November 1, 2007— Volume 34, Number 236
Rossides Elected Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens
The American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) President Gene Rossides was elected a Visiting Member of the Academy of Athens in the field of legal science, branch of ethics and political science. The formal reception and ceremony took place at the Academy of Athens on October 30, 2007, where the President of the Academy Professor Panagiotis L. Bokotopoulos presented Mr. Rossides with the Academy’s certificate and pin. Academy Member Professor Epaminondas Spiliotopoulos, president of the section of legal science, then presented Mr. Rossides’ work. Following, Mr. Rossides gave a speech entitled “The United States and Cyprus and the Role of the Greek American Community,” which is available on AHI’s web site at http://www.ahiworld.org/press_releases/110807b.html.
Celebrating 20 Years at AHI
August 1, 2007 marked the 20-year anniversary for AHI’s Executive Director Nick Larigakis with the organization.
“I can’t believe how quickly these last twenty years have passed. I truly feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful organization and to be associated with so many incredible and dedicated individuals,” said Mr. Larigakis. “One can’t help but be inspired when you witness the continuous and unrelenting dedication and passion that AHI’s founder, Gene Rossides, brings to our causes on a daily basis. He serves as an example for all of us. I look forward to continuing to serve our community and to pursue the issues that are important to strengthening U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus,” he also noted.
Delegation Trip to Greece, Cyprus Yields Results
From June 4–June 15, 2007, AHI’s leadership participated in its annual trip to Greece and Cyprus, holding 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, Nick Karambelas, and James Lagos, as well as AHI members Ambassador Clay Constantinou, Dr. Takey Crist, Argeri Lagos, Yanni Lagos, Thomas Lagos, Matina Lagos, Dr. Marios Panayides, Katerina Papathanassiou and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. In Athens, the AHI delegation included Messrs. Rossides, Alexakis, Karambelas, Crist, Larigakis, Thomas Lagos, James Lagos and Matina Lagos. They were joined by AHI members Costas Alexandrides, Ph.D. and Dr. George Moutsatsos.
The AHI delegation arrived in Nicosia on June 4. Over the course of the next four days, delegates met with President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas, President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Deputy Mayor of Nicosia Stelios Ieronimidis, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Alexandros Zenon, Director of the Political Affairs Division for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Evripidis Evriviades, Director of Service for Overseas Cypriots Ambassador Stavros Epaminondas, U.S. Embassy Chargé Jane Zimmerman, Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides, Chairman of the International Relations Committee for the House of Representatives Averof Neophytou, Director of the Press and Information Office Yiannakis Solomou, Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus Eleftherios P. Ioannou, and Archimandrite Isaias Kykkofis of the Kykkos Monastery.
Another highlight of the Cyprus portion of the trip was a press conference, hosted by the delegation and arranged by Mr. Solomou of the Press and Information Office, that featured Gene Rossides, Nick Karambelas and Nick Larigakis. The panel participants briefed reporters on the trip to Cyprus and provided them with an overview of the many activities that the AHI pursues to promote the Cyprus issue in the U.S.
In Athens, meetings were held during the week of June 11–June 15 with the Greek Parliament’s President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Christos Folias, Mayor of Athens Nikitas Kaklamanis, the Minister of Culture Georgios Voulgarakis, Secretary General for the Ministry of Foreign AffairsHarry Rocanas, the directors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for areas of interest to AHI, and Vasilios Michaloliakos, Deputy Minister of National Defense at the Greek Pentagon.
In addition to meetings with government officials, the delegation visited the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS) campus on June 11 where they discussed areas of possible cooperation between AHI and ACS with the Superintendent Dr. Stefanos Gialamas.
Later that day, the members of the delegation were invited to attend a reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan. During this reception, remarks were given by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, former Prime Minister of Greece Constantinos Mitsotakis, and former Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Andrew Natsios.
Another highlight of the week was the delegation’s visit on June 13 to the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW) and its culture centre, Hellenic Cosmos, which was founded by AHI honoree Lazaros D. Efraimoglou. Later that evening, Mr. Efraimoglou and Anna Synodinou-Marinaki were honored at the AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner. (See page 1).
Concluding the two-week trip on June 15 was the delegation’s visit with Minister of Culture Voulgarakis during which the Parthenon Marbles issue was discussed. The delegation returned to the U.S. with renewed and reinvigorated ties to government officials and leaders in both Greece and Cyprus.
3rd Annual AHI-Athens Awards Dinner
On June 13, 2007, the Third Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner was held at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens during the annual AHI delegation trip to Greece. This year, AHI honored Anna Synodinou-Marinaki with the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for her “exceptional artistic achievements and tireless promotion of culture in the ancient Hellenic tradition of public service.” Lazaros D. Efraimoglou, president of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, was also presented the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award for his “outstanding business achievements, public service and promotion of the Hellenic culture.”
The evening began with a musical interlude performed by the Chorus of Aigiou under the direction of Leon Charalambopoulos, followed by a welcome by Ilias Malevitis, president of AHI-Athens Chapter. Others who delivered remarks during the evening were Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, and Theodore Spyropoulos, coordinator and alternate president of SAE (World Council of Hellenes Abroad). The master of ceremonies for the evening was AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.
The dinner was a complete sell-out, attended by 300 people representing all segments of Greek life and received very good press coverage by both the print and TV media in Greece. Also among the attendees that evening were a number of members of Hellenic Parliament. The dinner organizing committee included Ilias Malevitis, George Economou, Katerina Papathanassiou, Lia Kanari, Margarita Karli, and Nick Larigakis.
AHI Executive Director Reaches Out to Greek American Community
During the past few months, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis traveled to different areas of the country spreading the mission of AHI and seeking support from the grassroots community for legislation that has been introduced in Congress regarding issues of concern to the Greek American community. These issues cover Cyprus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, FYROM, and the Visa Waiver Program for Greece.
On May 14, Mr. Larigakis began a West Coast trip to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco where he met with community leaders and activists, as well as editorial writer Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) district director.
Then on June 15, Mr. Larigakis traveled east to Greensboro, N.C. at the invitation of AHI member and President of the Evrytanian Association Kostas Kozakos, to attend the 63rd Annual Convention of the Evrytanian Association of America “To Velouchi” where Mr. Larigakis had the opportunity to address the conference General Assembly.
Mr. Larigakis also assisted the Pan Macedonian Association to organize a one-day seminar in Washington as part of their annual convention gathering in Baltimore. Then on June 28, he traveled to Springfield, Massachusetts to attend the 40th Convention of the PanCretan Association of America.
In wrapping up his tour, Larigakis said, “It is imperative that we continue to educate and seek the support of the Greek American grass roots community in order to be more effective in gathering support for our issues on Capitol Hill.”
Professor Speros Vryonis, Jr. Appointed AHIF Senior Fellow
On July 16, 2007, the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) appointed professor Speros Vryonis, Jr. as AHIF Senior Fellow for Hellenism and for Greek and Turkish Studies. Professor Vryonis is professor emeritus of history at the University of California, former Alexander S. Onassis professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization and director of the Alexander S. Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies, and former director of the Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism, among other academic activities.
AHI Questionnaire Sent to Presidential Candidates
On May 23, 2007, AHI’s “Questionnaire for 2008 Presidential Candidates” was submitted to the eight Democratic candidates, ten Republican candidates and three other unannounced Republican candidates. The questionnaire was submitted to determine the candidates’ positions on the various issues of concern to Americans of Hellenic descent. The questions deal with U.S. relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey as they bear on overall U.S. interests in the region.
Democratic candidate Bill Richardson was the first candidate to respond to the questionnaire, also issuing a statement specifically related to Cyprus on June 27, 2007. In his statement, he pointed out that “the continued illegal occupation of Cyprus by Turkey adversely affects stability in the region and violates basic human rights.” Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich has also submitted his questionnaire responses.
A Search for a Roadmap to Peace in the Balkans
On June 27, 2007, the Pan-Macedonian Association, Inc. in cooperation with AHI, hosted a conference titled “A Search for a Roadmap to Peace in the Balkans” at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington.
The morning session panel, which provided an historical perspective, was moderated by Dr. Potitsa Grigorakou from Athens, and it included Professor Pierre Lerich of the Centre d’Archeologie pour l’Orient in Paris, France. A speech was also read on behalf of Dr. Osmund Bopearachhci of the Centre d’Archeologie, E.N.S. in Paris, France who could not attend.
The afternoon session panel on the geopolitical angle of the issue was moderated by AHI President Gene Rossides. Panelists included Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., Gregory R. Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association in Alexandria, Virginia, and Dr. George Papavizas, a writer who resides in Beltsville, MD.
In recent months, AHI and AHI members submitted three letters to the editor to respond to inaccuracies in U.S. media reports, while Gene Rossides also had ten op-eds published in a number of Greek American publications. For complete versions of the referenced items, please visit our Web site at <www.ahiworld.org/press_releases/>.
Letters to the Editor
May 21, 2007
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) posted on its Web site a detailed letter, initiated by AHI, responding to the June 2006 Council Special Report No. 15 titled “Generating Momentum for a New Era in U.S.-Turkey Relations.” The report was written by Steven A. Cook and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and it contained a number of positions and recommendations which AHI believed were not in the best interests of the U.S. AHI’s rebuttal letter was written by Patrick N. Theros, former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Dr. Athanasios Moulakis, and Gene Rossides, president of AHI, who attended the meeting with Mr. Cook.
July 18, 2007
The Washington Times published AHI member Nina Gatzoulis’ letter to the editor, titled “The truth about Macedonia,” which responded to the article “Name game blame” (July 11 “Embassy Row” column). Arguing against FYROM Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki’s claims that his country be officially designated as “Macedonia,” Gatzoulis asserted that “The name ‘Macedonia’ is an indisputable part of Greece’s historic and cultural legacy, and the Hellenic world will never give up its ownership.”
July 21, 2007
A commentary article by AHI member and Vice President of the American Hellenic Council Aris Anagnos, titled “Turkey and Europe,” was published in the July 21 issue ofThe Washington Times. Mr. Anagnos discussed the suitability of Turkey as a possible member of the European Union (EU), asserting that “Turkey has to walk the narrow path to meet [the EU accession requirements] and the sooner we tell the truth to our Turkish friends, the better it will be.”
October 7, 2007
AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis’ commentary article “A Macedonia misnomer?” was published in The Washington Times. In his commentary, he noted the negative outcomes of President of the 62nd United Nations General Assembly and FYROM national Srgjan Kerim’s reference to FYROM as the “Republic of Macedonia.” In concluding his commentary, Mr. Larigakis noted, “The question remains however, will the U.S. apply its political will, which is essential for real progress to occur?”
“Presidential Nomination Campaigns in Full Swing”
May 21, 2007: In The National Herald, The Hellenic Voice, Greek News, Hellenic News of America
“Questions for the 2008 Presidential Candidates”
June 4, 2007: In The National Herald, The Hellenic Voice, Greek News, Hellenic News of America
"Turkey, the Kurds and the U.S.”
In The National Herald (June 23), The Hellenic Voice (June 27), Greek News (June 25), Hellenic News of America (July issue)
“The CIA’s Release of Documents”
In The National Herald (July 7), Greek News (July 9)
“Presidential Nomination Campaigns Staff and Finances”
In The National Herald (July 21), Greek News (July 30), The Hellenic Voice (August 1)
“Turkey’s Aggression, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid Policy in Cyprus with Kissinger’s Complicity”
August 14: In The National Herald, The Hellenic Voice, Greek News, Hellenic News of America
“Documentary Proof of Kissinger’s Complicity in Turkey’s Aggression Against Cyprus”
In The National Herald (September 1), The Hellenic Voice (September 19), Greek News, Hellenic News of America
“Congressman Zach Space is Being Targeted”
In The National Herald (September 15), Greek News (September 17), Hellenic News of America (October 1)
“Turkey’s Negotiating Tactics and George Orwell’s 1984”
In The National Herald (September 29), Greek News (October 1), The Hellenic Voice (October 3), Hellenic News of America (October 1)
“Congressman Gus Bilirakis is Being Targeted”
In The National Herald (October 20), Greek News (October 15), Hellenic News of America (November issue)
Cyprus: Latest Efforts in Pursuit of a Settlement
An AHI luncheon and briefing on Capitol Hill, titled “Cyprus: Latest Efforts in Pursuit of a Settlement,” was presented by the U.S. Ambassador Andreas Kakouris on May 10, 2007. The ambassador’s remarks covered the current situation in Cyprus, where the Republic of Cyprus hopes to go, efforts for a Cyprus settlement, and various other issues currently on the radar screen.
Battle of Crete Remembered
On May 25, 2007, AHI hosted a Noon Forum at Hellenic House to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Crete. The speaker was Dr. Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou and the title of his presentation was “The Battle of Crete and Greece’s Role in WWII: American Perspectives Then and Now.”
33-Year Anniversary of the Cyprus Problem
On July 24, 2007, AHI hosted an afternoon briefing in commemoration of the 33-year anniversary of the Cyprus problem on Capitol Hill. Speaking at the event was Commander Peter G. Stamatopoulos, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy, who discussed “The Role of Cyprus in the Assisted Departures of American Citizens from Lebanon in July of 2006,” and AHI President Gene Rossides, who spoke on “Cyprus: An Important Partner for U.S. Strategic Interests in the Region.”
The Asia Minor Catastrophe
On October 5, 2007, AHI hosted a Noon Forum featuring Dr. Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou of St. John’s University to speak on the topic of “America, Greece and the Asia Minor Catastrophe: Then and Now.” The Noon Forum was held in commemoration of the Smyrna catastrophe of 1922.
“The Tragedy of Greek Politics”
Professor Vassilis Lambropoulos presented a lecture, titled “The Tragedy of Greek Politics: 50 Years Since Nikos Kazantzakis’ Death,” at a Noon Forum held on October 11, 2007. Professor Lambropoulos is C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek at the University of Michigan, teaching in the Departments of Classical Studies and Comparative Literature.
Perspectives from Famagusta
AHI welcomed as its October 22, 2007 Noon Forum speaker Alexis Galanos, mayor of Famagusta and former president of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus. Mr. Galanos spoke on the topic of the recent campaign undertaken by the citizens of Famagusta for the return of their town and the need for more aggressive diplomacy for the implementation of the rule of law in Cyprus.
Cretan Delegation Visits AHI
On May 1, 2007, a delegation from the island of Crete visited AHI headquarters, led by Serafeim Tsokas, General Secretary of the Region of Crete. He was accompanied by Giorgios Papadakis representing the Prefect of Rethymnon and Grigoris Archontakis representing the Prefect of Chania. The delegation was escorted to Hellenic House by AHI member and local PanCretan Association member Ted Manousakis. The delegation was briefed by AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis about the organization and its activities, and the group discussed possible areas of mutual cooperation between AHI and the business community of the island of Crete.
Bilirakis Appointed to House Foreign Affairs Committee
On May 11, 2007, AHI congratulated Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) on his May 10 appointment to the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee. Within the committee, Bilirakis was assigned to the Subcommittee on Europe and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. The appointment was announced by Representative Bilirakis’ office on May 11.
U.S. House Passes Resolution on Greek Wildfires
AHI members were notified that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution—H. Res. 629—on September 4, 2007 offering condolences to the people of Greece “for the grave loss of life and vast destruction caused by the devastating fires raging through Greece since June 2007.” AHI’s announcement was released on September 28.
U.N. Incident on FYROM
On October 3, 2007, AHI issued a statement that highlighted events which took place at the United Nations on September 25, 2007. On that date, the President of the 62nd U.N. General Assembly Srgjan Kerim, a national of FYROM, introduced the president of his country as “President of the Republic of Macedonia,” compromising the credibility of the U.N. AHI’s statement protested the incorrect reference to FYROM as “Macedonia,” and welcomed the comments of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nick Burns in which he stressed that “…the time has come for progress on the FYROM name issue…this is our message to Skopje.”
Bilirakis Resolution on Cyprus Unification Passed
On October 9, 2007 the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H. Res. 405, introduced by Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) on September 26, on the reunification of Cyprus. AHI’s October 11 statement congratulated Representative Bilirakis, “for his follow-up initiative to bring his resolution to the House floor and we also congratulate him and Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the unanimous passage of this very important resolution regarding Cyprus.”
AHI-ANCA Joint Statement on U.S.-Turkey Relations
On October 30, 2007, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis issued a joint statement with Aram Hamparian, executive director for the Armenian National Committee (ANCA), to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the introduction by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) of S. Res. 358 regarding U.S.-Turkey relations. The statement protested S. Res. 358, noting that any such legislation should address Turkey’s threats to invade and destabilize northern Iraq, its immoral and heavy-handed threats against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the military occupation of Cyprus, continued violations of Greek sovereign airspace over the Aegean, the blockade of Armenia, the mistreatment of the Kurds, and restrictions on the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarch and other Christian leaders within Turkey’s borders.
May 30, 2007
AHI sent a letter to both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. Issues specifically addressed in these letters were U.S. interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece as a vital and strategic ally in the region, assistance for Cyprus, the FYROM name issue, and protesting the elimination of Voice of America’s Greek Desk Service. AHI also opposed the $18 million requested by the administration for Turkey because the funding is not based on the rule of law, or on conditions that would promote greater peace and stability in the region.
October 3, 2007
On October 3, 2007, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis sent a letter to Representative Tom Lantos, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, urging him to support the Armenian Genocide legislation, H. Res. 106. The letter asserted that, “Americans of Hellenic origin, and I believe most Americans, have long held that the U.S. Congress should be on record as recognizing the Armenian Genocide… applying its lessons to help prevent future atrocities and genocides. The Turkish government’s genocide denial campaign has no end in its attempts of pressuring the U.S. Congress to block H. Res. 106.”
June 25, 2007
AHI’s action alert urged support of H.R. 2526, which designates Greece as a program country for the visa waiver program. The resolution, introduced May 24, 2007 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), will allow Greek citizens to visit the U.S. without a visa. Currently, Greece is the only original EU country who is also part of Schengen (allowing freedom of movement between EU countries) for which its citizens are required to hold a visa to enter the U.S.
July 17, 2007
AHI members and friends were urged to contact their representatives to take part in a five-minute speech in U.S. Congress on the occasion of Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus 33 years ago. This action was initiated by Hellenic Caucus co-chairs Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
September 24, 2007
The following pieces of Congressional legislation were publicized by an AHI action alert: H.Con.Res. 1999 regarding Turkey’s claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea which legally belong to Greece, and H.Res. 627 and H.Res. 620 to support the removal of Turkish occupation troops from the Republic of Cyprus.
AHI Hosts Toronto Blue Jays at Networking Breakfast
On September 26, 2007, AHI hosted representatives from the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club at a business networking breakfast to offer a behind the scenes look into the workings of a Major League baseball team. Panel speakers includedGeorge Poulis, head trainer for the team, and Alex Anthopoulos, vice president for Baseball Operations and assistant general manager. The event, which was held at the Capital Hilton, welcomed around 50 attendees, each of whom was given two free tickets to the evening’s baseball game at Camden Yards between the Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles, courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles baseball club.
Both team representatives provided an overview of their roles in the club, as well as glimpse into the influence of their Hellenic background on their personal and professional lives.
Dean Scontras: A Next Generation Republican
Having set a Republican record for the largest number of funds raised in a single quarter for a Congressional race, AHI member Dean Scontras has hit the ground running since he first announced his candidacy for Maine’s 1st Congressional District on July 12, 2007. Running under the slogan “Republican 2.0,” Scontras views his candidacy as representative of a “next generation” of Republican leadership.
Reminiscent of his professional background in technology, the release of Republican 2.0 includes important improvements on Republican 1.0. According to Scontras’ Web site, “What we have not seen is that, as with software, we are afforded the luxury of re-engineering our politics, our Republican Party, while maintaining, even strengthening the pillars of the platform. I am pleased to announce the release of Republican 2.0.” With this in mind, Scontras aims to rise above traditional party politics and provide bold and innovative new leadership that offers real solutions to citizens.
“Part of being this next generation Republican, as I call myself, is to step outside of your traditional sort of body politic thinking to get those issues resolved,” Scontras points out.
Scontras cites his position as an outsider to help boost him in the polls. As a first-time candidate for office, people are reassured that he brings something new to the table, and will be more responsive to citizens’ needs.
Also boosting Scontras’ appeal as a candidate are his roots as the grandson of Greek immigrants. With both sets of grandparents leaving Greece to find their fortunes in Maine, the Scontras family’s history is the picture of the American Dream. Not only did his paternal grandfather succeed in opening two shoe stores, his father was a college athlete, a Korean War veteran and then later served in a strategic role as a lead engineer in the U.S. Navy.
Scontras the candidate is one of seven children, who went on to distinguish himself also with athletic accolades having made the University of Maine’s football team as a walk-on. At the University of Maine, he received his BAS in political science/public management, and then went on to complete his master’s degree in public policy at Georgetown University. Scontras has significant experience within the technology “start-up” company environment, especially having worked in Washington, D.C.’s famed technology corridor during the technology boom of the 1990s.
It was also in Washington that he met his wife, Dawn Galloway. Back in Maine, the Scontrases have two children, Jack and Zoe, and live in Eliot, Maine—the third and fourth generations, respectively, of the family in this country and in the state.
When asked how his Hellenic heritage has influenced his choice to enter into the political arena, Scontras says, “I’ve always loved everything that’s either athletic, philosophical or political. It’s just deep within the Greek legacy to serve at some level. The idea is that as Greeks, we understand the true satisfaction in life is being of service to others. On a very philosophical level, I think it’s something that’s always been deep in my spirit and what I’ve wanted to do.”
This commitment resonates with voters. Not only has Scontras excelled in fundraising, he also has garnered support from the greater Greek American community. Scontras did, however, underscore the importance of Greek Americans getting more involved in the political process, and of having more Greek Americans in office: “The under-representation issue is big. We as a community are an affluent group. We have a lot to contribute. Unless we reach a certain level of representation, we will not be able to make a difference…. We’ve got part of the community that is aging—it’s incumbent upon us to pass the torch to the younger generation.”
Scontras’ Republican 2.0 platform “is not so much a Republican-Democrat thing as much as it is another way,” he points out. “What a great opportunity for a young Greek American to step in and lead a new way of thinking in American politics.”
Additional information about Dean Scontras and his campaign for Maine’s 1st U.S. Congressional District seat is available at <www.teamdean08.com>.
College Students Intern at AHI
In the summer months of 2007, AHI hosted four remarkable interns. Elena Papademetriou, Krista Jodoin, Alex LaBua, and Vasiliki Tsombanos spent their summer working to help further Greek American causes in the interest of the United States.
Elena Papademetriou is a junior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland majoring in English. Growing up a mere fifteen minutes outside the nation’s capital, Elena developed a very strong political outlook. Because her parents are avid members of AHI and other Greek American organizations, Elena decided to put her interest in politics and her affection for Greece to better use than just dinner table discussions and college essays.
Krista Jodoin is a senior at the University of Maryland with a major in government and politics and a minor in Italian. Krista’s mother is from Athens and her father was in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Crete, where they lived for several years of her youth. Upon her return to the U.S., Krista continued Greek language and dance classes throughout high school.
Alex LaBua is entering his third year at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and is pursuing a major in international affairs, concentrating on Europe and Eurasia with a minor in Spanish. His mother emigrated from Athens in the 1980s and they now live in Chatham, New Jersey.
Vasiliki Tsombanos recently earned her B.A. from Bucknell University where she majored in international relations and Russian. Her passion for her culture has been fostered through annual trips to Greece with her family and her language skills are attributed to her eight years of Greek school study. She also conducted extensive independent research at her university related to ethnic identity and the Cyprus issue. She plans to obtain her master’s degree and pursue a career in international relations. Vasiliki has accepted the position of Office Manager at AHI and will continue her stay for the next year.
AHI was also instrumental in placing an intern at the Cyprus Embassy in Washington. Chris Symeonides is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a degree in government with a focus in international relations. Chris spent most of his time working in the Press Office at the Cyprus Embassy, researching the various mentions of Cyprus in the media. He also helped compile a comprehensive index of Cyprus-related legislation in the U.S. Congress. Chris plans to eventually pursue a career in law, unless his passion for music gets the best of him.
ANDONIOS NEROULIAS, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, embarked on an odyssey: Four decades after serving inVietnam as a young first lieutenant with the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi during some of the most dangerous years of the Cold War, Neroulias returned to Asia November 6-17. For more than ten days Colonel Neroulias explored what has become of the nation at the center of one of the deadliest and most controversial conflicts of the Cold War, accompanied by his daughter Nicole, a journalist with The Journal News of the Gannett newspaper chain. The story of Neroulias’ return trip is available at the blog: <http://vietnam.lohudcrime.com>. On the second Monday of every month for the past few years, Andonis, a longtime member of AHI, hosts an informal networking reception for Greek and Cypriot Americans at Avra restaurant on 48th Street in Manhattan for Greek and Cypriot Americans.