coverage provided by K53FV, a so-called ”lower power” TV station located atop the Wells Fargo Plaza Building, the tallest building in Houston, essentially provides our company with 18 MegaHertz bandwith in the 11th largest market in the United States. This transaction significantly advances Pappas Telecasting’s strategic development plan. We are please to have dealt with such a dynamic company as Value Vision International.”
Pappas Telecasting Companies is America’s largest privately held or individually owned broadcast television group with 22 broadcast television services owned, operated or under construction in 17 markets covering nearly 15% of U.S. television households. The company is currently negotiating for purchase of additional stations in other markets.