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AHI Executive Director Works to Strengthen Ties with Greece, Cyprus

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nick Larigakis
December 22, 2010—No. 88 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director Works to Strengthen Ties with Greece, Cyprus

Annual Year-end Trip Abroad Features AHI Policy Lectures before Governmental, Academic Bodies

WASHINGTON, DC — Strengthening ties between the Greek American community and Greece and Cyprus in new and familiar sectors such as government and commerce was the goal of American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Executive Director Nick Larigakis, who embarked on his annual year-end trip to Greece and Cyprus, Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, 2010.

This year, Larigakis was joined by Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute, for a series of policy lectures in Athens and Nicosia titled “U.S. Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Post Congressional Mid-term Elections.”

“Annually, I plan this year-end trip to Greece and Cyprus, on behalf of AHI, to discuss our organization’s goals and to focus on exploring new areas of mutual cooperation and development that will serve to strengthen ties between Greek America and Greece and Cyprus,” Larigakis said.  “In addition, this year because of developments in policy and politics, AHI believed it was important to bring the expertise of Dr. Carpenter on the trip to provide a policy update to key audiences in both countries.”

Extensive Meetings Held with Cypriot Ministry Officials, Banking Executives

Executive Director Larigakis visited Cyprus November 29 to December 2.  Two policy lectures featuring Dr. Carpenter, one before the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a second at the University of Nicosia, both held December 1, highlighted the visit.  The Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs organized the lecture at the university in cooperation with AHI.  Other meetings of note in the political sector included:

  • American Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus Frank Urbancic,
  • Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou,
  • President of the House of Representatives Marios Garoyian,
  • Chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Averof Neofytou,
  • Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou and Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Press and Information Division Androula Lanitis, and
  • Director of the Press & Information Office Eleonora Gavrielides and Senior Press and Information officer Miltos Miltiadou.

The Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs also hosted a dinner on November 29 at which Executive Director Larigakis and Dr. and Mrs. Ted Carpenter were greeted by Ambassador Andreas Kakouris, director, Foreign Minister’s Office.  In addition, a luncheon was hosted for Mr. Larigakis by the governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides and leading Cypriot bank executives on November 30.  The meeting explored ways to facilitate stronger U.S.-Cyprus business relations and investment.

Three Policy Lectures Highlight Athens Visit

Three policy lectures featuring Dr. Carpenter in Athens were held.  The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with AHI, organized a presentation at the ministry, December 3, titled “Politics by Other Means: Washington’s Foreign Policy Decision Process.”  The other two lectures, titled “U.S. Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Post Congressional Mid-term Elections,” were presented before a Joint Committee of the Hellenic Parliament’s International Relations and Defense Committee and the Diaspora Committee.  The third presentation was before the general public at the Grand Bretagne Hotel.  Both were held December 7.  The Honorable Konstantinos Vrettos, chairman, International Relations & Defense Committee, received the presentation at the Hellenic Parliament.  The AHI-Athens Chapter co-hosted the policy lecture at the Grand Bretagne.

“The policy lecture series was extremely well-received in both Athens and Nicosia,” said Larigakis.  “We believe we successfully conveyed the latest developments regarding United States in the region to important audiences.  We hope to build on this initiative going forward.”

AHI thanks the following sponsors for their support of the Grand Bretagne presentation and reception:  Major Benefactors: ProtonBank, Ted G. Spyropoulos, President T.G.S. Epsilon; and Paragon Shipping, Inc. Sponsors: The American College of Greece – Deree-Pierce; G.C. Economou & Associates, Hermes International, Athanasios Sipsas, Athens; Greek Dream, Inc., Tampa, Fla.; and KAPOTAS S.A., Patra.

Larigakis Meets Top Leaders at Greek Foreign Ministry

In Athens, Executive Director Larigakis’ itinerary included a series of meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The meetings were with:

  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Dollis,
  • Mr. Dimitris Giannakakis, director, A2 Cyprus Division,
  • Ambassador Dimitris Toulupas, director, A4 Turkey,
  • Mr. Nick Mathioudakis, director, EU Foreign and Security Policy, A11 Division,
  • Mr. Andreas Kintis, director, D2 NATO Division, and
  • Ambassador Chrysoula Aliferi, director, A7 Division on North American Relations.

Additional meetings in Athens were held with Mr. Yiannis Drymoussis, secretary general, minister of the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping; and Mr. Stavros Papastavrou, international secretary, International Relations and European Affairs for New Democracy Party.

Finally, AHI’s executive director was received by American Ambassador to Greece Daniel B. Smith at the U.S. Embassy.

Click here to view photographs of this trip.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI please visit http://www.ahiworld.org.