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AHI Hosts Noon Forum on "An Exchange of Ideas between Greece and the United States" with Member of Greek Parliament Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
January 13, 2005—No.2 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Noon Forum on "An Exchange of Ideas between Greece and the United States" with Member of Greek Parliament Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous

WASHINGTON, DC—On January 13, 2005, AHI hosted a Noon Forum with Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous, a Member of the Greek Parliament. The discussion was on "An Exchange of Ideas between Greece and the United States" held at the Hellenic House.

Dr. Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous was born and raised in Crete. She has been blind as a result of an accident since the age of three. She received her Ph.D. in Classics from Johns Hopkins University. From 1992-2004 she was a professor of Classics at the American College of Greece, Deree, where she taught courses in classical literature and ancient history. She was elected Parliamentarian for the New Democracy Party in the 2004 elections.

She is currently a member of the Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs, the Special Standing Committee on Equality and Human Rights, and serves as a Chair of the Special Standing Committee on Issues Concerning the Handicapped.

In discussing "An Exchange of Values and Ideas between Greece and the United States," Dr. Bernidaki-Aldous spoke of her close ties to both Greece and the United States, having spent 22 years of her life in the United States before returning to Greece in 1992. She serves as an inspiration, as someone who proved she could achieve anything despite her handicap. Her goal is to convey a message to stop tolerating prejudice against the handicapped.

In her discussion, Dr. Bernidaki-Aldous focused on attitudes toward the handicapped and turned to the Greek Classics for interpretation. She compared ancient Greek thought to the modern day United States. She said that the Greek philosophers created the ideals of democracy, independence of thought, humane society, and compassion that shape today’s U.S. legislation. One of the most important of these laws is the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which has conversely influenced modern Greek legislation.

She emphasized the importance of the 2004 Athens Paralympics as "a momento of humanism and of life" where "modern Greece continues its tradition of humanism from ancient Greece."

In her discussion of Greece’s relationship with the United States, she believes that there are strong political bilateral ties. Additionally, she commended AHI for its work in strengthening the relationship between these two countries.

In her response to a question regarding current political topics she spoke of hopes for a renegotiation of the Cyprus issue with appropriate changes to the Annan Plan addressing democracy and human rights.

Photograph 1: (l-r) Alexandros Aldous, AHI President Gene Rossides, Member of the Greek Parliament Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous and Executive Director Nick Larigakis at AHI Noon Forum.

Photograph 2: Dr. Eleftheria Bernidaki-Aldous speaking at AHI Noon Forum.