American Hellenic Institute

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November 1, 2006— Volume 33, Number 234

GENERAL NEWS

Annual Greece and Cyprus Trip also Features Awards Dinner

From June 5-16, 2006, the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) leadership participated in its annual trip to Greece and Cyprus. The delegation held substantive talks with government officials and business leaders in both countries.

In Cyprus, the delegation consisted of AHI President Gene Rossides, AHI Advisory Committee members Kostas Alexakis and Nick Karambelas, AHI members Gus Andy, William Ragsdale and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. While in Athens, the AHI delegation included Messrs. Rossides, Alexakis, Andy, Ragsdale, Karambelas, and Larigakis. They were joined by AHI Athens Chapter President Ilias Malevitis, AHI Advisory Committee members Ted Spyropoulos, Jim Lagos and Peter C. Pappas, and AHI member Kristi Lauren Glakas, who was Miss Virginia 2005 in the Miss America Pageant. 

In Cyprus

(L-R) William Ragsdale, Kostas Alexakis, Nick Karambelas, President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Gene Rossides, Gus Andy, and Nick Larigakis.

The AHI delegation arrived in Nicosia on June 5, meeting over the next four days with: President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos; Bishop Nikiforos of the Kykkos Monastery; President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias; Mayor of Nicosia Michael Zampelas; U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher; Foreign Minister George Iacovou; Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris; Government Spokesman and Minister of Commerce and Tourism Yiorgos Lillikas; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sotos Zackheos; Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Dimitris Rallis; Director of the Press and Information Office Ioannis Solomou; and Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoulli, director of the Cyprus and Euro-Turkish Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The delegation also hosted a press conference arranged and moderated by Mr. Solomou of the Cyprus Press and Information Office. Participating on the panel during the press conference were Messrs. Rossides, Karambelas and Larigakis, who briefed reporters on AHI’s trip and on its many activities to promote the Cyprus issue.


(L-R) William Ragsdale, Gus Andy, Kristi Glakas, Peter C. Pappas, James Lagos, Gene Rossides, The President of Greece Karolos Papoulias, Nick Larigakis and Nick Karambelas.

While in Athens…

Meetings in Athens were held during the week of June 13-15 with: President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias; U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries; President of the Greek Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki; Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis; Director of the Cyprus Division of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador George Papadopoulos; and the Deputy Director of the Turkish Division George Poukamissas. Meetings were also held with Ambassador George Nicolaides, director of the North America Division of the Foreign Ministry, and Ambassador Michael Christedes, director of the Division of Countries in Southeast Europe.

A press conference featuring the AHI delegation, organized by AHI-Athens Chapter Executive Committee member Katerina Papathanasiou, was held on June 13 at the Building for Foreign Press. During the exchange with the reporters, the delegation explained AHI’s goals and objectives and the many activities that the organization engages in to promote a strong U.S. relationship with Greece.

Gene Rossides presents Alexandra Mitsotaki-Gourdain with the AHI Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award; next, the President of HANC Ted Spyropoulos, and AHI Athens Chapter President Ilias Malevitis.

2nd Annual AHI-Athens Awards Dinner

On June 14, the Second Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner took place at the Grande Bretagne Hotel. The dinner was held in cooperation with the Hellenic American National Council (HANC). Alexandra Mitsotaki-Gourdain, president of ActionAid Hellas, was honored for her exceptional work and commitment to public service on behalf of the less fortunate people of the world. Mitsotaki-Gourdain received the AHI Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award.


(L-R) William Ragsdale, Gus Andy, Kristi Glakas, Peter C. Pappas, James Lagos, Gene Rossides, The President of Greece Karolos Papoulias, Nick Larigakis and Nick Karambelas.

Also honored was Prodromos Emfietzoglou, chairman of Michaniki Group of Companies, for his “outstanding business achievements, dedicated philanthropy, and promotion of the Hellenic culture, education and Orthodox religion.” He received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award.

The evening began with remarks and greetings by Ilias Malevitis, President of the AHI-Athens Chapter, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, President of HANC Theodore Spyropoulos, and Nick Larigakis. Katerina Papathanassiou was master of ceremonies for the evening.

The dinner was attended by 300 people from all segments of Greek life, receiving significant press coverage by both print and television media in Greece. The evening concluded with a musical interlude by Nadia Weinberg and a special dance performance by the Katerina Rodiou Dance Group.

Capitol Hill Briefing Addresses “Cyprus: 32 Years Later”

On July 26, 2006, AHI hosted a briefing and luncheon on Capitol Hill for Congressional staffers titled “Cyprus: 32 Years Later—What Is Needed for a Solution.” Event speakers included Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies at the CATO Institute, Representatives Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI); Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Frank Pallone (D-NJ); and AHI’s Gene Rossides.

(L-R) AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and AHI President Gene Rossides at the Capitol Hill Briefing.

Speakers critiqued U.S. policy on Cyprus and with respect to Turkey. According to Dr. Carpenter, “the U.S. has acted with generalized indifference as Turkey enjoyed the fruits of its aggression.” Similarly, Representative McCotter called for a fundamental reexamination of U.S. relations with and policy on Turkey while Representative Pallone highlighted Cyprus’ positive relief role for war evacuees and refugees from the most recent Lebanese-Israeli war. Pallone stressed his hope that U.S. policy towards Cyprus will change, and also urged support of the American-Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act (H.R. 857).

Representative Maloney also commended Cyprus for its role in Lebanon and asserted that the U.S. should continue to play an active part in searching for a solution. She urged support of H.R. 322, which supports the European Court of Human Rights for its decisions in the Loizidou and Arestis property cases against Turkey. Gene Rossides concluded the briefing, providing analysis of the historical context of the problem, and an overview of several actions that can be taken now in the interests of the U.S. to advance the Cyprus problem and establish the U.S. as a true honest broker both in Cyprus and in the wider region.


Professor Charles Moskos.

Moskos Named AHIF Senior Fellow of Greek American Studies

The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) on June 1, 2006 announced the appointment of Professor Charles Moskos as AHIF Senior Fellow of Greek American Studies. Professor Moskos is professor emeritus of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Professor Moskos is the author of Greek Americans: Struggle and Success, and New Directions in Greek American Studies (with Dan Georgakas). He served on Archbishop Iakovos’ Commission on a Theological Agenda for the Third Millennium and chairs the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Fund in Greek American Studies. He is a recipient of AHI’s Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award and is a life-long member of AHEPA. These are just a few of Dr. Moskos’ many contributions and accolades.

Senate Legislation on American-Owned Property in Cyprus Introduced

On June 15, 2006, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) introduced the American-Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act (S.3520). This is the Senate version of House Resolution 857, which at the time of this newsletter’s publication had 32 co-sponsors. Joining Senator Snowe as an original co-sponsor is Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

If enacted, this bill will enable U.S. citizens who own property in the Turkish occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus to seek financial remedies with either the current inhabitants of their land or with the Turkish government. Since the 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, the property of Greek Cypriots and American nationals in this area was illegally taken, occupied and used by Turkish authorities and individuals.

AHI Executive Director Visits Souda Bay

On August 30, 2006, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis visited the 115 Hellenic Air Force Base at Souda Bay, Crete. The visit was arranged by Major Apostolos Gkletsos of the Hellenic Air Force. During his visit, Mr. Larigakis had the opportunity to meet with the Hellenic Air Base Commander Col. Ioannis Kondoyiannis. In addition to receiving a tour of the Hellenic Airbase, Mr. Larigakis was given a briefing and tour of the American sector, known as the U.S. Naval Support Activity.

Candidates Surveyed on Greek American Issues

In August 2006, AHI distributed the 2006 Questionnaire for Congressional Candidates running in the mid-term elections on November 7. The questionnaire scores Congressional candidates on their positions relative to issues important to the Greek American community.

The main policy themes addressed in the questionnaire included: Cyprus; the Aegean Sea boundary with Turkey; the Ecumenical Patriarchate; obstacles to Greece’s participation in the U.S.’s Visa Waiver Program; treatment of Albania’s Greek minority; The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) name issue; and U.S. policy towards Turkey.

Outside of the new Greek Embassy Chancery building (L-R) AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Greek Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandros Mallias.

Minister Bakoyannis Dedicates New Greek Embassy Chancery

On September 26, 2006, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis dedicated the new chancery building of the Embassy of Greece in Washington, DC. Included among the many dignitaries attending this event were Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Henrietta H. Fore. Also attending the dedication were AHI leadership and staff.

Long-Time Greek Embassy Press Counselor Bid Farewell


AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis (center) and AHI President Gene Rossides (right) presenting Achilles Paparsenos (left) with a small gift.

On October 11, 2006, AHI hosted a farewell luncheon for Greek Embassy Press Counselor Achilles Paparsenos at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Mr. Paparsenos is returning to Athens to assume his new duties as the director for Public Relations in the Secretariat General of Communications and Information.

During the luncheon, Paparsenos reflected on his time in Washington, and on his work over the years with AHI. “I would like to thank the American Hellenic Institute for what they have been doing for Greece, for Cyprus and for Hellenism for the last thirty years,” he said. “I’ve spent twenty-five years of my professional career in Washington. Fifteen years from ’75 to ’90 and another ten years from ’96 to 2006. And, I admire the work that Gene and Nick and the rest of the team have done for the Greek national causes and I’m especially grateful because they supported my work.”

Celebrated Sports Columnist Featured as “Celebrity Golfer”

Third Annual AHI Golf Tournament participants. Christine Brennan at center.

Christine Brennan, award-winning journalist and USA Today sports columnist, was featured as the Third Annual AHI Benefit Golf Tournament’s “Celebrity Golfer” on October 13, 2006. The tournament took place at the Greendale Golf Course in Alexandria, Virginia.

The team that came in first place at the tournament included George Sifakis, Trevor Chaplick, John Chaplick, Brendan Williams and Kay Tyler. Second place was awarded to the team of Michael Abbenante, Nick Limneos, George Glekas and Demetri Georgelakos. And the team of Gene Rossides, Dr. Constantine Nonas, Father Costas Pavlakos and Father Demetri Antokas came in third place. Awards were also received by Trevor Chaplick for “Longest Drive”, and by John Courembis for “Closest to the Pin”. Proceeds from the tournament go towards AHI’s broad range of activities.

AHI IN THE NEWS

Between May and August of 2006, AHI submitted two letters to the editor responding to articles in U.S. newspapers, while Gene Rossides also had seven op-eds published in a number of Greek American publications.Letters to the Editor

May 31, 2006: The Washington Times

AHI President Gene Rossides submitted a letter to the editor responding to a Washington Times article titled “Turkish Cypriot Chief Rips Isolation” (May 31). In his letter, Mr. Rossides pointed out that the so-called isolation policies, which the article attributes to the Republic of Cyprus, on the contrary were implemented by leaders in Ankara.

August 10, 2006: The New York Times

AHI’s letter responded to a New York Times editorial titled “A Truce for Lebanon” (August 7). The letter enumerated six reasons why it is not in the interests of the U.S., Israel or Lebanon to seek Turkish troops as part of an international peacekeeping force. These included Turkey’s status as an aggressor in Cyprus, as well as its prolonged violation of international law.

AHI OP-EDS

May 15, 2006: Greek News

Gene Rossides’ op-ed “Greek Americans and the 2006 Congressional Elections” underscored that these elections “offer Greek Americans an excellent opportunity: (1) to voice their views on foreign policy issues of concern to them, and (2) to influence the views of those running for elective office” because of the intense interest in both the House and Senate races.

July 15, 2006: The National Herald

In his op-ed “Cyprus: Does the State Department Really Want a Settlement?” Mr. Rossides addressed a June 8 speech delivered by Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried at the 17th Annual Cyprus Conference in Washington, D.C. Specifically, Fried’s speech illustrates “the State Department’s double standard for Turkey on the rule of law and basic American values which damages U.S. interests in general and U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus in particular.”

July 2006: The National Herald (July 29) and Greek News (July 31)

In the op-ed “Cyprus History: Turkish Aggression and Occupation, British Colonialism and State Department Illegalities,” Mr. Rossides traced Cyprus’ colonial history and Turkey’s aggression on the island.

August 12, 2006: The National Herald

Gene Rossides’ op-ed “Turkey-Ataturk and U.S. Policy: Fundamental Reexamination is Needed,” refutes arguments made in a June 19 address by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman to the Eighth Turgut Ozal Memorial Lecture of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The op-ed set the record straight on a number of Edelman’s remarks regarding Turkey, which contained false and misleading statements with serious errors of fact and omission.

August/September 2006: The National Herald
(August 27) and Greek News (September 1)

The “Turkish Aggression Plans in Iraqi Kurdistan and in the Aegean” op-ed by Gene Rossides highlighted key points listed in the August 2006 issue of Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. This issue details Turkey’s aggression plans for operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, and in the Aegean. The op-ed also enumerated actions that the U.S. government should take promptly with respect to Turkey’s current and potential future aggressions.

September/October 2006: The National Herald (Sept. 9), Greek News (Sept. 11), Hellenic Voice (Sept. 20), Hellenic News of America (Oct. 1)

An op-ed by Gene Rossides appearing in these four publications highlighted the background to and significance of the AHI 2006 Questionnaire for Congressional Candidates, prepared by AHI staff. 

September/October 2006: The National Herald (Sept. 23), Greek News (Sept. 25), Hellenic News of America (Oct. 3) and Hellenic Voice (Oct. 11)

Mr. Rossides’ op-ed refuted a September 10 New York Times editorial as a prime example of the newspaper’s appeasement of Turkey for decades to the detriment of U.S. interests and to the detriment of Greece and Cyprus. The op-ed enumerates and refutes the editorial’s misleading statements and omissions.

AHI BRIEFINGS & NOON FORUMS


Nicholas G. Karambelas.

Aegean Sea Treaty Regimes and U.S. Law

On April 25, 2006, AHI hosted a Noon Forum featuring Nicholas Karambelas, AHI Legal Counsel and Attorney at Law at Sfikas & Karambelas, LLP. The discussion was on “Aegean Sea Treaty Regimes and U.S. Law.” Karambelas emphasized that Greece obtained its legal title to and sovereignty over the land and waters of the Aegean Sea through international treaties.

Thea Halo Discusses the Pontian Greek Genocide

Thea Halo.

On May 25, 2006, AHI hosted a Noon Forum in remembrance of the Pontian Greek Genocide by Turkey featuring Thea Halo, author of Not Even My Name. Her presentation was titled “Memory: The Soul of History—The Greek Pontian Genocide by Turkey.” Most prominently, Halo highlighted the important role played by people’s recollections of their personal histories and memories during times of upheaval such as that which occurred during the Pontian Greek Genocide.


Emmanuel E. Velivasakis.

Battle of Crete Anniversary Marked

AHI hosted a Noon Forum on May 30, 2006 to mark the anniversary of World War II’s historic Battle of Crete. The speaker was Emmanuel E. Velivasakis, president of the PanCretan Association of America, and he discussed “The Battle of Crete: Nazi’s Elite War Machine Stopped by Crete’s Non-Combatant Population.”

Dr. Van Coufoudakis.

Pogrom Against Istanbul Greeks Remembered

On September 7, 2006, AHI hosted a Noon Forum in commemoration of the 1955 pogrom against the Greeks of Istanbul. The speaker was Dr. Van Coufoudakis, rector at Intercollege in Nicosia, Cyprus. The topic of the presentation was “The Forgotten Pogrom of 1955 and Turkey’s Systematic Extermination of its Greek Ethnic Minority.”


James Marketos.

Smyrna 1922 Catastrophe Commemorated

On September 14, 2006, AHI hosted a Noon Forum in remembrance of the Smyrna Catastrophe of 1922. The speaker was James Marketos, AHI chairman and attorney at law at Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP. The presentation, titled “George Horton: An American Witness in Smyrna,” recounted key points in the then-consul of Smyrna’s account of the tragic events that befell the city’s Greek and Armenian populations.

(L-R) AHI Advisory Committee Member Kostas Alexakis, AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, AHI President Gene Rossides, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Nicos D. Efthymiou, Director of International & European Affairs Department Anna Bredima-Savopoulou, Managing Director Theodore E. Veniamis, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis and AHI Chairman James Marketos.

 

VISITORS TO HELLENIC HOUSE

Union of Greek Shipowners Delegation

The Union of Greek Shipowners delegation, led by the President of the Union of Greek Shipowners Nicos D. Efthymiou, visited AHI on May 8, 2006. The one-hour meeting centered on items of mutual interest regarding U.S.-Greece relations and shipping. These included shipping regulations and EU policy, Aegean maritime borders, as well as environmental and constitutional issues.

 

STATEMENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

May 19, 2006

On the 92nd Anniversary of the Pontian Greek Genocide by Turkey, AHI released a statement of support for the Pontian Greek American community’s efforts to secure full recognition, proper commemoration, and a just resolution to the tragedy.

July 28, 2006

AHI issued a press release announcement highlighting the U.S. government’s expression of appreciation for Cyprus’s assistance in the evacuation of Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war with Israel. Reference links were provided to information released by the Republic of Cyprus’s Embassy in Washington and to a press release transmitted by Congressman Frank Pallone’s (D-NJ) office.

September 12, 2006

A press release was distributed notifying AHI members and friends that Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, introduced House Resolution 999. This resolution urges Turkey to meet the standards of the European Union for the protection of human rights by respecting the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Nine of their colleagues joined them as original co-sponsors of the resolution.

LETTERS TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

May 11, 2006

An AHI letter to Speaker of the House Dennis J. Hastert (R-IL) contested the proposed $162 million Foreign Military Sale to Turkey of 50 AGM-84K Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles-Expanded Response, in addition to associated equipment and services. AHI’s letter urged Representative Hastert to object to this impending sale on behalf of Congress.

May 17, 2006

AHI sent a letter to Representatives Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) expressing disappointment on their decision to host an event on Capitol Hill on May 19, 2006 commemorating Ataturk’s 125th birthday.

May 24, 2006

AHI’s letter to President Bush transmitted the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements. The letter emphasized the U.S.’s vital interests in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, including significant energy, commercial and communications resources that transit the region. Also emphasized were the valuable strategic roles of Greece and Cyprus, and that a permanent solution to the Cyprus issue be urgently sought.

June 1, 2006

Gene Rossides sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the fatal collision of Greek and Turkish F-16 jets over the Aegean Sea on May 23, 2006. The Turkish aircraft illegally entered into the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) without having previously submitted flight plans to the appropriate Greek authorities, violating international air traffic regulations. It also endangered the safety of commercial flights and imperiled the lives of innocent civilians.

July 31, 2006

AHI’s letter to President Bush set forth six reasons why it was not in the interests of the U.S., Israel or Lebanon to have a Turkish contingent as part of a multinational UN peacekeeping force between Israel and Lebanon.

ACTION ALERTS

May 26, 2006

AHI learned that a group of 20-22 students from San Diego State University in San Diego, California were scheduled to participate in a six-week exchange program, starting July 8 and organized by the so-called “Eastern Mediterranean University” in Cyprus within occupied Famagusta. AHI members were urged to contact the president of the university, asking that the academic agreement with “Eastern Mediterranean University” be cancelled.

June 1, 2006

Members and friends were urged to join AHI’s Congressional Contact Team. In order to more effectively communicate and influence members of Congress, AHI aims to increase its grassroots network across the country as the most effective means of influencing members of Congress.

July 26, 2006

AHI members and friends were asked to urge Travelocity.com to stop sponsoring Richard Bang’s blog/advertising campaign, called “Richard Bang’s Adventure: Expedition Macedonia.” The web site hosts misinformation on the true history of Macedonia while accepting FYROM’s version of history and distorting ancient Greek Macedonian history.

July 27, 2006

Following Cyprus’s important role in evacuating people from war-torn Lebanon, AHI’s action alert asked recipients to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to: (1) sign a letter to the president of Cyprus thanking his country for its role in assisting the evacuation of U.S. citizens and others; and (2) cosponsor House Resolution 953, which thanked Cyprus for its role in this evacuation.

July 28, 2006

Similar to AHI’s July 27 action alert, recipients were asked to contact their senator and ask him/her to sign a letter being distributed in the Senate thanking Cyprus for its role in the Lebanon evacuation. The letter was initiated by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

August 21, 2006

AHI was notified by the office of Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) that a potential delegation consisting of Congressional staffers and their families was invited by the Friends of Turkey to visit the illegally occupied area of Cyprus in August via the illegal Tymbou airport. An action alert was issued asking AHI members and friends to contact their Representative and ask that he or she not permit staffers to participate in such a visit as it would violate U.S. and international law.

September 18, 2006

AHI informed action alert recipients that the AHI 2006 Congressional Questionnaire on U.S. foreign policy issues regarding Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey was sent to all incumbents and challengers in the House and Senate. Grassroots leaders and members were encouraged to contact the incumbent and challenger in their Congressional district to answer the questionnaire in order to define their positions on issues important to the Greek American community.

AHI BUSINESS NETWORK AT WORK

MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS


Gus Andy.

Award-Winning Architecture, and a Call for Justice

For almost 40 years, AHI member Gus Andy—an architect, city planner and hotelier—has owned and operated historic Cape May, New Jersey’s La Mer Inn. An ocean side property which boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic, luxury ocean front suites and nearly 25,000 visitors each year, the inn has grown by leaps and bounds since Andy first purchased the property in 1969. At that time, it was just a 36-unit motel.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Florida’s School of Architecture, a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Oklahoma, and the innate drive to succeed characteristic of many Greek immigrants, Andy built up La Mer to where it is today: a 133-unit hotel which includes new luxury ocean front suites, pool and ocean side accommodations, a fitness center and conference rooms, to name just a few of the amenities.

“We are very contemporary, and we do have very nice architectural aesthetic,” points out Andy of La Mer’s forward-thinking vision, while noting at the same time that, “Our property provides a feeling that is compatible to the historic vintage of Cape May.” Attesting to this, La Mer recently won the Beautification Award from the Cape May Chamber of Commerce for ensuring that the aesthetic elements of La Mer complement the historic look and feel of Cape May’s architecture. La Mer also won the Best Construction in Energy Conservation Award from the Chamber of Commerce just this year.

Andy came to the United States from the small town of Velvento in northern Greece as a young boy, growing up early on in Miami. Yet his Hellenic roots remain strong. He is actively involved in issues important to the Greek American community, recently sending letters to each member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requesting that the U.S. pressure Turkey to remove the barbed wire fences that have made Famagusta a ghost town for more than 30 years. In his letter, he also urged that Greek Cypriots be allowed to reclaim their land and property there, which was illegally taken. He calls the situation in Cyprus “a contradiction that’s just beyond belief.”

Andy has also played an active role in AHI, participating in numerous delegation trips to Greece and Cyprus over the past several years, organized grassroots efforts at the local level, and provided other significant support to the organization.

When asked which issues most pique his interest, Andy points out that it is “the issues of true injustice, where we are standing on the wrong side of the issue,” citing Cyprus and the current situation in Iraq as examples. He underscored the importance of speaking out on these injustices.

One thing remains constant throughout both Andy’s work and in his involvement in international issues. That constant is the importance of doing things the right way. He always looks to stay ahead of the curve and continually improve La Mer for his guests. On the policy side, his various involvements in supporting the rule of law also attest to this commitment. It is thus that Gus Andy exemplifies a passion for doing things right, for adhering to conscience, and for supporting justice.


George Tsetsekos.

Raising the Bar in Business Education

Ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is one sign that an individual, a group or an organization has “arrived” in the world of business. On September 29, 2006, George P. Tsetsekos, Dean of Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, and members of the Drexel Executive MBA class had the honor to bring the day’s stock market to a close.

Making his way from the town of Nafplion, Greece where he was born, all the way to the highly respected position he now holds in the world of academia, AHI member George Tsetsekos has indeed more than arrived. He has set a standard in education, and continues to push the bar in the world of business education.

Most recently, Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business earned distinction as one of the top schools for entrepreneurs in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur magazine. In a joint survey conducted by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur of over 700 schools, LeBow’s undergraduate program ranked sixth in the nation.

Furthermore, the college’s MBA in Pharmaceutical Management was honored as one of the Top 25 distance learning providers worldwide by Financial Times. Its undergraduate business programs placed 58th in Business Week’s inaugural ranking of undergraduate business schools. And LeBow was also ranked 100 among U.S. Business Schools in U.S.News & World Report’s 2007 America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Tsetsekos has stood at the helm of this progress and has played no small part in achieving these distinctions since he took on the role of dean at LeBow in 2001.

As a leader in the field of education, Tsetsekos credits early fundamental building blocks—including family and Hellenic values—as sources of his drive to work hard, to achieve and succeed in all he has done on a professional and personal level.

As a strong family value, “The things that motivated me to get more involved in education is the desire and the upbringing I received at home for always learning more and being more and more educated,” pointed out Tsetsekos. “Also, hard work, dedication, and focus were some of the things that I learned from my background.”

Tsetsekos also noted that “listening to people’s different opinions and views and trying to develop a comprehensive view…these are the democratic things that we learned in Greece.” As a leader in education, “[T]hese types of values are important in academia, where you need to entertain diverse views and opinions. You need to have the capacity and the ability to listen, hear, appreciate and respect diverse views,” he underscored.

While these values formed Tsetsekos’s base of success, he has not left them behind and he continues to do what he can to promote Hellenism in his work today. For example, “I try to find as many opportunities as possible to say to the world that Greece has brought democracy and Greece has initiated so many new things in the world” he said.

Putting words to action, LeBow has a cooperative education program with the University of Crete and with companies that operate in Crete. Furthermore, Greek American alumnus Christopher Stratakis has established an endowed professorship in the area of corporate governance during Tsetsekos’s tenure as dean.

Examining just this portion of George Tsetsekos’s many achievements, one can see that he stands by the LeBow College of Business’s motto to “Learn Here, Lead Anywhere.” He has taken the fundamental building blocks and values he acquired throughout his life and applied them to become one of the Greek American community’s foremost leaders in education.

MEMBER NEWS

Nick Boyias’ movie Quinceañera won the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award this year. Boyias was executive producer.

Alkis Panagoulias, former professional soccer player in Greece and former head coach for the Greek and American national soccer teams, was interviewed for the New York Times’ article “Soccer Report: The Long, Hard Struggle to Mold an American Team” (September 27).

Harry J. Pappas, president and CEO of Pappas Telecasting Companies, was inducted into Broadcasting and Cable Magazine’s Hall of Fame at the magazine’s 16th Annual Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on October 23, 2006.

Lee E. Plakas, managing partner of Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos & Raies, has been recognized for his work in civil litigation in The Best Lawyers in America (2007 ed.). This is the fifth year in a row that Plakas has received this recognition.