Weekend Events Include Briefing with Greek, Cypriot Ambassadors; Greek Night at Kellari
WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted its 44th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner, March 9, 2019, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
AHI honored a distinguished set of awardees based upon their important career achievements and contributions to the Greek American community or community at-large. They were:
Eleni D. Bousis, Philanthropist;
Nicholas E. Chimicles, Founder and Chairman, Chimicles, Schwartz, Kriner, & Donaldson-Smith LLP;
Spiro Spireas, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SigmaPharm Laboratories, LLC; and
Ambassador Patrick N. Theros, former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and Strategic Advisor, Gulf International Forum.
Larry Michael, “Voice of the Redskins,” and chief content officer and senior vice president, Washington Redskins; was the evening’s master of ceremonies. AHI Vice President James H. Lagos, Esq., introduced Michael.
The Marines of Headquarters Battalion presented the colors and the American and Greek national anthems were performed by Georgios Theodoridis, master chanter and director of Music Arts, St. Sophia Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Reverend Dimitrios J. Antokas, Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Md., offered the invocation. Maria Pierce entertained the audience with a musical interlude. Apollonia provided musical entertainment.
AHI Foundation President Constantine Galanis offered greetings and introduced AHI President Nick R. Larigakis, who reviewed the Institute’s initiatives and programs that are provided to the community.
Honorees Humbled, Moved by Accolades
“Tonight we honor four outstanding members of the Greek American community for setting an example not only of professional excellence but of selfless service to others, which is the ultimate definition of the ideas of Hellenism,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said.
Philanthropist Eleni D. Bousis received the AHI Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in recognition of her faithful service to the vulnerable and marginalized populations across the globe.
In acceptance, Bousis stated, “I am very humbled, touched, and grateful to AHI for recognizing my efforts in making a difference for humanity. It is a very gratifying experience.
Renowned Attorney and Legal Scholar Nicholas E. Chimicles received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his contributions to the legal profession and his commitment to justice and the rule of law.
In acceptance, Chimicles, who also serves on the AHI Board of Directors, stated, “I think this is a wonderful organization. AHI is a great spokesperson for Hellenism. I am proud to be a part of AHI. Being here today all started with my parents and education. It is simply a privilege to be here.”
AHI presented Entrepreneur and Scientist Spiro Spireas, Ph.D., with the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his outstanding achievements in the field of pharmaceutical science and for his leadership of, and service to, the Greek American community.
“We have to think about Hellenism comprehensively,” Dr. Spireas, who is a former AHI Foundation president, said. “Hellenism is not just for ethnic Greeks, but also Philhellenes. The Greek community should continue to be selfless in giving to good causes. AHI is a good lobbying group. Greek-Americans need to have effective lobbyists. We are giving something to a justified organization such as the American Hellenic Institute, and we need professionals to lobby for Greeks.”
Former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Theros received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award for his distinguished public service to the United States and for his tireless pursuit of religious freedom.
In acceptance, Ambassador Theros said, “We must never underestimate the contribution of the Greek-American community in every aspect of life in the United States; we have produced great leaders in science, medicine, politics, finance, and academia. We need great organizations like the American Hellenic Institute to make our fellow Americans aware of our presence and importance.”
Excerpts from Congratulatory Letters
The honorees’ many accomplishments were celebrated throughout the evening and highlighted in congratulatory letters submitted to AHI from His Beatitude Theophilos III Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America; Ambassador of Greece to the United States Haris Lalacos and Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis.
Patriarch Theophilos wrote: “…We take this opportunity to express heartfelt appreciation to Our dear friend Ambassador Patrick Theros, whose personal and professional convictions, together with the greater support of the United States, have helped Us to achieve what some have called impossible…We commend Ambassador Theros for his charismatic, respectful and integrity-based approach to diplomacy, which has been an asset not only to Our cause, but to his foreign service in regions often familiar with conflict and strife.”
Archbishop Demetrios wrote: “As an organization advocating to strengthen the relations between Greece and the United States of America, the American Hellenic Institute helps play a vital role in ensuring equal rights and privileges for Greece, Cyprus and Southeastern Europe, and these efforts are to be commended…They [the honorees] are deserving of these honors for they have proved themselves to be true philhellenes and Greek-Americans, achieving great heights both in their realms of work and in offering their contributions to the great countries of the United States of America and Greece.”
Ambassador Lalacos wrote: “The American Hellenic Institute is a long-standing and credible partner for the Greek Embassy in Washington DC…Through a number of events and initiatives, the American Hellenic Institute offers the opportunity to multiple U.S. stakeholders for an in-depth understanding on issues related to Greece, Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean region in general…I warmly congratulate this year’s outstanding Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Honorees that represent excellence in a wide range of professional, social and commercial activities.”
In addition to congratulating each honoree, Ambassador Lysiotis wrote: “The American Hellenic Institute has been a staunch and tireless advocate of the interests of Greece and Cyprus in the US and has fervently upheld the values of Hellenism and the rule of law and democracy, ever since its establishment. We are truly grateful to the AHI for everything it has been doing in support of the causes of concern to Cyprus.”
Please go to the end of the press release for complete bio of the honorees, the congratulatory letters in their entirety, and AHI’s Annual Report which are found in the Awards Dinner Journal.
Special thank you to our Major Benefactors: Constantine & Sophia Galanis; Nicholas & Kathleen Chimicles; Drs. Spiro & Emily Spireas; The Families of Jim and Ted Pedas; Demitri & Eleni Bousis; Mr. James Lagos; The Family of Peter G. Angelos; and Eugene & Aphrodite Rossides.
Special guests attending the event included: Ambassador of Greece to the United States Haris Lalacos, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who attended the reception; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Matthew Palmer; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs David Short.
Other notable guests attending the dinner were: Art Dimopoulos, executive director, National Hellenic Society; Mike Manatos, executive director, Washington OXI Day Foundation; Christos Papoutsis, former Minister of Greece for Citizens Protection and current advisor to the Executive Director at the World Bank; Maria Krithariotis, interim director, Greek National Tourism Organization, USA & Canada; Paul Kotrotsios, publisher, Hellenic News of America and president, Hermes Expo International; and AHI-Athens Chapter Vice President retired Vice Admiral of the Hellenic Navy Vasilis Kyriazis, and AHI-Athens Chapter Members George Mermelas and Katerina Papathanasiou.
Briefing with Top Greek, Cypriot Diplomats Comprise Weekend’s Events
As part of the weekend’s festivities AHI hosted a breakfast briefing with Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Haris Lalacos and Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis, on March 9. The relevant topics affecting both countries were discussed by the two top diplomats. AHI President Nick Larigakis moderated the discussion. A lively Q&A session followed.
Moreover, as part of the weekend’s festivities, major benefactors and supporters attended AHI Greek Night hosted at Kellari Restaurant, March 8. Special thanks to AHI board member, Dr. Athina Balta for organizing the Greek Night.