AHI 29th ANNIVERSARY DINNER HONORS THE OLYMPIC GAMES AND HELLENIC HERITAGE
ACHIEVEMENT AND NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDEES
WASHINGTON, DC—On March 13, 2004, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) paid
tribute to a distinguished group of individuals at its 29th Anniversary
Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards
Dinner, held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Linked by
their important career achievements and by their contributions to
the Greek American community and to the community at-large, this
year's honorees included: George C. Chryssis renowned entrepreneur,
philanthropist, poet and author; Ambassador Thomas J. Miller, Ambassador
of the United States to Greece; Helen Nicozisis, prominent church
activist and philanthropist ; George J. Tenet, Director of the CIA.
This year's Annual Dinner was dedicated to the Athens 2004
Olympic Games. On this occasion AHI paid tribute to three Olympians
for the unselfish commitment
they bring to their sport and to acknowledge all the sacrifices they have made
to reaching the level of modern-day Olympians: Ms. Irene Andili, winner of
the bronze medal in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney,
Mr. Charles Michael Mooney, world-champion boxer and winner of the silver medal
in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada and Ms. Christa Dalakis, a Greek
American member of the 2004 Greek Olympic Softball Team, which will compete
in the Summer Games in Athens, Greece this August.
Opening the evening's program was AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis who facilitated the half-hour opening ceremony
in honor of the 2004 Athens
Games. The evening began with the NBC and Athens 2004 Organizing Committee
Videos of the Olympics. Continuing with the Olympic Procession, local children
from the Greek American community, followed by the Olympians, marched into
the room to the rhythm of the Olympic Hymn. Greek Ambassador to the U.S.,
Savvaides and AHI founder, Gene Rossides, presented the three Olympians with
Special Hellenic Heritage Achievement Awards. Mr. Larigakis announced the
entrance of the Marines Color Guard for the presentation of the
colors. The American
and Greek national anthems were then performed by Irene Hrousis, an inspiring
and singer. The evening’s invocation and benediction were delivered by Reverend
Constantinos A. Pavlakos of Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Falls
Following dinner, AHI Public Affairs Committee Chairman,
Nicholas E. Chimicles, Esq., introduced the Master of Ceremonies,
famous TV Journalist,
Andrea Stassou. Mrs. Stassou then called AHI founder, Gene Rossides on
in his greetings he proudly announced that the mortgage of the Hellenic
House was paid off in February.
Mrs. Stassou introduced AHI Chairman,
James Marketos who presented a unique sponsorship opportunity offered
by the AHI, the "Olympic Flashback." These are 17-program radio series on the ancient Olympic Games hosted by premier
sportscaster Bob Costas that provides high-impact exposure twice daily
during The NBC/Westwood One Radio Network live coverage of the Games
" Isthmia, Greece, 410 BC; the 86th Isthmiad, another important series of Ancient
Games, these competitions are dedicated to Posidon, God of the Sea,
and like the Ancient Olympics, a sacred truce is observed here too.
There is a bitter
conflict raging between Athens and Sparta; but incredibly all battles
here stopped for the 5 official days of competition. On this last
day the closing event is
wrestling, and the final match pits, an athlete from Sparta named Locrates
and one from Athens, called Plato. Locrates has already thrown Plato
to the ground
twice. Once more, and the Spartan will win. The wrestlers are in a
starting position again. Oiled, their nude bodies spotted with sweat
and dust; their foreheads
touch; bodies leaning against one other; like the rafters of a roof;
shoulder to shoulder, arms locked. Here at Isthmia, 2400 years ago,
Plato fell for the
3d time, and abandoned athletics for philosophy. It happened long ago
in Greece, Home of the Olympics, and the birthplace of sport."
A handful of these radio spots were played during the evening.
The first award recipient for the evening,
US Ambassador to
Greece, Thomas J. Miller, was honored for his exceptional work
in the field of international
affairs and promoting U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus. Unfortunately,
due to the "Hercules Shield" security exercise for the Athens Olympic Games Ambassador Miller had to be in
Greece at the night of the Dinner. In a 5-minute video he sent,
he thanked the American Hellenic Institute for its leadership on
U.S.—Greece, Cyprus relations
and deeply appreciated the honor accorded him.
The second honoree Mr. George Chryssis, was honored for
exceptional entrepreneurial achievements and philanthropic service
to our Nation
The next honoree, Mrs. Helen Nicozisis was honored
for her impressive work as a member and since 2001, President of
Mission Center and her involvement in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.
The last honoree of the evening, CIA Director George
Tenet, was honored for his distinguished career in government.
captivating speech, Mr.
Tenet thanked AHI and Gene Rossides and referred to his
first job after
when he served as Research Director for the American Hellenic
All of the honorees thanked their families for
their love and support to everything they have succeeded
Heritage as a driving force in achieving even more accomplishments.
Honorees were introduced by friends and associates with distinguished
records in their own professional fields: AHI Chairman
(for Ambassador Miller); Stavros Semanderes, President
of the Pan-Cretan Association
(for Mr. Chryssis); Mrs. Kathleen Chimicles, financial
specialist for the complex litigation firm of Chimicles
(for Mrs. Nicozisis);
and AHI's Gene
Rossides (for George Tenet).
In their remarks, the introducers
praised the honorees both for their outstanding personal accomplishments
for the service
to their communities and to the cause of Hellenism.
and government officials attending the event included: Greece's
Ambassador to the U.S. H.E.
and his wife
Maria, Cyprus Ambassador
to the U.S. H.E. Euripides L. Evriviades, Senator and
Mrs. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Former U.S. Ambassador
Other notable guests
recognized included: Dr. Constantine Papadakis, President
of Drexel University; Executive Director of the Order
President of the Hellenic American National Council;
James Lagos, James and Ted Pedas,
and Manny Rouvelas, all major AHI benefactors; Theodora
Hancock, President of the Hellenic American Women's
Council and former
Achievement Award recipient; Panos Spiliakos, Vice
President of the Pan-Macedonian Association,; Nick Karakas, Chairman
in St. Louis;
Pete Silis, President of the PanEpirotic Federation
America; Christy Stefadouros, Communications Director
Michael Bilirakis (R-FL); Dorie Klissas, Producer with the NBC "Today" Show, Donald Neese, Director for Western Europe at Lockheed Martin Corporation,
Peter C. Pappas, Executive Vice President for Pappas
Telecasting Companies, former Honorees: Dr. Stamatios
of the Space Department
of the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory; and Executive
Director of the Western Policy Center John Sitilides.
was long-time AHI
friend and supporter,
Alkis Panagoulias who will be responsible for all the
soccer venues for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
the weekend activities was an Olympic Art Exhibition, featuring artist Euripides "Rip" Kastaris and the "Kyklos Circle of Glory Tribute" along with artist Erika Spyropoulos who introduced her works "Olympic Gods-Olumpic Idea."
This year’s event was covered live by George
Bistis, Voice of America Greek Service over affiliates
The radio program and video from the evening are
available at VoA Web site at
ATHENS 2004 OLYMPIC
GAMES BREAKFAST SEMINAR
Prior to the Annual Dinner,
a Breakfast Seminar Honoring the Olympic Games.
The Seminar featured three distinguished speakers: Ambassador
Greece to the U.S.
H.E. George Savvaides,
Kitroeff, Professor of History at Haverford College
artist Euripides "Rip" Kastaris. The panel was chaired by AHI Chairman James Marketos.
Ambassador Savvaides touched on the meaning
of the return of the Olympic Games to their birthplace,
Greece, namely the
marriage of Ancient
Modern Greece. Rip Kastaris presented his Olympic
introduced a video on his epic Olympic mural "Kyklos-Circle of Glory" sponsored by the Hellenic Cultural Foundation. The last speaker, Dr. Alexander
Kitroeff, spoke on the historical significance
of the 2004 Athens Olympics and the central role
that Greece plays in the Modern Olympic Movement,
combination of its Modern and Ancient elements.
Professor Kitroeff recently published a book
on the Olympic Games "Wrestling with the Ancients: Modern Greek Identity and the Olympics."
Downloadable photographs from the event are posted on AHI's Web site at http://ahiworld.org/dinnerphotos/2004dinner.html. For additional information regarding the AHI’s
and National Public
Service Awards Dinner, please contact Vivian
Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected]. For general
information regarding the mission
of AHI, please visit our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.
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