Who We Are
AHI’s members care deeply about the United States’ relationship with Greece and her neighbors. Following Pericles’s admonition that good citizenship requires involvement in public affairs, we recognize the important role played in a vibrant democracy by alert, engaged citizens.
Our mission is as clear today as it was when AHI was founded in 1974: Upholding the rule of law in matters of U.S. foreign policy, particularly in our nation’s dealings with Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. In 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied Cyprus, AHI advocated a profoundly simple response—enforce U.S. law. At the time, the Executive Branch refused to enforce federal laws that prohibited Turkey’s aggressive use of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment.
AHI persuaded Congress to take action. The resulting legislation—an unprecedented rule of law U.S. arms embargo against Turkey—proved that the democratic ideals of ancient Greece continue to thrive as long as ordinary citizens remain vigilant, informed, and active. Since then, AHI has become the leading forum for addressing important issues that affect the U.S.’s relationship with Greece, Cyprus, and Southeastern Europe. It is a well-respected lobby, think-tank, business network, and educational foundation that informs and influences leaders, policymakers and citizens alike. We invite you to join and help us fulfill our mission.
What We Do
From our Hellenic House headquarters, just steps from the White House, AHI’s professional staff works with legislators, the Department of State, the diplomatic corps, and educational institutions to advance the best interests of the U.S. on issues of importance to Greek Americans.
Each year, AHI initiates congressional legislation, issues policy statements, and serves as an effective watchdog on issues affecting U.S. relations in Southeastern Europe. Key issues have included ending the illegal occupation of Cyprus, the treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, aggression in the Aegean Sea, and the U.S.’s response to the dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter nation’s name.
While U.S. public policy is fundamentally important to AHI, so is the Greek American community. AHI is its public policy standard-bearer not just on Capitol Hill but in the nation-at-large. Each spring, AHI’s gala Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner honors the best and brightest in the Greek American community and beyond for achievements in public service, business, education, science, and the arts. AHI’s conference on The Future of Hellenism in America, held each year at different locations around the country, is a traveling symposium on the evolving Greek American community. The AHI Business Network unites professionals for networking and educational exchanges.
- In 1974, AHI galvanized Congress’s ‘Rule of Law Arms Embargo’, which prohibited arms sales to Turkey in response to that nation’s illegal invasion and occupation of the Republic of Cyprus.
- AHI’s efforts in 1995 led to the elimination of U.S. grant economic aid to Turkey.
- In 2006, AHI blew the whistle on U.S. efforts to initiate direct trade with the illegal regime that occupies northern Cyprus.
- AHI’s initial Future of Hellenism in America conference in 2005 was the first event of its kind.
- AHI led the business community by hosting 14 symposia on doing business in Greece. AHI was the first organization to bring leaders together for this purpose.
- AHI’s American Hellenic Who’s Who remains the only printed anthology of Greek Americans in the United States.
- AHI’s two groundbreaking video productions: A Tribute to the Greek Women Immigrant Pioneers, and The Greek American Operational Groups are unique examinations of special contributions by previously unheralded individuals.
- AHI was the first organization to sponsor a congressional delegation to Greece.
“What others are saying”
“The American Hellenic Institute performs an invaluable service in keeping Greek Americans and, indeed, all Americans who care about developments affecting our two countries, well informed. ZHTO AHI!”
—John Brademas, President Emeritus, New York University, Former Member United States House of Representatives (Dem., IN 1959-1981)
“As the Greek American population becomes more dispersed and assimilated, it is important to examine how, as a community, we are preserving the traditions and values that are central not only to our ancestry, but to American democracy and society. With the Future of Hellenism Conference AHI examines this very issue with the best and brightest minds in the country. With the annual examination, we are ensuring that the next generation of Greek Americans will inherit this rich tradition.”
—George Marcus, Chairman Marcus & Milichap
“I am a staunch believer in the work of The American Hellenic Institute, and I have always said that if it didn’t exist, we should have invented it.”
—Alexandros Mallias, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S.
“…one of the most effective lobbies in Washington is that of Greek Americans…most effective has been the American Hellenic Institute.”
“There is rich history of entrepreneurship among Greek Americans. I welcome AHI’s efforts to support this tradition by periodically bringing business leaders and executives together at symposia and networking events nationwide. The community can only benefit from the connections and discoveries made during these events.”
—John P. Calamos, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Calamos Investments
“In 1974, the founding members of the American Hellenic Institute used their power as American citizens and guided our government into trying to right a wrong. It was a movement that made a difference. This feat alone is remarkable to me, and 34 years later, to continue to make monumental efforts, not only to support our Hellenic heritage, but to maintain our voice in our country’s capital is phenomenal.”
—Melina Kanakaredes, Acclaimed actress and television star
“Can we have peace and security in the world when the rule of law is violated? The answer is no. This has been AHI’s mantra and the foundation on which it was built on since its inception following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. It applied then and it applies today.”
—Andreas Kakouris, Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S.
“AHI is an effective Greek American policy organization today. It promotes the Hellenic ideals of democracy, religious freedom and the rule of law which is good not only in the promotion of U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus, bur for all Americans.”
—John Catsimatidis, Chairman and CEO, Red Apple Group
“AHI has done an outstanding job establishing itself in the United States, Greece and Cyprus. This presence affirms their status as a leading organization in pursuing with U.S. policy makers the issues relating to U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus. AHI’s depth of understanding and articulation of the issues has them well positioned for continued success in the future.”
—George D. Behrakis, Chairman, Gainesborough LLC