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Winter 2011-2012 Editorial Foreword

By AHIF Staff | January 11, 2012

By Dan Georgakas

This issue of the AHI policy journal addresses a cluster of national and international issues pertinent to the interests of Greece, Cyprus, and the United States. Our coverage offers a mix of strategy, documentation, tactics, and analysis that aims to enrich public discourse on these issues.

We begin with an essay based on a speech given by  Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis,  Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus, at the Director’s Forum of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Center on Dec. 20, 2011. The Minister emphasizes how the strategic location of Cyprus is a vital factor in the immediate political and economic prospects for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Nick Larigakis, the president of the American Hellenic Institute, and I follow with comments on the coming election year in the United States. Larigakis finds the Obama administration’s record on issues relating to Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey wanting and posits that the administration has from now until election time to take a more positive course. I discuss some of the rhetorical strategies necessary for Greek Americans to be politically effective, and I offer a series of suggestions on how relatively small community groups can influence national policy.

Dr. Artemis Leontis, Associate Professor of Modern Greek, Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, discusses the current state of Modern Greek Studies programs in the United States with particular attention to the teaching of modern Greek. The essay is slightly amended from a speech given at the 2011 The Future of Hellenism in America conference sponsored by the American Hellenic Institute.

In recent years, a number of Greek American organizations that have been sponsoring Hellenic studies abroad programs of various kinds.  Michael Savvas, a recent graduate of San Diego State University, was among the thousand plus young people to have participated in such programs. He took part in AHEPA’s Journey to Greece program and in the American Hellenic Institute Foundation’s foreign policy trip to Greece and Cyprus. We offer his account as an example of the positive effect such trips have and how even one student activist can take action at the local level

A major research piece on the Pontian Genocide is offered by Dr. Konstantinos Fotiades of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.  This essay is excerpted from his The Genocide of the Black Sea Greeks which was published in Athens in 2004 by The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarianism and Democracy and is now seeking an English-language publisher.  The excerpt is from Chapter 6 which deals in depth with the scale and continuity of the genocide in the years 1918-1919. A small section of the chapter which deals with Smyrna in this period that fits into the larger context of the work has been omitted to keep the focus on the plight of the Pontians, a genocide unknown to most Americans.

Looking at more recent developments in the Turkish military and what they might portend for Greece and Cyprus is Dr. Harry Dinella, a professor of Joint and Multinational Operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College campus at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, and an adjunct professor of government at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  Dinella examines the tense relationship between senior Turkish military officers and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Our final selection is an in-depth review of George C. Blytas’ The First Victory: Greece in the Second World War by Dr. Alexandros K. Kyrou, an American Hellenic Institute Fellow who is Associate Professor of History at Salem State University. Kyrou considers both the military and psychological impact of the Greek victory over Mussolini, a historic moment frequently misrepresented in conventional texts regarding World War II.

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