American Hellenic Institute

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October 31, 2005 — Volume 32, Number 232

GENERAL NEWS

American College of Greece Awards Rossides Honorary Degree

President John S. Bailey, Gene Rossides and, looking on, His Eminence Archbishop Christodoulos (seated).

American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Gene Rossides was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the American College of Greece during the school’s commencement ceremony on June 25, 2005 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus. Presenting the award was American College’s president, Dr. John S. Bailey.

Mr. Rossides was honored for his “life’s work and dedication to principle and hard work for noble causes amidst the ambivalence of modern political discourse and action…his long and varied career in sports, law, politics, and political as well as community action which serve as an inspiration to younger generations of Americans and Hellenes, and for all people of good faith and good intentions.”

In accepting the award, Mr. Rossides stated: “This award is particularly welcomed because it recognizes the important work of the American Hellenic Institute and its members and staff.”

First Annual AHI-Athens Awards Dinner

(L-R) Greek Parliamentarians Yiannos Papantoniou and Apostolos Kaklamanis, President of HANC Ted G. Spyropoulos, President Stephanopoulos, President AHI-Athens Chapter Ilias Malevitis, AHI President Gene Rossides, and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios.

The inauguralAHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner was hosted on June 7, 2005 at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in cooperation with the Hellenic American National Council (HANC). AHI honored former President of the Hellenic Republic Konstantinos Stephanopoulos for his exemplary career in public service spanning four decades, for his distinguished statesmanship, and for his indelible contribution in helping Greece to forge ahead into this millennium. For his many outstanding achievements, he was presented with the AHI Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award by Gene Rossides. Mr. Ted Spyropoulos also presented President Stephanopoulos with the HANC Medal of Freedom.

(L-R) Sophia Karagianni, President Stephanopoulos, Rozana Papadopoulos, and Nick Larigakis.

The evening began with a blessing from Archbishop Demetrios and continued with remarks and greetings from Ilias Malevitis, President of the AHI-Athens Chapter, Ambassador Charles Ries, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Theodore Spyropoulos, President of HANC, and Nick Larigakis, AHI Executive Director.

The dinner was a complete sell-out, attended by 230 people. Distinguished guests at the inaugural event were former ministers Yiannos Papantoniou, Theodoros Pangalos and Grigoris Niotis, and the former President of Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis. Also attending from the Greek government were Deputy Foreign Ministers Takis Skandalakis and Evripidis Stylianidis. Vassilios Magginas also attended.

From the United States, a number of AHI and HANC members came exclusively for this affair. And accompanying Archbishop Demetrios was Greek American businessman and philanthropist Michael Jaharis, Executive Committee Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council. The evening concluded with a musical interlude by Nadia Weinberg.

AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus

(L-R) Nick Karambelas, Nick Larigakis, Gene Rossides, George Paraskevaides, President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Prof. C. G. Alexandrides, Dr. Takey Crist, Kostas Alexakis, and Charalambos G. Ioannides.

From May 29 - June 10, 2004, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) leadership participated in its first of two annual trips to Greece and Cyprus. The delegation held substantive talks with government officials and business leaders in both countries. Topics discussed included but were not limited to the Cyprus problem and the implications of the most recent version of the Annan plan, U.S.-Greece relations, investment and business opportunities in Greece and Cyprus, Greece’s post-Olympics economic outlook, and continued Greek airspace violations by Turkey.

Cyprus

(L-R) Gene Rossides briefing the Governor of Central Bank of Cyprus Christodoulos Christodoulou on AHI’s activities.

Over the course of four days in Nicosia, the delegation met with: President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos; Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Christodoulos Christodoulou; Mayor of Nicosia Michael Zampelas; President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias; U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson; Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos; AHI major benefactor and business leader George Paraskevaides; Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives Nicos Anastasiades; Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lillikas; Government Spokesperson Kypros Chrysostomides; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sotos Zackheos; and Director of the Press and Information Office Yiannakis Solomou.

Thessaloniki

After concluding its visit to Cyprus, the delegation proceeded to Thessaloniki where meetings were held on June 2 and 3 with: U.S. Consul General Demitra Pappas; Mayor of Thessaloniki Vasilios Papageorgopoulos; Managing Director of Helexpo Themis Kartsiotis; Northern Greece Coordinator of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Nikos Tsavdaroglou; President of Anatolia College Richard Jackson; and President of the American Farm School Manuel Stefanakis.

Athens

(L-R) Kostas Alexakis, Erika and Ted Spyropoulos, Gene Rossides, President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, Nick Larigakis, Prof. C.G. Alexandrides, Ilias Malevitis, and Elias Papadopoulos.

The AHI delegation proceeded to Athens after concluding its visit to Thessaloniki. Meetings were held during the week of June 5-10 with: former President of the Hellenic Republic Konstantinos Stephanopoulos; President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias; Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis; Minister of Defense Spilios Spilotopoulos; Minister of Public Order Georgios Voulgarakis; Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyianni; U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries; President of the Greek Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki; Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs Vassilios Magginas; Governor of the National Bank of Greece E.G. Arapoglou; the incoming Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Alexandros Mallias; and Deputy Foreign Ministers Panagiotis N. Skandalakis and Evripidis Stylianidis.

In addition to meetings held throughout the week, the delegation was initially welcomed to Athens with an exceptional brunch reception hosted on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5 by AHI Athens members Mr. and Mrs. Philip Morakisat their home. Over 40 guests came to support AHI and to learn more about the organization.

Delegation Participants:

In Cyprus, the delegation consisted of AHI President Gene Rossides, AHI Advisory Committee members Kostas Alexakis and Nick Karambelas, and AHI members Costas Alexandrides, Dr. Takey Crist and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. In Thessaloniki, the delegation included Messrs. Rossides, Larigakis, Alexakis, and Alexandrides. AHI member Elias Papadopoulos joined them. In Athens, the AHI delegation included Messrs. Rossides, Larigakis, Alexakis, Alexandrides, and Papadopoulos. They were joined by AHI Athens Chapter President Ilias Malevitis, AHI Advisory Committee member Ted Spyropoulos and his wife Erica Spyropoulos.

Joint Capitol Hill Conference analyzes U.S. Policy on FYROM

In cooperation with the Pan-Macedonian Association, Inc., AHI hosted a conference on Capitol Hill titled “FYROM: The Need for Reassessment of U.S. Policy in the Balkans” on April 14, 2005. The conference was moderated by Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Rector of Intercollege in Cyprus. Panelists included: Dr. Nikos Zahariadis, Director of the Department of Government at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Gregory Copley, President and Editor-in-Chief of Defense & Foreign Affairs magazine; and Nick Larigakis, AHI Executive Director.

Members of Congress who attended the event and addressed the audience included (in order of appearance): Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

Panelist spoke on the following topics:

  • “Recent Developments in the Republic of Macedonia” (Dr. Zahariadis)
  • “U.S. Policy in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean: Stop Choosing Sides; Start Choosing Strategic Interests” (Mr. Copley)
  • “Sources of Balkan Instability” (Dr. Coufoudakis)

Nick Larigakis also discussed reasons why it is not in the best interests of the U.S. to recognize FYROM under the Greek name of “Macedonia,” citing Greece as a stable and reliable ally in the region, and Macedonia’s Greek origins.

2005 Greek American Policy Statements Released

In May, the 2005 Greek American Policy Statements were released, prepared by AHI and endorsed by the major Greek American organizations. On an annual basis, thePolicy Statements set forth positions on the issues of concern to Greek Americans based on what is in the best interests of the U.S. Endorsing organizations include: the Order of Ahepa, the Hellenic American National Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, the Evrytanian Association of America, and AHI.

Policies and themes specifically highlighted by consecutive press releases sent throughout the month of May 2005 fell under the following titles:

  • “The U.S. Should Establish a ‘Special Relationship’ with Greece”
  • “The Cyprus Problem”
  • “Aegean Sea Boundary”
  • “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
  • “Turkey’s Suppression of the Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate”
  • “Critical Review of U.S. Policy Towards Turkey Needed”
  • “Compensation to Turkey’s Victims”
  • “Albania”
  • “Armenia”
  • “Policy Themes” and “Legislative Priorities”

The Policy Statements highlight the significant changes taking place in the political, security and economic landscape of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. They stress the strategic importance of Greece and Cyprus as regional partners of the U.S. As vigorous, prosperous and stable democracies, these countries are a source of regional leadership and they offer the U.S. an opportunity to advance its national interests in the region.

The 2005 Greek American Policy Statements can be viewed in full on AHI’s Web site at www.ahiworld.org/policy_statement.html, or by contacting AHI headquarters for a copy at (202) 785-8430.

2nd Annual Golf Tournament

On September 17, 2005, AHI hosted its Second Annual AHI Benefit Golf Tournament at the Penderbrook Golf Club in Fairfax, Virginia. The winning team in the scramble format competition consisted of Michael Abbenante, John Garrity, Kay Tyler and Jay Hoffman. Finishing in second place was the team of Peter Petropoulos, John Johnson and Mike Papadopoulos. Third place went to the team of George Sifakis, Alan Fabian, Phil Musser and Stephen Scontras. All of the members of these winning teams were awarded trophies for their outstanding efforts. Lending his support by coming out and participating in this year’s golf tournament was Larry Michael, Voice of the Washington Redskins.

This year’s sponsors included: Alan Fabian, Axela Government Relations LLC, Bouras Industries, Inc., Bullfeather’s Restaurant, C & R Realty and the Courembis Family, Capital Hilton, Circle Companies, Commerce Bank, Euclid Financial Group, Inc., Euclid Mortgage Services, LLC, Gene Rossides, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, Inc., Dr. Jim Faller, La Mer Motor Inn, Market Development Group, Inc., MediLink Homecare, Metro 29 Diner, Mykonos Grill, NICO Properties Group, Olympic Family Restaurant, Pappas Restaurants, Peter J. Pappas, Peter J. Zikos Insurance Company, Regan, Halperin & Long LLP, Sfikas & Karambelas LLP, Stephen G. Yeonas Company, T.G.S. Petroleum, The Hartford and Tom Sarris Orleans House.

Aegean Sea Boundaries Legislation Introduced

On April 21, 2005, Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) reintroduced H.Con.Res.137 regarding Turkey’s claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea.

H.Con.Res.137 expresses the view of Congress that the boundaries between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean have been established once and for all and that islands and islets on the Greek side, including the islets of Imia, are the sovereign territory of Greece.

H.Con.Res.137 incorporates language initiated by AHI and first introduced November 7, 1997 by Rep. Michael Pappas (R-NJ) in the 105th Congress. Original co-sponsors of the current resolution are Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA).

AHI Welcomes New Staff Member

In May 2005, Alex Aliferis became the newest staff member at AHI, taking on a position as the organization’s legislative assistant. In this role, he is responsible for working with members of Congress and their staff on a daily basis.

Aliferis is from Northern California born to Greek immigrant parents. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. With a mix of political and media experience, Aliferis points out, “I’m thrilled to be in Washington working for the American Hellenic Institute. I hope to contribute to the Greek American community with my knowledge and investigative reporting experience.”

Since beginning at AHI in June, Aliferis has visited almost 100 Congressional offices to discuss issues relevant to AHI’s agenda. Through these efforts, he has been successful in gaining co-sponsors for various pieces of legislation and increasing AHI’s visibility on the Hill.

Fundraising Events Support AHI

Executive Director Nick Larigakis at AHI fundraiser with Ted and Erika Spyropoulos.

In the month of June, AHI members hosted two fundraising receptions in support of AHI. First on June 18, 2005, AHI members Nicholas and Irene Kyriakopoulos graciously opened their home in Potomac, Maryland for a reception in support of the organization.

And on June 25, 2005, AHI Chicago-area members and friends attended a similar reception. The event was hosted at the home of AHI Advisory Committee member and long time supporter Ted Spyropoulos and his wife, Erika. Both events were successful in raising funds and visibility for AHI in their respective host locations.

Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Elected to AHIF Board of Directors

On June 14, 2005, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos was named as the newest member of the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) Board of Directors. Mr. Tsakopoulos and his family have demonstrated their strong commitment to supporting the Greek American community through various endeavors, including the endowment of the Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies at Columbia University’s Hellenic Studies Program in the Classics Department. Mr. Tsakopoulos completed the endowment with a gift of $1 million on April 14, 2005.

“We are honored to welcome Kyriakos Tsakopoulos to the AHIF Board of Directors. He brings a unique perspective as we continue to expand our goals and objectives. He has a long tradition of being involved in the Greek American community. We look forward very much to working with him,” said AHIF President Gene Rossides in welcoming him on board.

AHI-NOVA Chapter News

Chris Zirps (L) and Achillles Paparsenos.

The AHI Northern Virginia (AHI-NOVA) Chapter met on July 22 at the home of Diane and Jim Demakis. Captain Chris Zirps resumed the presidency of the chapter at the meeting. The featured speaker was Mr. Achilles Paparsenos, Press Counselor at the Embassy of Greece. He spoke about Greece in the European Union (EU) and its challenges and opportunities. Mr. Andy Ioannou also gave a brief presentation on his experiences at the time of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, and the importance of Cyprus’s accession to the EU.

AHI IN THE NEWS

Odyssey Magazine

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis was interviewed for an Odyssey Magazine article in the July/August 2005 edition, titled “The changing face of the AHI.”  In the article, Larigakis discussed how AHI has branched out over the years, expanding its internship and publications programs, its annual dinners, and its business network offerings.

The Washington Times Publishes AHI Letters

May 28, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides’ letter to the editor responded to an article on Cyprus by Mehmet Ali Talat. According to AHI’s letter, Mr. Talat presented a one-sided view of Cyprus. He did not mention why 76 percent of Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan Plan on April 24, 2004, and he distorted reality regarding Turkish Cypriot economic isolation. On the contrary, “The Greek Cypriots faced a plan that created permanent division, not unification. The Annan plan was undemocratic, unworkable and not financially viable,” noted Rossides in his letter.

July 18, 2005

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis’ letter to the editor cited and corrected numerous inaccuracies in Osman Ertug’s July 6, 2005 article titled “Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.” Most significantly, Mr. Ertug erroneously implied that only the Turkish Cypriots desire unification because “the Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favor of the [Annan] plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it.” Mr. Larigakis responded, “For the record…the Greek Cypriots had no real choice but to vote a resounding no by 76 percent. The plan was simply not democratic, functional or economically feasible.”

September 13, 2005

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis’ letter to the editor responded to inaccuracies in Osman Ertug’s September 4 letter “Trouble in Cyprus.” Mr. Larigakis asserted that the two communities in Cyprus could again peacefully coexist, and contested the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots were thrown out by force by their Greek Cypriot partners in 1963. The letter also supported the Greek Cypriot’s rejection of the Annan plan as a declaration of their democratic rights against an undemocratic, unviable and economically unfeasible solution.

October 12, 2005

AHI’s letter to the editor, by Executive Director Nick Larigakis, responded to Helle Dale’s October 5 article titled “At the crossroads.” In Larigakis’ response, he points out that Dale’s article “is another example of attempting to invoke the ‘Christian vs. Muslim’ element as it relates to Turkey’s accession into the European Union…[T]he simple truth is that there are basic fundamental prerequisites for gaining membership into the Union. Turkey falls short in many.”

October 22, 2005

AHI Chairman James Marketos’ published letter responds to mistaken allegations made in an October 9 letter to the editor by Osman Ertug about Greek Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandros P. Mallias. Marketos points out that Ambassador Mallias’ call for a “functional” solution to Cyprus is no “code word” for Greek Cypriot dominance over Cyprus, as Ertug wrongly asserts. Instead, “The solution that eventually unifies the island and brings lasting peace must not only be just. It also must be viable.”

AHI Op-Eds Appear in The National Herald

The following op-eds, written by AHI founder Gene Rossides, were published in the Greek American daily The National Herald:

July 30, 2005: “Turkey’s War Crimes”

Citing the European Commission on Human Rights’ July 10, 1976 report on Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, the op-ed outlines Turkey’s war crimes in its invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974, and violations that continue to date.

August 20, 2005: “Israeli Settlers Out of Gaza—Turkish Settlers Out of Cyprus”

Referencing the Geneva Conventions, section III, article 49 on colonization by an occupying power, Gene Rossides asserts that “All the Jewish and Turkish settlers/colonists are illegal under the Geneva Convention of 1949 and should be removed.” Therefore, just as Jewish settlements in Gaza were fully dismantled, illegal Turkish settlers in the northern occupied territories of Cyprus should also be removed.

October 8, 2005: “Facts Are Clear and Not In Dispute”

Gene Rossides’ discusses the U.S. State Department’s errors regarding U.S. relations with Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, highlighting a list of actions and inactions by the department in violation of the rule of law.

TRNC Newspaper Misinformation Confirmed

AHI uncovered misinformation that appeared in a June 25, 2005 article of the TRNC daily Cyprus Times, titled “Reports that Taiwanization of the occupied areas is starting with investments by Bear Stearns Bank.”

The article reported that Timothy Ash, Director of Developing Markets for Bear Stearns, led a delegation of investors to the occupied north. Upon contacting Mr. Ash to clarify specifics about this trip, AHI discovered that he flew into Larnaca and met with Greek Cypriot politicians. He did not meet with Turkish Cypriot officials. Ash also visited the occupied north only “to assess the area, not to invest or create business there,” as the TRNC daily erroneously implied.

In addition to misstating the dates of Ash’s trip, neither the Cyprus Times nor any other news agency from Cyprus contacted him to ask him about his trip. Further, Ash confirmed that, “We are not doing trade with the north,” noting that Bear Stearns is in full compliance with international law and will not invest in the occupied part of Cyprus until there is a future settlement.

National Geographic Magazine

On July 25, 2005, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis sent a letter to the editor of National Geographic Magazine regarding the June 2005 issue which includes an insert map of Europe incorrectly identifying the nation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as that of “Macedonia.” National Geographic Magazine responded with a letter thanking AHI for its input, but also noting that their maps “portray de facto situations.” Further, “Should Macedonia accept Greece’s suggestion to change it’s name, our maps will change accordingly,” National Geographic added. AHI’s letter and National Geographic’s response appear in full atwww.ahiworld.org/press_releases/092305.html.

AHI Letter Responds to Washington Times Editorial

On September 19, 2005, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis submitted a letter to the editor responding to a Washington Times editorial titled “France, the spoiler.” In Mr. Larigakis’ letter, he notes that rather than criticizing France, “The French should be congratulated for raising the issue of Cyprus when President Chirac said, ‘[I]t is impossible to open negotiations with a country, which does not recognize one of the Union’s members.’ By Turkey not recognizing another member of the EU, which she aspires to join, what does that say for the very core principles that govern the EU?”

AHI BRIEFINGS AND NOON FORUMS

Prospects for Cyprus in the EU

Amb. Euripides L. Evriviades.

On May 23, 2005, AHI hosted a briefing and luncheon on Capitol Hill for Congressional staffers on “Cyprus in the EU: One Year Later—Prospects for Reunification.” The speaker was Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Euripides L. Evriviades.

Ambassador Evriviades focused his discussion on: 1) Cyprus and its EU perspective; 2) the prospects for peace in Cyprus in the new political context of the EU; 3) a glimpse of the current discussions on Turkey’s aspirations to join the EU and how these may relate to Cyprus; 4) some troublesome developments in the bilateral relationship between Cyprus and the US; and 5) the path forward for Cyprus.

Cyprus Problem Examined on Occasion of Invasion Anniversary

Professor Van Coufoudakis.

On July 21, 2005 on the occasion of the 31st year of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, AHI hosted a briefing and luncheon on Capitol Hill for Congressional staffers. The speakers included Professor Van Coufoudakis, who discussed “Cyprus: An Assessment of the Annan Plan—Prospects for a Solution,” and foreign policy expert Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies at the CATO Institute. His presentation was titled “Cyprus and Washington’s Hypocrisy.”

In his comments, Dr. Carpenter stated that, “It is important that U.S. foreign policy have a clear moral content.…[T]he policy toward Cyprus has always been a glaring exception to this professed concern about moral principles.” Similarly, Dr. Coufoudakis noted that, “Over the last thirty years, meetings between successive presidents of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot leadership under the ‘good offices’ of the UN Secretary-General failed to produce results.” Causes cited were the failure to implement UN Security Council resolutions, the prevalence of strategic, economic and political considerations over a functional and viable solution, and the intransigent and consistent policies of successive Turkish governments that were based on the assumption that the Cyprus problem was solved in 1974.

“The negotiations were also affected by the fact that all major concessions came from the Greek Cypriot side,” Coufoudakis also pointed out.

50th Anniversary of Turkey’s 1955 Pogrom

Gene Rossides.

Gene Rossides was the featured speaker for AHI’s September 7, 2005 Noon Forum, which focused on the topic of Turkey’s Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955 and the destruction of the Greek community of Istanbul. He discussed political events and interests that led up to the pogrom. He focused also on the pogrom’s aftermath, effects of which can still be felt today in Turkey’s unfair policies against its minorities and its continued violations against Greece and Cyprus. Much of his commentary centered around Dr. Speros Vryonis, Jr.’s monumental study, The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul, a more than 700 page book published this year by greekworks.com of New York. Examined in the Noon Forum were Britain’s role in the pogrom, the U.S. response, and lessons for today.

“Battle of Crete” Anniversary

Mr. George C. Chryssis.

On April 13, 2005, AHI hosted a Noon Forum to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Crete. The speaker was Mr. George C. Chryssis, the former president of the Pancretan Association and currently president and CEO MISTsoft Corp. The title of his presentation was “The Battle of Crete: Fight for Freedom.”

AHI is very honored to have had this opportunity to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Crete, which was a very significant and some might say pivotal battle of World War II,” said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. “The Greek nation’s strong resolve and determination to withstand for weeks the powerful Nazi war machine assisted immeasurably in Hitler’s defeat in the Soviet Union….[I]t’s important to continue to highlight these contributions whenever possible,” said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.

Eleni Gage Highlights her New Book at Signing Event

Eleni Gage with her father Nicholas Gage and AHI staff after the presentation.

On June 23, 2005, AHI hosted a book signing for Eleni Gage and her new book, North of Ithaka: A Journey Home Through A Family’s Extraordinary Past. Ms. Gage gave a personal account of her experiences trying to rebuild her ancestral home in the village of Lia in Epirus, Greece. The village was the setting for her father’s (Nicholas Gage) renowned book Eleni (1982). Preceding the presentation, Ms. Gage signed copies of her book for those who attended, and was also interviewed for the Voice of America’s Greek Service.

Trends in American Higher Education in Greece Discussed

On September 8, 2005, AHI hosted a Noon Forum featuring John S. Bailey, president of the American College of Greece in Athens. The discussion was titled “American Higher Education in Greece: Challenges and Long-Lasting Benefits.” Mr. Bailey gave a detailed presentation of facts and trends regarding Greek higher education, including the Greek and European legislative environments, efforts by the new conservative government to improve public universities, and the massive exportation of undergraduate and graduate students from Greece.

VISITORS TO HELLENIC HOUSE

Ambassador Alexandros Mallias

On October 6, 2005, AHI leadership and staff had the opportunity to welcome the new Greek Ambassador to the U.S., Alexandros P. Mallias, to Hellenic House. The meeting, which lasted for more than one hour, centered on items of mutual interest regarding U.S.-Greece relations. Attendees included: AHI Advisory Board Members Kostas Alexakis, Jim Marketos, Nick Karambelas, AHI member Manny Rouvelas, AHI President Gene Rossides, Executive Director Nick Larigakis and staff.

Minister George Alogoskoufis

(L-R) Jim Marketos, Stathis Paizis, Plutarchos Sakellaris, Nick Karambelas, Minister Alogoskoufis, Gene Rossides, Helen Louri-Dendrinou and Nick Larigakis.

On September 23, 2005, Greek Minister of Economy and Finance George Alogoskoufis, accompanied by a small delegation of his staff and advisers, visited AHI during their trip to Washington for the 2005 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. While at Hellenic House, the Minister met with members of AHI leadership, including Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, Chairman James Marketos, AHI President Gene Rossides, Executive Director Nick Larigakis and the AHI staff.

During the one-hour meeting, the discussion centered on items of mutual interest pertaining to potential U.S.-Greek economic cooperation and alliances, as well as ways to increase bilateral economic ties through U.S. investments in Greece. Minister Alogoskoufis emphasized the growth potential of European Union economies and especially the role Greece can play as a “gateway” to the region. He also pointed out that Greece is in a strategic and economic position for growth following the Olympic Games and recent economic reforms targeting privatization.

LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT

May 26, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to President George W. Bush regarding Turkish Prime Minister’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House, scheduled for June 8, 2005.

The letter contained an enclosure detailing the Cyprus issue, and it substantiated that Turkey has not been a helpful ally of the U.S. Also enclosed were the 2005 Greek American Policy Statements.

October 25, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides’ letter highlighted a number of issues for President Bush as he prepared for his October 27 meeting with FYROM Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski. These points included the State Department’s misguided recognition of FYROM on November 4, 2004, and other facts to set the record straight regarding the FYROM name issue.

LETTERS TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

May 19, 2005

AHI sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that strongly opposed a Congressional delegation trip through the illegal Tymbou airport in occupied northern Cyprus. While AHI strongly supports congressional visits to Cyprus, including those to the occupied area, these trips must be conducted in a manner consistent with international law and U.S. law.

May 26, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to Congressman Edward Whitfield (R-KY) that expressed disappointment at his forthcoming trip to the illegally occupied area of Cyprus, entering through Tymbou airport. The trip was cited as a breach of U.S. and international law. Further, AHI pointed out that such an action lends endorsement of the illegal occupation and violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus.

June 22, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the State Department’s website on Cyprus as false and misleading. The information currently contained on the site amounts to a rewrite of history and a cover-up of the State Department’s unlawful conduct in 1974, and its continuing efforts to mislead the public and Congress on the Cyprus problem.

July 20, 2005

On the occasion of the 31st year of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus, AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling for an apology from the State Department to the Greek Cypriots for the U.S.’s unlawful conduct in 1974 which led to the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey.

October 26, 2005

AHI’s letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice protested her forthcoming October 28 meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat as a hindrance to finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem. The meeting encourages Mr. Talat’s intransigence while also promoting the perception that the U.S. has politically upgraded Talat’s illegal regime.

STATEMENTS ISSUED

May 3, 2005

AHI President Gene Rossides issued a statement criticizing the latest version of the Annan plan in response to Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Laura Kennedy’s trip to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, Brussels and London. The purpose of her trip, as stated on April 26 by State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli, “is to consult with the parties on the way forward regarding a Cyprus settlement, as well as on bilateral issues.” AHI’s statement highlighted the major problems with the Annan plan, which was cited as an example of blatant political and economic corruption.

July 29, 2005

AHI congratulated Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for publicly stating her opposition to the State Department’s endorsement of Congressional travel to Cyprus via the illegally-occupied part of the island. In her July 29 statement before the Senate, she notes, “I have recently learned that the State Department is encouraging members of Congress and their staffs to initiate certain visits to the country through an airport in the illegally occupied area of the country—an airport that is not authorized by the Republic of Cyprus as a legal port of entry….The actions of the United States must encourage and foster reunification, not push the communities apart with divisive actions that challenge the sovereignty of the legitimate government of Cyprus.”

August 16, 2005

On the 31st anniversary of the second wave of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in 1974, AHI President Gene Rossides released a statement to call attention to Turkey’s war crimes, and to condemn then-Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger as an accessory to these crimes. The statement detailed reasons for Kissinger’s complicity.

ACTION ALERTS

May 6, 2005

AHI issued an action alert regarding a May 11, 2005 hearing on “The State of U.S.-Turkish Relations,” held by the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats. While AHI advocates hearings to review U.S.-Turkey relations, the backgrounds of the witnesses scheduled to testify would only serve to promote Turkey’s interest. AHI members and friends were urged to contact members of the Subcommittee and ask them to submit questions to witnesses dealing with specific violations by Turkey that threaten U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.

May 16, 2005

AHI’s action alert called attention to a U.S. Congressional delegation visit to the illegally occupied area of Cyprus through the illegal entry port of Tymbou airport during the first week of June. Entry through this port violates international and U.S. law, and thereby also establishes a bad precedent. AHI members and friends were urged to contact the six representatives identified as having expressed interest in the trip, and to request that they not participate if they planned to do so via Tymbou.

May 17, 2005

An “Action Update” confirmed that two members of Congress, Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), would not participate in a June delegation trip to occupied Cyprus through the illegal entry port of Tymbou airport (see May 16 Action Alert).

July 13, 2005

AHI was notified by Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) of another potential delegation trip to occupied Cyprus through the illegal Tymbou airport in August. The trip would be comprised of Congressional staffers and their families, invited by the Friends of Turkey organization. The visit would constitute a second violation of the rule of law by Congressional personnel (see Action Alert issued on May 16). AHI members and friends were urged to contact their respective representatives to make them aware that if they or their staff were invited to participate, they should decline.

August 4, 2005

During the August Congressional recess, AHI members and friends were urged to contact their representatives regarding:

  • Co-sponsoring H.R. 857 (American-Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act);
  • Co-sponsoring H.Con.Res. 137 (expressing the sense of Congress regarding Turkey’s claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea);
  • Co-sponsoring H.Res. 411 (urging Turkey to comply with all European Union standards and criteria prior to its accession to the EU);
  • Joining the Hellenic Caucus if she or he is not a member;
  • Refusing to participate, if invited, to a trip to the illegally occupied area of Cyprus directly through the illegal Tymbou airport; and
  • Thanking Representatives if she or he is a member of the Hellenic Caucus or a co-sponsor for either H.R. 857, H.Con.Res. 137, or H.Res. 411.

October 7, 2005

AHI notified members and friends that Laura M. Toy, a Michigan State Senator, offered Resolution 59 in the Senate of the Michigan State legislature. The resolution Recogniz[es] and commend[s] the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian people upon the occasion of Prime Minister Lade Buchkovskis official visit to the United States of America and the great state of Michigan. Action alert recipients were notified to contact other members of the Michigan Senate not to support Resolution 59 it if comes up for a vote.

BUSINESS NETWORK AT WORK

U.S. Housing Outlook

Dr. Andreas Pericli.

AHI hosted a Business Noon Forum on “Housing and Economic Outlook” at the Hellenic House on June 22, 2005 featuring Dr. Andreas Pericli, Chairman and CEO of Euclid Financial Group. Dr. Pericli gave a presentation on the indicators for buying a  house, economic conditions, and housing prices. He confirmed that the U.S. economy continues to expand and housing markets should remain strong. Dr. Pericli, who is  responsible for all final investment and trading decisions, risk management and quantitative analysis at Euclid Financial Group, recently helped to launch the company’s mortgage services subsidiary.

AHI Provides Regular Networking Venues in D.C. and New York

AHI continues to host its monthly business networking events in both Washington, D.C. and in New York. Washington’s “First Wednesday of the Month Group” regularly meets at Ozio Restaurant and Lounge in the downtown area. Special thanks goes to proprietor and AHI member George Chryssis for regularly providing the meeting venue for the events, which take place in the early evenings.

AHI New York members and their guests meet regularly after work at local Greek restaurants in the city for the “Second Monday of the Month” business network event, organized by AHI New York Chapter President Colonel Andonios Neroulias.

Please see AHI’s Web site at www.ahiworld.org for additional information on these events, or contact headquarters at (202) 785-8430 or by email at [email protected].

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Vision is Key to Advancing UCSD Greek Studies Program

George Karetas.

In recent years, American higher education has witnessed an increase in Greek studies programs at a number of highly rated universities throughout the country. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) merits special attention in this area. UCSD recently created the Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Chair in Ancient Greek History and the Alkiviadis Vassiliadis Chair in Byzantine Greek History with donations totaling more than $1 million. With funding nearly complete, UCSD also expects to establish an endowed chair in Modern Greek History. When the $500,000 goal for the chair is met, UCSD will become the only university in the U.S. to have endowed faculty chairs for all three major eras of Greek history.

San Diego’s Greek American community was instrumental in making this achievement possible through its generosity. In December 2003, George Anagnostopoulos, interim dean of UCSD’s Division of Arts and Humanities, approached AHI member George Karetas to discuss the possibility of launching fundraising efforts for Greek studies chairs within San Diego’s Greek American community. The rest, as they say, is history.

Karetas has been a leader in San Diego’s Greek American community, as exemplified both through his successful catering business, his involvement in AHEPA Chapter 505, and other community activities. Karetas is owner of Premier Food Services, Inc. and Carriage Trade Catering. The latter is a full-service catering company that is the largest and oldest local independent caterer in San Diego County. It has also received many accolades, including the Sammy Award Winner for Best Caterer in San Diego. As former past president of AHEPA 505 and current chairman of the scholarship committee, Karetas’ close relationship and involvement was instrumental in sparking the early fundraising efforts for the UCSD Greek History Chairs.

Karetas and Anagnostopoulos made their first fundraising presentation to a general meeting of Chapter 505. “We were successful in persuading the chapter to make the first contribution [of $75,000], a significant contribution, to this fundraising effort,” notes Karetas. “And that first positive step is what really, I feel, gave fire to the movement.” A significant contribution was then made by the San Diego Hellenic Cultural Society, followed by additional contributions that were granted in rapid succession.

“It was within a year and a half that we received commitments of pledges to fully fund the first two chairs in our project,” Karetas points out. “Now we’re within $150,000 of fulfilling the required funding for the third chair, the Modern Greek History Chair. We hope that we’ll be able to raise those pledges within the next few months.”

When asked about key points that he and Anagnostopoulos made during their presentations to community members, three critical arguments were made. First, UCSD is a well-respected, top university both in the U.S. and worldwide in which to establish programs of this nature. Second, the endowments are in perpetuity, which means that once created, the chairs are permanent.

Finally, the two emphasized how instrumental these chairs would be in giving voice to the Hellenic heritage, not just to the Greek American community, but to all those interested in learning more about Greek history and culture. Karetas notes, “That was an attractive element of the vision, that we would have these scholars in our midst who would be able to attract dignitaries and other scholars to come to San Diego and present their views on Greek history and all that is associated with Greek history: culture, music, theater, philosophy, struggle.”

Of this remarkable fundraising effort, Karetas observes that “There’s a strong sense of pride because our community has come together to support these endowments and I feel as though it certainly distinguishes the members of our community.”

When asked what advice he might offer to other Greek American communities throughout the U.S. that wish to undertake similar initiatives, above all it is important to “act on your vision,” Karetas points out. “Don’t be afraid to act on the vision….And that means talking the vision up, and having people involved that can also make a difference. A few key people, the lead donor or the lead donors, people inside the system.”

Individuals interested in helping to fund the UCSD endowed faculty chair in Modern Greek History are invited to call UCSD’s Arts and Humanities division development office at (858) 822-6618.

Working To promote Greeks of the Diaspora and Hellenism

Ted Spyropoulos.

As a successful businessman and community leader, AHI Advisory Committee member Ted G. Spyropoulos epitomizes the American Dream. In 1974, just ten years after his arrival in the U.S. from Greece, he founded T.G.S. National Wholesalers, an automotive wholesaler that operates in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Since then, he has become a partner at A&T Oil Company (1976-present), is president of both T.G.S. Petroleum Co., Inc. (1981-present) and CAM 2 International Manufacturing and Marketing (1985-present). He also serves as Director of GTE Engineering, Swiss (1995-present) and as Chairman of Hermes Expo International (1998-present).

Added to his significant business achievements are the many contributions he has made to the Greek American community and in promoting Hellenic issues more broadly. A glance at a list of the many organizations in which he participates is one testament to his dedication to preserving Hellenism in the diaspora. His Greek American affiliations include the Hellenic American National Council (president), the ENOSIS of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois (president), the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (president and founder), the Spyropoulos Scholarship for Hellenic-American Students (chairman and founder), AHEPA (member), AGEI Hellenic Interests of Greek Americans (member), Technopolis (founding member), and Plant Your Roots in Greece, Inc. (president).

Among these, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) is perhaps the most direct organizational vehicle through which Spyropoulos promotes the interests of the diaspora community. The core philosophy of HANC includes a close cooperation with all other organizations within the Greek American community, including AHI, in order to preserve and promote Hellenic ideals. It currently represents 23 federations and 1,830 associations located in various parts of the U.S. and Canada.

In discussing the main initiatives of HANC, Spyropoulos notes, “The subjects that we are engaging in are two: First, the safeguarding and promotion of Hellenic paideia in the U.S. Second, our youth, the children of the second, third and fourth generation.” Working towards the first initiative, HANC recently organized a two-day conference during which participants explored means of supporting and promoting Greek language education in the U.S. Towards this end, Spyropoulos points out, “Now we are about to advance to an establishment of a Regional Council of Education in America as well as regional committees in order to support the existing Greek American schools and to create charter schools with bilingual curriculum.”

Spyropoulos also summarized the goals of HANC’s second initiative to focus on children of the second, third and fourth generations of Greek immigration. “Our aim through the institutes of Hellenism is to intellectually prepare well-rounded young people who will assume leading roles in the activities of the state and society both in the U.S. and internationally. We should help them create a network through which they can communicate and support each other,” he says.

Spyropoulos feels it is important to contribute back directly to Greece as well. He does this in part through the Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation, which has been gaining momentum of late. The program works to counteract the destruction to the Greek landscape by fire and other natural disasters, and ultimately aims to fully reforest the hills and mountains of Greece by 2010.

According to Spyropoulos, “Our vision is to see Greece green again, the way we the Greek immigrants in America remember it. The main idea of this organization is to combine the ancient Hellenic tradition of respect of nature with the Olympic ideal of volunteerism. We promote the spirit of reconciliation of man with not only the social but with the natural environment as well.”

The foundation is now in the process of establishing a corresponding organization in Greece, and lists among its members Hillary Rodham Clinton, Archbishop Demetrios of America, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece, former Archbishop of Great Britain Methodios, former Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Grivas, and Greek Minister of Tourism Dimitris Avramopoulos.

These examples are just a small sample of Ted Spyropoulos’ many activities and contributions to the Greek American community and to Hellenism more broadly. On a philosophical note, Spyropoulos points out, “Hellenism urges, ‘Man, know thyself.’ In order to approach these diachronic concepts we should not rely on the laurels of our ancestors. If we really want to honor them, we should study the Hellenic heritage and we should continue their work.” This he does in word and deed, while at the same time inspiring others to conduct themselves in a like manner through the example he has set.