Young Cypriots Gain DC Policy Experience Thanks to AHI, UNYSA Partnership
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) partnered with the United Nations Youth Student Association (UNYSA) Public Policy Program to facilitate a month-long internship for Yiannis Xenophontos at AHI’s Hellenic House in Washington, D.C. The Public Policy Program’s objective is to support the development of young Cypriots in the field of public policy in Washington, D.C.
“AHI is thrilled to partner with UNYSA to provide opportunities in public policy for young Cypriots such as Yiannis,” President Nick Larigakis said. “Although only a month, Yiannis made the most of his opportunity. He gained tremendous firsthand experience and insight into public policy development in Washington and represented AHI at several important events.”
A native of Limassol, Yiannis recently graduated from King’s College London with a BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, while also serving as president of the King’s College London Cypriot Society. During his internship at the AHI, Yiannis observed firsthand the policy-making process through meetings, lectures and research projects. He attended several events at internationally renowned think tanks, such as the Hudson Institute, the Center of Strategic and International Studies, Cato Institute and the Institute of World Politics. At these events, he heard speakers such as: the Prince of Lichtenstein, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Michael Bennet; and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, present their viewpoints on climate change, foreign policy, and trade. Yiannis attended meetings with congressional staff members as part of the “In Defense of Christians Capitol Hill Day,” and learning about how congressional offices operate and shape their policy stances. He also attended the “Lemkin Lecture: Reparations, Recognition & the Armenian Genocide” hosted by the Armenian National Committee of America. Yiannis also completed several research projects on U.S.-Greece-Cyprus trilateral relations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish lobbying activities in the U.S., and Turkish influence in U.S. academia.
Reflecting, Yiannis said: “This experience has been incredible. In a short time, I have learned so much about politics and policy of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean. I am honored to been part of the American Hellenic Institute, which led the fight to pass an arms embargo against Turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Working on the aforementioned important issues and throughout my experience at AHI reminds me of a quote from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address: `Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.’
He continued: “I would also like to express my warmest thanks to Mr. Nick Larigakis, president of AHI, and Mr. George Hadjipavlis from UNYSA, who gave me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful new program.”
In January 2020, Yiannis will enter the professional field in Management Consulting in London. In the future, he aspires to contribute to public service in any way possible.
Larigakis added, “AHI looks forward to a continued partnership with UNYSA, helping to contribute to this program’s success in the years to come. Educating our youth in the field of public policy and government is vital.”
The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) is a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community. The AHI offers several internship positions throughout the year, where students can gain experience in government affairs and foreign policy issues. Interns engage in a variety of tasks including research, analysis and compile reports. Interns also have the incredible opportunity to attend conferences at think tanks, congressional hearings, as well as meetings on Capitol Hill. The internship provides the opportunity to gain real life experience with policy issues and familiarization with the nuances of policy-making.