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AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nick Larigakis
July 10, 2008—No. 39 (202) 785-8430

AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus

From June 3-12, 2008, a delegation from the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) participated in the organization’s annual trip to Greece and Cyprus, during which time the group held substantive talks with government officials and business leaders in both countries.

In Cyprus, the delegation consisted of AHI Advisory Committee member Kostas Alexakis, long-time AHI members Gus Andy, Dr. James Balodimas, Dr. Takey Crist and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. In Athens, the AHI delegation included Messrs. Alexakis, Andy, and Larigakis. They were joined by AHI member Steve Veletsis andAHI President and founder Gene Rossides.

Cyprus

AHI’s delegation visited Nicosia from June 3-6. Over the course of the next four days, the delegation’s discussions focused largely on the still unresolved Cyprus issue, and on exchanging dialogue with government and community leaders in the country. Meetings were held with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias,Chairman of Cyprus’ House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Averof Neophytou, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Charalambos Achniotis, Ambassador Euripides Evriviades, Director of Press and Information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Androula Lanitis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Americas Department Political Division Head Nafsika Kroutsi, former Consul General of Cyprus in New York Martha Mavromatis, Director of the Cyprus Press and Information Office Yiannakis Solomou, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher, leader of the Democratic Rally (DISY) party Nicos Anastasiades, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II, former Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Deputy Mayor of Nicosia Stelios Ieronymides, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Antonis Paschalides, and President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Marios Garoyian.

The delegation’s first day included a one-hour meeting with President Christofias which focused on current developments regarding the Cyprus issue. President Christofias extended his thanks and gratitude to AHI for continuing to raise awareness of the Cyprus issue with the Bush administration and U.S. Congress.

That day, the delegation also met with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Averof Neophytou and Charalambos Achniotis from the Central Bank of Cyprus.

On June 4, AHI kicked off the day’s activities with a working meeting chaired by Ambassador Euripides Evriviades which included the Director of Press and Information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Androula Lanitis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Head of the Americas Department Political Division Nafsika Kroutsi, and former Consul General of Cyprus in New York Martha Mavromatis. The delegation also met with the Director of the Cyprus Press and Information Office Yiannakis Solomou and U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher, whose current diplomatic post is coming to a close this summer.

Meetings with DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, who was enthroned within the past year, Deputy Mayor of Nicosia Stelios Ieronymides, and former Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who is in charge of the technical committee responsible for the property issue took place on June 5.

The delegation’s final day in Cyprus included meetings at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism with Minister Antonis Paschalides and with the President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Marios Garoyian.

Athens

The delegation continued on to Athens, where a series of meetings were held throughout the week of June 9 with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis, representatives from four directorates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel V. Speckhard, Minister of Rural Development and Food Kostas Kiltidis, President of Hellenic Parliament Dimitris Sioufas, Chairman of the Hellenic Parliament’s Committee for Greeks Abroad Nick Tsartsionis, and Minister of Culture Michalis Liapis.

On June 9, the delegation launched the second leg of its trip at the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding detailed discussions with the Director of the A2 Cyprus Directorate Dimitris Giannakakis, the Director of the A7 Directorate for North America Grigorios Vassilokonstantakis, and the Director of the A3 Directorate for Southeastern Europe Countries Eleftherios Aggelopoulos.

Discussions continued at the Foreign Ministry the next day with an extensive meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis, where ideas and proposals were exchanged on potential future projects and cooperation between AHI and the ministry. The delegation also met with the Director of the A4 Directorate for Relations with Turkey Georgios Kaklikis, with the day capped off by a lunch hosted by the A7 Directorate (North America) in honor of AHI.

On June 10, AHI leaders met with U.S. Ambassador Speckhard at his residence for a two-hour meeting. The group had a detailed, multifaceted discussion on U.S.-Greece relations. That evening also featured the Fourth Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner at the Grand Bretagne Hotel in historic Syntagma Square, honoring world-renowned composer Vangelis and Honorary Chairman of S&B Industrial Minerals S.A. Kitty Kyriakopoulos. The event welcomed approximately 300 attendees representing all segments of Greek society.

The delegation rounded out its trip to Greece and Cyprus on June 12 in meetings with Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Food Kostas Kiltidis, President of Hellenic Parliament Demetris Sioufas, Chairman of the Hellenic Parliament’s Committee for Greeks Abroad Nick Tsartsionis and Minister of Culture Michalis Liapis.

Photographs from the AHI delegation trip to Greece and Cyprus are available on AHI's Web site at: http://ahiworld.org/2008_Annual_Trip_to_Greece. For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430 or nlarigakis@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.