AHI Presentation in Athens Focuses on Future of Hellenism
President Larigakis makes first official visit to Vienna; Participates at International Conference in Jerusalem
WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI), in cooperation with the AHI-Athens Chapter, hosted a presentation “The Future of Hellenism in America” featuring Keynote Speaker Katerina Panagopoulos, who is the special advisor to the Greek Prime Minister on Hellenism of the Diaspora, Athens, Greece, Dec. 5, 2018, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. More than 200 persons attended.
Dr. Van Coufoudakis, former dean, professor emeritus, Indiana University-Purdue University College of Arts and Science; and AHI President Nick Larigakis, joined the program as panelists. AHI-Athens Chapter Vice President, retired Vice Admiral Vasilis Kyriazis, provided greetings and introduced the panel’s moderator, Aristotle Tziampiris, chair, Department of International and European Studies, University of Pireaus. AHI-Athens Chapter President George Economou also provided welcome remarks.
AHI thanks the following sponsors for their support of the presentation and reception: Grand Benefactors: Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. Chairman’s Circle: Libra Group. Benefactors: G.C. Economou & Associates, WIND, and EFA Ventures. Sponsors: Lockheed Martin, Greek Dream, Inc., Hotel Grande Bretagne, Kapotas S.A., James H. Lagos, Springfield, Ohio Supporters: Leon Andris, Washington, D.C., K. Arvanitis S.A., State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis, Coventry, R.I.; and Pacific Coast Maritime Agencies.
“We thank all our benefactors and sponsors that helped to make this event a success,” Larigakis said. “We especially are grateful to our Grand Benefactors, Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, for their generosity and support. I would also like to especially thank AHI-Athens President George Economou, AHI-Athens Chapter Vice President, retired Vice Admiral Vasilis Kyriazis, and AHI-Athens Chapter Board Member Sylvia Gavalla, for their invaluable assistance in organizing a successful presentation.”
AHI Provides Opinion on Strategic Dialogue
In a nod to the value of the policy opinions of the American Hellenic Institute, Greek government officials sought the Institute’s perspective in the lead-up to the inaugural U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue, which was held Dec. 13 in Washington, D.C. On Dec. 3, President Nick Larigakis met with Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos, who led the Greek delegation to the Strategic Dialogue. Following their meeting, AHI presented a memo to Alternate Foreign Minister Katrougalos which set forth the opinions of AHI in connection with issues that are relevant to United States policies. Further, President Larigakis exchanged ideas about the Strategic Dialogue during a one-hour, 15-minute meeting with Diplomatic Advisor to the Greek Prime Minister Evangelos Kalpadakis, Dec. 4.
Additional meetings in Athens with key government officials were held, including: U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt (Dec. 7), Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos (Dec. 7), Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura (Dec. 4), and Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick (Dec. 3). Further, Larigakis met with officials from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 5, including: Elisabeth Fotiadou, director, A7 Directorate for North America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Nikolaos Garilidis, director, A4 Directorate for Turkey; Ambassador Sophia Grammata, director, A3 Directorate for Balkans; and Ambassador Konstantinos Kollias, director, A2 Directorate for Cyprus. Moreover, Larigakis met with military officials on Dec. 7 during a lunch with Lt. Gen. Christos Christodoulou, chief, Hellenic Air Force General Staff; and a meeting with Lt. Gen. Alkiviadis Stefanis, chief, Hellenic Army General Staff.
Rounding-out President Larigakis’ meetings in Athens were: Vasileios Kikilias, New Democracy shadow defense minister (Dec. 3); Giorgios Koumoutsakos, New Democracy shadow minister for foreign affairs (Dec. 4); and Fofi Gennimata, president of the newly-formed Movement for Change (Dec. 6).
Finally, President Larigakis attended several receptions and dinners during his visit to Athens, including: an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce dinner keynoted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Dec. 4; an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce dinner keynoted by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, president, New Democracy, Dec. 3; and a Dec. 6 morning ceremony and reception held at the Greek Naval Academy in Pireaus in honor of the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, patron saint of the Hellenic Navy, at the invitation of Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis. Also Dec. 6, AHI Member and Supporter Dimitri Contominas hosted a dinner in honor of President Larigakis’ Name Day at Egli Restaurant.
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with senior Greek government and military officials,” Larigakis said. “In addition to the U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue, we discussed AHI’s programs and initiatives that work to keep Greece at the forefront of policymakers’ agenda in Washington. We also discussed Greece’s critical role to national security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the broader region, by virtue of Greece as a pillar of stability and peace.”
Vienna: President Larigakis Meets with OSCE Officials
President Larigakis made the Institute’s first-ever official visit to Vienna, Austria, Nov. 27 to 30, where he met with officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as well as representatives from the Hellenic community of Vienna.
To begin the visit to Vienna, Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, head of the Permanent Representative of the EU to the OSCE, hosted President Larigakis, Nov. 27. The next day, Larigakis held meetings with Harry Kamian, charge d’ affaires, U.S. Mission to the OSCE; and Ambassador Elena Rafti, ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Austria and the OSCE.
President Larigakis made a presentation to the Hellenic community of Vienna at an event hosted by the Macedonian Cultural Association of Vienna, Nov. 28. The association’s president, Dr. George Pantoglou, and former president, Charilaos Zikos, organized the event. More than 60 persons attended.
“I sincerely thank Charilaos Zikos and Dr. George Pantoglou for organizing a fruitful event that afforded me the opportunity to speak to the Hellenic community of Vienna,” Larigakis said. “I enjoyed meeting representatives of the community and the discussion we held about the issues affecting Greece and Cyprus. I look forward to keeping in contact with them.”
President Larigakis also attended an OSCE General Assembly meeting on the topic of Ukraine and a meeting of OSCE European Union members chaired by Ambassador Vrailas, Nov. 29.
The visit to Vienna concluded with meetings with Ambassador Alexios Zannos, ambassador to the Permanent Representative of Greece to the OSCE; and Alternate Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Nikos Sampoutzis, on Nov. 30. That evening, Larigakis attended a concert in honor of Kazakhstan Independence Day held at the Concert Hall of Vienna at the invitation of His Excellency Kairat Sarybay, ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna.
Larigakis Participates at International Conference in Jerusalem
AHI President Nick Larigakis presented at an international conference titled, “New Realities in the Eastern Mediterranean” held at the Konrad Adenauer Conference Center, Mishkenot Shaananim, Jerusalem, Dec. 11, 2018. The Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies (JISS) and B’nai B’rith International (BBI) sponsored the conference which was held in cooperation with AHI and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA).
President Larigakis presented on the topic, “The Role of the Greek Diaspora,” as a participant on the panel, “Extra-Regional Actors.”
“We thank JISS and B’nai B’rith International for organizing the conference,” Larigakis said. “It is yet another example of the ongoing cooperation between diaspora groups in support of the trilateral relationship between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.”
The conference, which brought together thought-leaders to continue the dialogue about the geopolitical significance of the Eastern Mediterranean, also featured: academicians, policy analysts, and former government officials.
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.