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AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus—Hosts 3rd Annual Athens Dinner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
July 6, 2007—No. 45 (202) 785-8430

AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus—Hosts 3rd Annual Athens Dinner

From June 4 - June 15, 2007, American Hellenic Institute (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, Nick Karambelas,and James Lagos. 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 Mrs. Matina Lagos. They were joined by AHI members Costas Alexandrides, Ph.D. and Dr. George Moutsatsos.

Cyprus

The AHI delegation arrived in Nicosia on June 4. Over the course of the next four activity-filled days, the delegation 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 Charge Jane Zimmerman, Governor of the Central Bank of CyprusAthanasios 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.

The first day began early on June 5, when the delegation met with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Alexandros Zenon followed by a meeting with the Director of the Political Affairs Division for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Evripidis Evriviades.

Later in the morning the delegation met for approximately one hour with Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas. The Foreign Minister was kind enough to provide a detailed account regarding developments in the Cyprus issue.

A luncheon was hosted by the Director for Overseas Cypriots Ambassador Stavros Epaminondas.

The last meeting was at the U.S. Embassy with Charge Jane Zimmerman and Political Officer Greg Macris.

Day two in Cyprus had the delegation up early for a very busy day. The day began with a visit to the Deputy Mayor of Nicosia Stelios Ieronimidisfollowed by a meeting with the newly appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides.

From the Central Bank, the delegation visited the House of Representatives where they had separate meetings with the President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias and the Chairman of the International Relations Committee Averof Neophytou.

A luncheon was hosted by the Director of the Press and Information Office Yiannakis Solomou.

On Thursday in Cyprus, the delegations paid a visit to the extraordinary Kykkos Monastery and the exceptional Kykkos Museum which was dedicated in 1997. On the return to Nicosia, the delegation followed up the visit to the Monastery by paying a visit to Archimandrite Isaias Kykkofis of the Kykkos Monastery.

Concluding the day and highlighting the trip to Cyprus, the delegation met for 90 minutes with President Tassos Papadopoulos at the Presidential Palace. President Papadopoulos warmly welcomed the delegation and expressed his thanks for AHI’s efforts regarding the Cyprus issue by stating “We are grateful for you and your colleagues. If it wasn’t for your voice, no one would ever hear about Cyprus.” President Papadopulos briefed the delegation on his country’s activities regarding efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and responded to questions from the delegation.

The last day in Cyprus started with a visit to the Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus Eleftherios P. Ioannou and concluded thereafter with a press conference hosted by the delegation and arranged by Yiannakis Solomou, Director of the Press & Information Office. Participating on the press conference were Gene Rossides, Nick Karambelas and Nick Larigakis. The panel participants briefed the 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.

Athens

In Athens, meetings were held during the week of June 11 - June 15 with the President of the Greek Parliament 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 Affairs Harry Rocanas, and directors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responsible for areas of interest to the AHI.

On Monday, June11 the delegation began its trip to Athens by visiting and touring the substantial campus of the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS). While there they discussed area of possible cooperation between AHI and ACS with the Superintendent Dr. Stefanos Gialamas. The American Community Schools of Athens is a private, non-profit, pre-K-12 institution governed by a parent–elected Board of Education, which has served the children of the American, international and local communities in Athens for 60 years. ACS Athens is an international school, embracing American educational philosophy, principles and values.

Later that morning the delegation headed for the spectacular Emfietzoglou Museum to view exhibits of modern and contemporary Greek art. The Emfietzoglou Collection now comprises more than six hundred works by Greek artists of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The greater part of the Collection is made up of significant examples of the oeuvre of historically established as well as of younger artists.

Concluding the 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 DevelopmentAndrew Natsios.

On the second day the delegation was warmly received by Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Christos Folias. The Minister briefed the delegation on the various facets of the Greek economy and a good exchange followed on areas of mutual interest.

June 13th was an eventful day beginning with a meeting with the Mayor of Athens Nikitas Kaklamanis followed by visit to the Greek Parliament and a meeting with the President of the Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki.

3rd Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner

A highlight of the Greece trip was the Third Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinnerheld at the Grande Bretagne Hotel on June 13th. This year, AHI honored Anna Synodinou-Marinaki for her “exceptional artistic achievements and tireless promotion of culture in the ancient Hellenic tradition of public service” and Lazaros D. Efraimoglou, President, Foundation of the Hellenic World for his “outstanding business achievements, public service and promotion of the Hellenic culture.” Anna Synodinou-Marinaki was presented the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award and Lazaros D. Efraimoglou was presented the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award. The dinner was held in cooperation with the AHI- Athens Chapter.

The evening began with a wonderful and enchanting musical interlude performed by the Chorus of Aigiou under the direction of Leon Charalambopoulos.

The formal evening began with a welcome by Ilias Malevitis, President of AHI-Athens Chapter. Others who spoke were Theodoros Kassimis, Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Charles Ries, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Theodore Spyropoulos, Coordinator and Alternate President, SAE (World Hellenes Abroad). Serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Nick Larigakis, AHI Executive Director.

For Ambassador Charles Ries, the AHI dinner served as his last official public appearance in Athens as U.S. Ambassador. The next morning he was to leave to embark on his new assignment in Iraq.

In his remarks, Ambassador Ries stated:

“Tonight is my last night in Athens as the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, and this, therefore, is my last speech…During my tenure as Ambassador, I have relied on the support of Hellenic American organizations and Greek Americans in my efforts to build on the strong U.S. – Greece bilateral relationship. And you have consistently come through.

The American Hellenic Institute has been dedicated to Greek-U.S. relations. Gene, when you founded AHI in 1974, Greek Americans tended to belong only to community organizations. From the outset, AHI took a larger view. Your business and academic programs are world-renowned, and the scholarships and grants you offer through the Foundation for Hellenic Studies promote stronger ties between Greeks, Americans, and our two countries…

You, the Greek American community, have really made my job as a diplomat in Greece easy. You know, at times, it can be difficult to project to the Greek people all of the positive aspects of America. No one can be more effective in displaying the core values shared by the Greek and American people than the successful members of our Greek American community…

I applaud AHI and your efforts to recognize, each year, remarkable people, who have contributed so much to Greece and to America. Congratulations, again, Anna and Lazaro. Thank you for your work and I wish you continued prosperity. Thank you for inviting me this evening.”

Following the dinner, Gene Rossides, assisted by Ted Spyropoulos, presented Anna Synodinou-Marinaki with the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award and Lazaros D. Efraimoglou with the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award.

In their remarks, both honorees thanked the American Hellenic Institute for the honor and for its tireless commitment to enhancing U.S.-Greek relations.

The dinner was a complete sell out attended by 300 persons representing all segments of Greek life and received very good press coverage by both the print and TV media. Among the attendees that evening were numerous Members of Parliament.

“There were a number of major sponsors who helped to make this event the success that it was. The AHI wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude for their support” said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. The sponsors were:

  • National Bank of Greece
  • Gene Rossides, Washington D.C.
  • Ted G. Spyropoulos, Chicago, Illinois
  • Lagos & Lagos, PLL, Springfield, Ohio
  • Aris Drivas Yachting, Piraeus, Greece
  • Nick Karambelas, Esq., Washington, D.C.
  • Drexel University LeBow College of Business, George P. Tsetsekos,     Dean, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • G.C. Econonomou & Associates, Athens, Greece
  • Hellenic Culture, Athens, Greece
  • Hyundai Hellas P.A.R. Davari S.A., Manora Attikis, Greece
  • Jim Pedas, Washington, D.C.
  • Ted Pedas, Washington, D.C.
  • Anter Ltd., Athens, Greece
  • Axela Government Relations, Washington, D.C.
  • Euclid Financial Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Elemho S.A., Athens, Greece
  • Hermes Expo International, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Paseges Food Distributors, Inc., New York, New York
  • Law Firm of Papasteriopoulos-Argyroiliopoulos & Assoc., Athens, Greece
  • Pan-Macedonian Association of America
  • Serge Hadji-Mihaloglou, Athens, Greece
  • Tofos, Piraeus, Greece

The dinner organizing committee consisted of Ilias Malevitis, George Economou, Katerina Papathanassiou, Lia Kanari, Margarita Karli, and Nick Larigakis.

On June 14, the delegation started the day with a meetings at the Foreign Ministry which included a 90 minute substantive round-table discussion with the Secretary General for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Harry Rocanas and his colleagues from the U.S., Cyprus, and Turkey divisions of the Foreign Ministry.

Later the delegation called upon Vasilios Michaloliakos, Deputy Minister of National Defense at the Greek Pentagon.

Concluding the day was a visit to the extraordinary Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW) and its Culture Centre, Hellenic Cosmos. The Foundation, founded by honoree Lazaros D. Efraimoglou, is a non-governmental organization that aims to preserve and present through new media, both at home and abroad, the history and culture of the Hellenic World. The Hellenic Centre helps to serve this purpose whereby one can explore the history of the Hellenic World through time. The Centre was inaugurated in 1998. It is housed in a former industrial building that has been transformed into an ultra-modern, living museum that aims to be a source of learning and satisfy the needs of the contemporary "society of knowledge.” During its operation Hellenic Cosmos has presented numerous activities, which include exhibitions, educational programs, Virtual Reality programs, and documentaries produced by the Foundation of the Hellenic World. A major expansion of FHW is underway.

Ending the two week trip, the delegation had a fruitful visit with the Minister of Culture Georgios Voulgarakis on Friday morning, June 15, during which the Parthenon Marbles issue was discussed.

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Photographs from the AHI delegation trip to Greece and Cyprus as well as the 3rd Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner are posted on AHI's Web site at: http://ahiworld.org/2007_greece_and_cyprus_trip.html

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