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Congress Praises AHI's Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day, AHI’s mission and work.

NO. 16

WASHINGTON, DC—March 27, 2019 

Several members of Congress, Greek Government Officials and community leadership celebrated  the 198th anniversary of Greek Independence Day by attending AHI’s “Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day, praising AHI’s mission and work.  —Picture Gallery follow below

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Congressional Members (in order of appearance): Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Chris Pappas (D- NH), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Gus Bilirakis, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD), and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). — Excepts of Remark follow below

Greek Government Officials and community leadership: Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Marios Lysiotis, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Greece Theodoros Bizakis, and AHEPA Executive Director Basil N. Mossaidis. Each thanked AHI for its work and for hosting the event,  emphasized the inspirational struggle for Greek Independence achieved in 1821 and the strong U.S.-Greece relationship that exists today and expressed their strong support for the burgeoning trilateral relationship between Greece, Cyprus and Israel and proper settlement of the Cyprus issue; as well as concern about Turkey’s provocative behavior in the region, and religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

AHI President Nick Larigakis thanked members' ongoing efforts to promote Greek American issues in the U.S. Congress.  Larigakis reiterated AHI’s policy that US foreign policy on Turkey must be within the context of Turkey’s acts of aggression in the Mediterranean emphasising that Turkey currently maintains more than 40,000 of its NATO troops illegally on Cyprus making Turkey a continuing source of instability in the region.

During the evening, there was a presentation of traditional Greek dances performed by the Byzantio Greek Dance and Cultural Arts Program under the direction of of Aris and Anna Yortzidis.  Sophia Pelekasis sang the American and Greek National Anthems

The event is held annually in cooperation with the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). 

Excerpts of Remarks by Members of Congress

Nick is certainly raising stakes and expectations.
It is important that the Cyprus issue is resolved, and Turkey’s increasing authoritarianism be addressed. We need to make sure all of NATO is on board.
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Hellenic culture is remarkable and has made tremendous contributions in politics, academia, and culture, among others. I am very blessed to have a Greek wife as well as kids imbued in Hellenic culture.

— Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

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“I would like to thank AHI. I applaud Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs Maloney and Bilirakis for creating a strong and diverse Hellenic caucus. It is essential that organizations which advocate for Greece and Cyprus come to the Hill.
Our Hellenic legacy is an extension of our forefathers. Greece is emerging from an economic crisis while Cyprus’ frustrations continue.
— Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD)

The United States stands with Greece. There are certain common values, that define our culture and the spirit of 1821. I am very much proud to be a part of this community.
Zito Hellas!”
— Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH)
We have an extraordinary Greek community in Chicago. I very much consider myself an ‘honorary’ member of the Greek community. Greek-Americans are very important to Chicago as a whole. I am thrilled to be a part of the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance (CHIA). Zito Hellas!
— Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL)
The members of the Hellenic Caucus will continue to be there supporting Greece and Cyprus. It is important to our government to object to actions by the Turkish military. Moreover, it is incumbent of us to support Cyprus’ right to explore its natural resources as well as the emerging tri-partite alliance between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel.
— Rep. Frank Palone (D-NJ)

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Thank you Nick and AHI for carrying the torch.
— Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
AHI has influenced the current government in a pro-American way. It is great to have Secretary of State Pompeo and the United States government recognizing the importance of the tri-partite alliance between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. We have great relations over the years. However, we still need to be vigilant as the Aegean is constantly under threat from the Turkish aggression. I am very confident that the U.S. will back Greece and take appropriate action on the issue of F-35’s. Also, we have to guard against President Erdogan’s threats against the Hagia Sophia.
— Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)

Thank you, Nick and AHI for hosting this evening and for Your great work.
— Rep. Carolyn Malone (D-NY)
The Caucus is proud to celebrate Greek Independence Day and Greece’s amazing history and contributions to democracy, art, science, literature and works to strengthen US critical friendship and alliance with Greece while in the Mediterranean, Turkey continues its slide into authoritarianism, posing a threat to the true democracies of the region, like Greece. Greeks have many reasons to be positive about its future. The U.S. and Greece are working together in many areas that have a profound effect on the world—energy, the economy, trade, national security to name a few.
— Rep. Carolyn Malone (D-NY)

Picture Gallery from the event