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AHI Executive Director's Visit To Greece Achieves Positive Results, Cooperation With Key Leaders
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
December 12, 2001 No. 61/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director's Visit To Greece Achieves Positive Results, Cooperation With Key Leaders

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis and AHI advisory committee memberKostas Alexakis recently completed a trip to Greece during the week of November 26 - December 1, 2001, travelling to Athens and Thessaloniki. They held a series of meetings with key government officials and business leaders for the purpose of facilitating the organization's goals and objectives in Greece. The meetings also focused on engendering new areas of mutual cooperation and development between leaders in Greece and the Greek American community.

Athens

Messrs. Larigakis and Alexakis arrived in Athens on Sunday, November 26, looking forward to meetings with U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller and the Embassy's Counselor for Commercial Affairs Walter Hage; Lela Margiou,Cultural Attaché for the U.S. Embassy; Ioannis Magriotis, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Grigoris Niotis, former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee's (ATHOC) International Media Desk Manager, Ioannis Fourlis, and the committee's Manager for Greeks Abroad,Demetra Egan; Odyssey Magazine's Publisher Nikiforos Antonopoulos, and its General Manager Rozana Papadopoulos; Stephanos Costopoulos, President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce; Eleftherios Antonakopoulos,President of the Federation of Greek Industries; and Efthimios Mouratidis,Investment Project Manager for ELKE Hellenic Center for Investment.

A highlight of the trip was the AHI team's visit to the U.S. Embassy in Athens for a productive and informative meeting with Ambassador Miller and Walter Hage.The group discussed continuing cooperation and arran gements were made for the AHI to host Ambassador Miller at a dinner in Washington, DC on January 18, 2001.

While at the embassy, Mr. Larigakis also met with Lela Margiou, the Cultural Attaché. Topics of discussion centered on paths towards add itional cooperation regarding cultural themes.

In his outreach to Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou's office, Mr. Larigakis met with Marialena Conalis-Kontou to discuss U.S.-Greece relations and the Greek American community's involvement in further enhancing this positive relationship.

ATHOC leaders met with Messrs. Larigakis and Alexakis for more than two hours to discuss possibilities for cooperation between AHI and ATHOC, and for extending promotional opportunities in the U.S. for the 2004 Olympics.

Mr. Larigakis' itinerary also included two separate visits with Odyssey Magazine's new management team, including Publisher Nikiforos Antonopoulos and General Manager Rozana Papadopoulos. Both meetings focused on additional exposure for the AHI and for Greek American issues in general to be featured in the publication.

Also on the media front, Mr. Larigakis spoke with Nikos Konstandaras, Chief Editor of Kathimerini newspaper's English edition, which provides news coverage of Greece for the International Herald Tribune in Greece. On November 15, 2001, Kathimerini published a book review on AHI Foundation's most recent publication titled Greece's Pivotal Role in World War II and Its Importance to the U.S. Today. Mr. Larigakis thanked Mr. Konstandaras for this important coverage, and discussed additional possibilities for outreach via Kathimerini's English edition.

Meetings later in the week with Eleftherios Antonakopoulos (President, Federation of Greek Industries), Stephanos Costopoulos (President, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce) and Efthimios Mouratidis (Investment Project Manager, ELKE Hellenic Center for Investment) centered on promoting more extensive cooperation between AHI and the three organizations in order to facilitate business investment and trade between the U.S. and Greece.

AHI Athens Chapter Reception

Two important events that took place during the AHI team's visit to Greece were receptions held by the AHI Athens and Thessaloniki Chapters. The AHI Athens Chapter reception was held on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 at the N.J.V. Athens Plaza Hotel at Syntagma Square. Nick Larigakis welcomed around 70 members and friends to the event, briefing the attendees on current issues on the AHI policy agenda and providing an opportunity for questions and answers following the briefing.

The reception also provided the occasion to bid thanks and best wishes to the Athens chapter's outgoing president, Costas Ioannou, and to formally introduce its new president, Elias Malevitis. Mr. Ioannou has served in his capacity as chapter president for five years, and helped to increase membership and awareness in the Athens community of key AHI issues through his efforts and activities promoted during his term. At the reception, Mr. Ioannou delivered his outgoing remarks and also welcomed his successor, Mr. Malevitis, who is a practicing attorney and former member of Parliament. A special thank you dinner to be held in honor of Mr. Ioannou is scheduled for the springtime.

Long-time AHI member and supporter Ted Spyropoulos, president of the Chicago-based Hellenic American National Council (HANC), sponsored the event.

Inaugural AHI Thessaloniki Chapter Reception

On the evening of Friday, November 30, 2001, a reception was held in Thessaloniki to inaugurate AHI's Thessaloniki Chapter and to welcome its new president, Alkis Panagoulias, a long-time member and supporter of AHI's mission and work. Mr. Panagoulias' leadership experience in politics and athletics are a strong asset from which AHI's Thessaloniki Chapter can benefit as it looks to expand and increase member involvement and activity now and in the future.

The Thessaloniki Chapter inaugural event was held at the restaurant "Ta Nisia," with the sponsorship of two local companies, Swiss Golfer and Averof. Instrumental to this event were the organizing efforts of Fotini Gidimopoulou.

Following his opening remarks, Nick Larigakis gave a background briefing on current activities and issues being addressed by AHI in the U.S. In his comments, Mr. Larigakis asked for the support of the Thessaloniki membership in facilitating the goals and objectives of the organization in Greece, both in terms of future business cooperation and in the public policy arena.

The AHI team returned to Athens on Saturday and departed for Washington on December 2, having completed a successful whirlwind round of meetings and events. The goal of promoting AHI's business and policy objectives in Greece was met, as new ideas for cooperation were forged between the AHI leadership and its counterparts in the governmental and private sectors in Greece.

For additional information and photos of the AHI's visit to Greece, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected], and visit our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.