AHI President Works to Strengthen Ties with Greece, Cyprus
Annual Year-end Trip Abroad Features Presentation on Post-U.S. Election Outlook
WASHINGTON, DC — Annually, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis embarks on a year-end trip to Greece and Cyprus that aims to strengthen ties between the Greek American community and Greece and Cyprus in sectors such as government, commerce, and defense. This year's trip spanned from November 26 to December 7, 2012.
"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 the bonds between Greek America and Greece and Cyprus," Larigakis said.
Extensive Meetings Held with Cypriot Ministry Officials
President Larigakis visited Cyprus November 26 to 29. Meetings with Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou at the Presidential Palace and Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiots on November 27 highlighted the visit. In addition, a working dinner with Mr. Miltos Miltiadou, senior press and information officer, Office of Press and Information, was held November 26.
Other meetings of importance included:
In Athens, AHI Hosts Presentation on U.S. Elections to Key Audiences
AHI President Larigakis visited Athens, Greece, November 30 to December 7, 2012, where a highlight was an AHI and AHI-Athens Chapter-hosted presentation and reception featuring Mr. Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief, Washington Monthly, who spoke on the topic, "The U.S. Election 2012: What the Results Mean for America and the World" on December 5, 2012 at the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
Mr. Glastris, a former senior advisor and speechwriter to President Bill Clinton, spoke about the U.S. election and its potential impact to the United States and the rest of the world. He offered:
"Greece and America share a great deal. A common passion for freedom. A common commitment to democracy. A common admiration for the enterprising individual. These are values we not only share with the Greeks, but, in historical origin, owe to the Greeks.
"At this moment in history, at the highest levels of the U.S. government, it is clear that the fates of our suffering economies are intertwined, and that if the America's economy is to prosper, so too must Greece's. We heard it said again and again by certain politicians that America must not become "like Greece." We know what they meant. But the truth is that in our aspirations, our values, in the core of our culture, in what we hold most dear, it is more accurate—and far wiser—for Americans to say, in the words of the poet Percy Shelly, 'Emaste oli Ellines,' we are all Greeks."
A Q&A session with the more than 140 persons in attendance followed. In addition, on December 3, Mr. Glastris provided his presentation to members of Greece's diplomatic corps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We thank Paul for his time and for providing an insightful presentation," said Larigakis. "There is no doubt the U.S. elections will have an impact, and we felt it essential to share Paul's insider perspective and knowledge with important audiences in Greece."
AHI thanks the following sponsors for their support of the presentation and reception:
Major Benefactors: Libra Group; Ted G. Spyropoulos, President T.G.S. Epsilon, Inc.; Cardiff Marine Inc.; and G.C. Economou & Associates, Athens. Sponsors: Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC; Lampsa Hellenic Hotels S.A.; Globus Capital Management; Integrated Utility Services, Inc.; IONIOS A.E., Athens; KAPOTAS S.A., Patra; James H. Lagos, Springfield, Ohio; Jim and Ted Pedas, Washington, DC; and Agora Trading.
AHI President Meets Top Leaders across Greek Sectors; Full Day with Defense Ministry
In Athens, President Larigakis' itinerary included a series of meetings with various sectors in Greece, including: government/public, commerce, academia and non-profit/trade association. He met with several ministers, including: Minister of Education Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos on November 30, Minister of Interior Evripidis Stylianidis and Minister of Tourism Olga Kefaloyianni on December 3, and Minister of Defense Panos P. Panagiotopoulos on December 4.
In addition to meeting with Defense Minister Panagiotopoulos on December 4, President Larigakis met with high-level officials of the Ministry of Defense, including General of the Hellenic Army Michail Kostarakos, who is the chief of staff for the Hellenic National Defense; Lt. Gen. Konstantinos Gkinis, chief, Hellenic Army General Staff; and Brig. Gen. Alkiviadis Stefanis, director, Hellenic Army General Staff "Delta" Directorate.
"These meetings provided further insight on the lengths that Greece goes to meet the challenges presented to it from provocations in the region, especially from Turkey in the Aegean," said President Larigakis.
At the invitation of the Hellenic National Defense chief of staff, President Larigakis also spent the day attending a religious ceremony on the occasion of the Feast Day of Saint Barbara at the Greek Army Artillery School at Nea Peramos. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of the artillery.
In addition, President Larigakis held a series of meetings with officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras on December 5 and Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis, secretary general, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on December 6. Other key meetings with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs included:
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Smith hosted President Larigakis on December 5 to discuss recent developments in relations between the United States and Greece. Along this theme, President Larigakis explored current trends in commerce and trade between the United States and Greece when he attended the annual dinner of the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce on December 4.
Larigakis also visited Hellenic Parliament on November 30 for meetings with Hon. Miltiades Varvitsiotis, chairman, Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense; and Hon. Adonis Georgiadis, chairman, Parliament Committee for Greeks of the Diaspora.
Other meetings of note in Athens were held with:
Finally, President Larigakis held a working lunch with AHI-Athens Chapter President George Economou and AHI Member Ilias Malevetis on December 6.
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.
AHI President Works to Strengthen Ties with Greece, Cyprus