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AHI Executive Director Completes Annual Trip to Greece
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
December 26, 2006—No. 91 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director Completes Annual Trip to Greece

Also Attends Historic Archon Pilgrimage to Istanbul on the Occasion of the Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

WASHINGTON, DC—On November 22, 2006, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Executive Director Nick Larigakis, began his annual trip to Athens by first visiting Istanbul as part of the Archon pilgrimage on the occasion of the historic visit between Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew (see AHI Press Release No. 89, December 18, 2006).

Mr. Larigakis then traveled to Athens from December 4- December 7, 2006 to begin his week of meetings. In Athens he was accompanied by AHI Advisory Committee member and legal counsel, Nick Karambelas. While in Athens, the two met with Greek government officials and business leaders and discussed the organization's goals and objectives and focused on engendering new areas of mutual cooperation and development between leaders in Greece and the Greek American community.

During the very busy four day trip, the duo attended over 20 meetings.

From the government, they held meetings with:  Charalambous Rocanas, Secretary General at the Foreign Ministry, Georgios S. Koumoutsakos, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Theodoros Kassimis, Deputy Foreign Minister, and Christos Folias, Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance. Other meetings included the Directors of the Foreign Ministry divisions of the United States, Cyprus, Turkey and the Balkans. From the main opposition party PASOK, Karambelas and Larigakis met with Demetri Dolis.

In addition, there were two working meetings. One, with Panos Kammenos, MP, Chairman of the Parliament’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Standing Committee and the other with Dr. Leda Condoyanni and her colleagues at the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE).

On December 6, 2006 the AHI Athens Chapter hosted a reception at the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel, where the special guest speaker was Mr. Kostas Spiropoulos, General Manager Television ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation). His presentation was on “The Role and Impact of Television on Greece’s Image: Domestic and Abroad.”

The event started with a welcome address byMr. Ilias Malevitis, President of AHI Athens Chapter and concluded with Nick Larigakis providing an overview of AHI’s activities during 2006. Over 120 friends and members of the Institute attended the event which included persons from the government, political, business and media sectors. Also offering greetings was Ted G. Spyropoulos, the newly elected SAE President for the United States.

The reception benefactor was Mr. Athanasios Sipsas and Motor Oil (Hellas) Corinth Refineries S.A.. Others who helped sponsor the event were Anter Ltd. Technology Development and Research Company, Bavea, Pinatsis & Partners Law Firm, G.C. Economou & Associates, Ted G. Spyropoulos and Christopher Varvias, Western Union Greece.

Karambelas and Larigakis paid a visit to U.S. Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries at the U.S. Embassy where the discussion was open regarding a number of issues dealing with U.S. relations with Greece, including the Visa Waiver program. Following the visit with Ambassador Ries, the two AHI representatives called on the Superintendent of the American Community Schools (ACS) Dr. Stephanos Gialamas where they toured the campus and had a discussion on exploring areas of mutual cooperation.

Concluding the week, meetings were also held with major entities from the private sector. Further, preliminary discussions were held with members of the AHI-Athens Chapter executive committee regarding the 3rd AHI Athens dinner, which will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens.

After the completion of his trip, Mr. Larigakis stated: “Mr. Karambelas and I had a very busy four days in Athens, but we feel that our meetings were very positive and productive. We are also very optimistic about the possibility regarding a number of specific projects that we had the opportunity to discuss during this trip that we feel would be of mutual interest between AHI and certain entities in Greece.”

Digital photographs from the Annual Trip to Greece are available at the following link: http://ahiworld.org/press_releases/02press_release/

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For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou at (202) 785-8430 or georgia@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.