Other Links

« | Main

Winter 2012-2013 Editorial Foreword

By AHIF Staff | January 23, 2013

By Dan Georgakas

The purpose of the policy journal of the American Hellenic Institute is to foster creative thinking on political issues affecting Greece, Cyprus, and the Greek diaspora. Some of our essays have a near-term focus while others offer longer-term perspectives. Still others take on wider cultural issues. We are particularly pleased to be publishing a number of essays by younger Greek Americans just now becoming politically engaged.

Charles J. Mouratides opens our issue with “The Eastern Mediterranean: The Times They Are A-Changing,” an essay that examines the joint oil and gas operations of Cyprus and Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean. Mouratides argues that this development, if adroitly handled, is a political “game changer.”

Mouratides is the executive director of CHI – Circle for Hellas & Israel/International Friends for Greece-Israel Alliance, has been past executive director of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, and has served as an officer in the Pan-Macedonian Association of America. He was a co-founder of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece.

Our second essay is the historical joint declaration issued by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus and Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger of Jerusalem concerning the shared spiritual values of Christianity and Judaism. What makes the declaration truly historic is that Archbishop Chrysostomos is the first Orthodox prelate to declare that the doctrine of collective and ongoing Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus is contrary to Holy Scriptures. This is an extremely important teaching not only for the deepening Cypriot-Israel relationship but for all of the Greek Orthodox faith. The Archbishop’s words are also an indirect rebuke to the anti-Semitic views of organizations such the Golden Dawn organization in Greece.

Patrick Theros worked in the U.S. Foreign Service for thirty-six years and was the American Ambassador to Qatar from 1995-1998. Drawing on this lengthy experience in international affairs, his “The Advantages of Picking Low-Hanging Political Fruit” urges Hellenes to consider scoring some modest political victories rather than fixating on grand solutions with an implicit winner-takes-all strategy. He discusses a number of specific actions of value to Cyprus and Greece that Greek Americans could undertake with the strong likelihood of success in the

U.S. Congress Among his many other accomplishments, Theros has directed the State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Office and has been awarded numerous decorations by the government of the United States. He is currently the president of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council.

Panayiotis Diamadis, who teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney, brings a voice from the Greeks of Australia to our journal with his “Why Macedonia Matters.” Diamadis underscores that the dispute over the formal name of Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is not a matter of national pride but of FYROM’s threat to existing Balkan borders. Greek pride in this context is of no interest to powerful nations such as the United States, but those same nations, particularly the United States, are very concerned with retaining stability in the region. His specialty is Genocide Studies with a focus on the Hellenic, Armenian, and Assyrian genocides.

“The Parthenon Sculptures: The Cause for Reunification” by John Papaspanos provides an update on the struggle to return the Parthenon marbles to their native land. The essay indicates websites that are accessible for those who want to become more active in the struggle or simply wish to be aware of new developments as they occur. John Papaspanos graduated summa cum laude from Seton Hall University where he majored in International Relations. He is currently studying law at the University of Pennsylvania and business at the Wharton School. He is particularly interested in the energy industry and did research on that topic as a Fulbright scholar at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Our Emerging Voices of Greek America section presents some of the thoughts and activities of a new generation of Greek Americans. They write candidly of how they view the political and social challenges facing Greece and Cyprus. Connie Candilis (graduating senior: Winsor School) begins with parallels she sees between fiscal policy choices in Europe and the United States. Alexis Angelo (Trinity University), Andrew M. Pernokas (Boston College), Anna Tsiotsias (University of Pennsylvania), and Aletha Vassilakis (University of California-San Diego) draw on their experiences as participants in the fourth annual American Hellenic Institute Foundation’s Foreign Policy Student Trip to Greece and Cyprus to comment on a variety of policy concerns. These young men and women write with particularly passion of their experiences in Cyprus.

Vicki James Yiannias advances our efforts to consider how cultural activities can affect political dynamics with her “Socrates NOW: Bringing It All Home” The essay is an account of how Greek American actor Yannis Simonides is bringing his one-man show on Socrates to Greece and the Eastern Meditterrean. Simonides, long active in Greek American theater and former host of an interview show on Greek Orthodox television, offers a production that doesn’t give Greeks an American slant on politics but urges them to drawn on Classic Greek culture to address the current cultural crisis in Greece. Yiannias brings a passion for media and culture to her discussion of this unique form of theater. She has written for numerous Greek American publications and is currently one of the editors of Greek News, a weekly electronic newspaper issued in New York. She also has worked as an editor, writer, and illustrator for the New York Times Magazine, Simon & Schuster, and MSmagazine .

Our final selection is Constantine Hatzidimitriou’s analysis of The Genocide of the Ottoman Greeks, a new book on the persecution of Christians in Asia Minor. Worth noting is that Matthias Bjornlund and Tessa Hofmann, two of the volume’s editors, are respectively Danish and German scholars, making it very difficult to dismiss their work as having an ethnic bias. Hatzidimitrou is editor of

American Accounts Documenting the Destruction of Smyrna by the Kemalist Turkish Forces, September 1922. His most recent publication on that topic is “The Destruction of Smyrna: 1922,” which is anthologized in The Asia Minor Catastrophe and the Ottoman Greek Genocide, a title just released by the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center. Hatzidimitriou also writes of Greek America. Forthcoming in early 2013 is his breakthrough essay on “Maria Economidy: A Pioneering Reformer” to be published The Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, V. 39.1.

Topics: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Winter 2012-2013 Editorial Foreword”

  1. Stephen Says:
    November 12th, 2014 at 12:40 pm