Volume 26 Number 220 — July 3, 2000
AHI GENERAL NEWS
AHI 25TH ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER
The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) honored five distinguished Greek Americans and two Members of Congress at a glittering ceremony held on March 4, 2000 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. on the occasion of AHI’s 25th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner.
The dinner was attended by over 350 family, friends and supporters of the AHI from across the country. Special guests included Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera,Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon, and Cypriot Chargé d’Affaires Andreas Kakouris. Mr. James Marketos, AHI Chairman, introduced Mr.John C. Metaxas, anchor and correspondent of CNN Financial News, who served as Master of Ceremonies.
The recipients of the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award for their outstanding careers in public service were Senator William V. Roth (R-DE) and Congressman Donald M. Payne (D-NJ).
Hellenic Heritage Achievement Awards were presented to Dr. Theodore Lyras, former Chief of General Surgery in the West Jersey Health System, Professor Elias P. Gyftopoulos, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ms. Thalia Assuras, Co-Anchor of CBS’ Evening News, Saturday Edition, Mr. Nickolas Davatzes, President and CEO of A & E Television Networks, and Mr. Ted Leonsis, President, America OnLine Interactive Properties Group and Owner of the Washington Capitals NHL Hockey Club.
In their acceptance speeches, Senator Roth and Congressman Payne stressed that their advocacy of issues regarding Greece and Cyprus was based on the fact that these issues “transcended parochial questions” and “reflected the fundamental American values of the rule of law, justice, human rights and resistance to aggression.”
The Honorees of Greek heritage placed great emphasis on the values of education, hard work, entrepreneurial vision and family support. They spoke of their Greek heritage and their faith. They accepted their awards with gratitude and humility, expressing the hope that they would be an inspiration to others. In the words of one Honoree: “it is marvelous to be Greek.”
Highlights of their remarks were:
Dr. Gyftopoulos: “I would like to thank the AHI for their efforts over the past decades to convince the government of our adopted country to apply the democratic and just laws of this country with justice and equity to the sovereign countries of Greece and Cyprus.”
Ms. Assuras: “My heritage is my blood. My parents’ values, their beliefs, their passions are mine. This tribute is not a tribute to me but to my Mom and Dad to all they instilled in me.”
Mr. Davatzas: “When I think of what it means to be Greek American, what enables us to have such high educational standards, it is that philosophy of hard work, respect and caring that we have inherited from our parents.”
Mr. Leonsis: “We have to do what Greeks have done before, that is to conquer. And the way we can do that is to use the internet to free Cyprus.”
Dr Lyras: “The AHI is not just an Institute. It is the Institute. I can assure you that AHI is one of the few institutes that really cares about Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, the Aegean and other Hellenic issues.”
The program was opened by Mr. Nick Larigakis, AHI Executive Director. Following presentation of the colors by the Headquarters Battalion, US Marine Corps, students from the Greek School of St Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, Falls Church, Virginia performed the American and Greek national anthems under the direction of Ms.Aglaia Koras.
Mr. Eugene Rossides, President, AHI Foundation, welcomed the dinner guests with a brief review of AHI achievements in 1999 and a preview of AHI’s 2000 agenda. The invocation and benediction were given by Father Athanasios Demos, Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Maryland. Dinner music was provided by Zephyros.
The Honorees were introduced by friends and associates with distinguished records in their own professional fields: Mr. Panos D. Spiliakos, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Anatolia College, Boston (Dr. Gyftopoulos); Dr. Christine Warnke, Government Affairs Adviser, Hogan and Hartson and Dr. Dean Lomis, Distinguished Educator (Senator Roth); Ms. Anthi Poulos, Founder and President, The Committee on the Parthenon, and Mr. Savas Tsivicos, President Cyprus Federation of America and former AHIPAC Chairman, (Congressman Payne); Mr. George P. Stamas, Vice-Chairman Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown (Mr. Leonsis); Mr. Demetrios A. Boutris, Secretary of Legal Affairs and Counsel to California Governor Gray Davis (Ms. Assuras); Mr. John Rigas, Chairman and CEO Adelphia (Mr. Davatzes); Ms. Georgia Athanasopoulos,Consul General for Panama, Philadelphia (Dr. Lyras).
In their remarks, the introducers praised the Honorees both for their outstanding personal accomplishments and for the service they had rendered to their communities and the cause of Hellenism.
Prominent guests included:
Presidents and Executives of Greek American organizations: Professor Van Coufoudakis, Chairman, Foundation for Hellenic Studies; Mr. Andreas Pericli, President Pan Cyprian Association the Greater Metropolitan Washington area; Mr. Ted Spyropoulos, President, Hellenic American National Council; and Mr. John Sitilides, Executive Director, Western Policy Center.
Former Honorees: Mr. George Bissell, Chairman of the Board of Anatolia College; Ms. Dora Hancock, President Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC); Dr.Stamatios Krimigis; and Dr. Constantine Papadakis, President Drexel University.
Others: Mr. Kimon Bakos, Senior Vice President, Atlantic Bank of New York; Ms. Lana Corbi, CEO of Operations, Odyssey TV; Mr. Alan Fleischman, Chief of Staff to Maryland Lt. Governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; Mr. Constantinos Grigoriadis, President and CEO, Alpha Finance U.S. Corporations; Ms Dorie Klissas, a Producer at the NBC “Today Show”; Mr. Jim Lagos, Lagos and Lagos LLP, Springfield, Ohio; Mr. Alki Panagoulias, former national team coach for Greece and Team America; Mr. Manny Rouvelas, partner Preston, Gates, Ellis and Rouvelas, Meeds, Washington DC; Maryland State Senator Perry Sfikas; Mr. Mike Taylor, Democratic Candidate for Congress for the 8th District of North Carolina; and Ambassador and Mrs. Patrick Theros, former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar.
AHI INITIATES AEGEAN SEA RESOLUTION IN CONGRESS
On May 25, 2000 Representative Rob Andrews (D-NJ) introduced H.Con.Res.340 “expressing the sense of the Congress regarding Turkey’s claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean.” The Resolution states that:
The effect of H.Con.Res.340 is to express the House of Representatives’ view that the boundaries as between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean have been established once and for all and that islands and islets on the Greek side, including the islets of Imia, are Greek sovereign territory.
The Resolution co-sponsors to date are Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), Michael Capuano (D-MA), William Coyne (D-PA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Bob Filner (D-CA), Ron Klink (D-PA), Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI), Carolyn Maloney (D-CT), James McGovern (D-MA), Michael McNulty (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Brad Sherman (D-CA)
H.Con.Res.340 incorporates language initiated by the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) and first introduced on November 7, 1997 by Congressman Mike Pappas (R-NJ) in the 105th Congress. It also incorporates language from Amendment 19 to H.R. 2415 introduced by Representative Andrews and passed by the House of Representatives by unanimous voice vote by on July 21, 1999.
AHIPAC Chairman Nick Chimicles stated, “AHIPAC commends Representative Andrews for introducing this Resolution. It reaffirms the core American interest in the rule of law. AHIPAC thanks the current co-sponsors and urges all Members of Congress to consider co-sponsoring or supporting H.Con.Res.340.”
AHIPAC Executive Director Nick Larigakis stated, “AHIPAC will be contacting its grass roots leadership and members and the wider Greek American community to encourage them to write or call their local Representatives to urge them to support H.Con.Res.340.”
A Message From Eugene T. Rossides, AHI Founder
“AHI’s annual dinner enables us as a community to honor those from among us with records of outstanding achievement. Every year I take great pride in noting how the members of our community continue to scale the pinnacles of academia, business, politics and the media. Most gratifying to me is that, as they attain these heights of professional accomplishment, they still retain the values of family, hard work and education that are so deeply embedded in our heritage.
Our dinner also enables us to reach outside our community to honor those who share our values and aspirations. It is always a pleasure to greet those at the top of our nation’s public life and to share the realization of how these values and aspirations are now central to American culture.
As we begin the new Millenium, the dinner prompts me to reflect on the many challenges that face our community. These are especially pressing in the field of public policy. AHI is committed to promoting the strongest possible relationship between the United States and Greece and Cyprus. Yet the obstacles are many, primarily from those in the Executive Branch who give little thought to the rule of law and fundamental American values and instead yield to aggression and illegality.
This is why in this presidential and congressional election year, AHI will be making extra efforts to project our views to the candidates and parties. Our positions as set out in the Year 2000 Greek American Policy Statements are bipartisan and are based on basic American values and interests.
One of our key objectives is to ensure that, amid the encouraging signs of reducing tensions in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, substantive problems remain that cannot be solved simply by euphoria or good will. Territorial claims against Greece must cease; the occupation of Cyprus must be brought to an end; the Ecumenical Patriarchate must be allowed to function normally. These are the minimum ingredients of a true peace in this region. I hope that AHI can count on your active participation and support in the coming important months of the election cycle.
I will conclude by recalling one of the pleasantest moments of this period, namely the visit to Hellenic House of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos. This gave us the chance to learn about Athens’ preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games and also to hear from the Mayor about his innovative ideas for ‘city-to-city’ diplomacy. I urge all of you when you come to Washington to drop in at Hellenic House.”
ATHENS MAYOR DIMITRIS AVRAMOPOULOS VISITS HELLENIC HOUSE
On March 27, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute was pleased to welcome Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos as a visitor to Hellenic House. Mayor Avramopoulos was greeted at Hellenic House by AHI founder Eugene T. Rossides and other AHI officers, members and staff.
Mayor Avramopoulos was visiting Washington for the purpose of signing a protocol of “friendship and cooperation” with Washington DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams and to conduct meetings with Administration and other officials. This protocol will complement similar arrangements that are already in place between Athens and Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.
In his visit to Hellenic House, which lasted 90 minutes, Mayor Avramopoulos outlined his concept of a “partnership of cities” as a new institution in international relations. He highlighted Athens’ unique status as the first city-state to lead this “city diplomacy” which was being carried out with the personal encouragement of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mayor Avramopoulos outlined Athens’ role as the host of the 2004 Olympic Games. In further discussion, Mayor Avramopoulos was briefed on AHI activities and on ideas for cooperation between the City of Athens and the United States.
Mayor Avramopoulos praised AHI for its services to U.S.-Greek relations. He said that AHI had a distinguished record on service in promoting mutual understanding between Greece and the United States.
Mr. Avramopoulos was accompanied by Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon and Special Adviser Dr. Aristidis Calogeropoulos-Stratis.
Also present at the meeting were AHI Chairman James Marketos, partner in Berliner, Corcoran and Rowe LLP, AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, partner in Sfikas, Karambelas and Akaras LLP, and AHI Members Mr. George Stamas, Vice-Chairman DeutscheBanc Alex Brown, Mr. Aki Bayz, General Counsel of the Hellenic American National Council, and Andy Akaras, partner in Sfikas, Karambelas and Akaras LLP.
¡n addition, on March 29, 2000 AHI co-hosted a presentation by Mayor Avromopoulos at the Directors Forum of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies.
SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL EMISSARY FOR CYPRUS AND SPECIAL CYPRUS COORDINATOR VISIT HELLENIC HOUSE
On April 21, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute was pleased to welcome Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Ambassador Al Moses and Special Cyprus Coordinator Ambassador Thomas Weston to Hellenic House. Following the visit, the Ambassadors were entertained to luncheon at the Washington Hilton where they gave a briefing and answered round-table questions on the current status of the Cyprus settlement negotiations.
The discussion covered a range of topics including the continuing commitment of the Clinton administration to achieving a Cyprus settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation. In answer to a question about the Turkish Cypriot demand for ‘confederation,’ the position of the U.S. Government, publicly stated on numerous occasions, was expressly reiterated that this was a ‘non-starter.’
The questions from persons attending the luncheon covered a broad range of issues relating to Cyprus. They highlighted a widespread concern among the Greek American community that the Clinton Administration has not kept its campaign pledges to the Greek American community regarding Cyprus and has not put sufficient pressure on Turkey to reach a Cyprus settlement in accordance with the rule of law.
The persons attending the luncheon were AHI Chairman Jim Marketos, AHIPAC Chairman Nick Chimicles, AHI Counsel Nick Karambelas, AHEPA Supreme President George Dariotis, Hellenic American Women’s Council President Dora Hancock, Pancyprians of Metropolitan Washington President Andreas Periclis and AHI membersKostas Alexakis, Steve Yeonas, Ambassador Patrick Theros, Manny Rouvelas, Christine Warnke, AHI founder Eugene T. Rossides, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis and AHI staff.
In preparation for the 2000 presidential and congressional elections, AHI in conjunction with the Order of AHEPA sponsored three legislative conferences in Philadelphia, New York and Boston respectively. These were designed to provide information on issues of key interest to the Greek American community.
The conferences covered the following topics:
The Philadelphia conference was held on January 29, 2000. In his greeting remarks at the luncheon, Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis stressed the need for the Greek American community to maintain a vigilant approach to U.S. policy toward Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. It was necessary to “destroy the perception of Turkey as a reliable ally.” Dr. Papadakis criticized the U.S. military as being “infatuated” by the Turkish military. He made a strong call for active lobbying by the Greek American community. He congratulated AHI and AHEPA on the clarity and consistency of their positions.
Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ) gave a luncheon presentation, the highlights of which were:
In conclusion, Congressman Andrews looked forward to a new era of congressional activism on Turkey. He invited all members of the Greek American community to continue to act as “mentors, friends, teachers and allies” to him and his colleagues.
Mr. Nicholas Chimicles, Chairman of AHIPAC, acted as moderator. He also arranged a private dinner on the evening prior to the conference attended by CongressmanJoseph Hoeffel (D-PA). This provided the opportunity to explain AHI and AHEPA policies and legislative priorities to the Congressman, who is a member of the House International Relations Committee.
New York Conference
The New York conference took place on February 12, 2000. In addition, to the topics listed above Mr. Antonis H. Diamataris, Publisher and Editor, The National Herald gave a presetnation on the Role of thr Greek American Media.
Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY) of the House International Relations Committee was the luncheon speaker. The highlights of his remarks were:
Mr. Chris Pappas, President, AHI-Manhattan Chapter and Partner in the firm of Marulli and Huebel P.C. of New York, acted as the conference moderator.
The Boston confernce was held on March 11, 2000 in co-operation with the AHI Boston Chapter and was co-sponsored by the Order of AHEPA and the Foundation for Hellenic Studies. In addition to the topics listed earlier, Ms. Nancy Agris Savage, Editor, The Hellenic Chronicle gave a presentation on the role of the Greek American media.
Following an introduction from Luncheon Chairman Dr. Panos D. Spiliakos, Director of Development and Alumni, Hellenic College and Holy Cross and remarks by Honorary Conference Chairman Mr. George D. Behrakis, Chairman, Gainsborough Investments, Mr. George Hadjimichelakis, Consul General for Greece in Boston, and Dr. John Papajohn, Honorary Consul of Cyprus in Boston, delivered greetings.
Mr. Jimmy S. Pappas, President, AHI Boston Chapter, acted as moderator and Mr. George Chryssis, Chairman, Arcadian Capital Management LLC, was the conference chairman.
AHIPAC SUBMITS TESTIMONY TO HOUSE AND SENATE SUBCOMMITTEES
On April 13 and 14, 2000 respectively, Eugene T. Rossides submitted testimony on the Administration’s foreign aid proposals to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs.
The statements set out means to promote the interests and values of the United States in the Southeast Europe and Eastern Mediterranean region.
The statement supports the amount of $15 million in humanitarian aid for Cyprus. this aid is an important symbol of U.S. support for Cyprus and of the U.S. commitment to achieving a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.
The statements highlight the positive roles played by Greece and Cyprus in advancing U.S. regional interests. Both countries are vigorous democracies. Greece is uniquely placed in the region as the only country, which is both a member of the EU and NATO. Cyprus has established itself as a regional center of international business and finance and is well advanced in terms of its accession negotiaions with the EU. It recommends that the U.S. should maximize these opportunities by developing a closer relationship with both countries.
Mr. Rossides’ statements were made on behalf of the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee, the Hellenic American National Council, the Hellenic American Women’s Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Pan Laconian Federation of the U.S.A. and Canada, the Pan Cretan Association of America, and the Pan Karpathian Progressive Association.
The statements highlight Turkey’s negative role in terms of its violations of human rights and international law. The statements call upon Congress to initiate a critical review of U.S. policy toward Turkey.
GREEK AMERICAN POLICY STATEMENTS AND CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING
On February 9, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) released the year 2000 Greek American Policy Statements prepared by AHI and reviewed and approved by the Order of AHEPA and its Cyprus and Hellenic Affairs Committee, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC) and the Cyprus Federation of America, the key membership organizations in the community. In each case the policies set forth are based on the question of what is in the best interests of the United States.
The Policy Statements highlight the significant changes taking place in the political, security and economic landscape in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region. At its December 10-11, 1999 Helsinki Council, the European Union decided to grant candidate status to Turkey under conditions which, in effect, require Turkey to resolve the Aegean and Cyprus issues. Turkey’s compliance or otherwise will be a key issue in the coming year. Under G8 and UN sponsorship, proximity talks on Cyprus took place in New York and Geneva, with a further round due later this year. The pace of contact between Greece and Turkey has accelerated, including an exchange of visits by the two foreign ministers which resulted in a series of agreements for mutual cooperation. There are now hopes of better relations between the two countries.
The Policy Statements stress the strategic importance of Greece and Cyprus as regional partners of the United States. As vigorous, prosperous and stable democracies, they are a source of regional political and economic leadership that offers the opportunity to make a decisive advance for U.S. national interests in the region.
The Policy Statements contrast the negative role played by Turkey, which continues to be the prime cause of many of the region’s problems. This is in large part because of the anti-democratic influence of the Turkish military over Turkish governance as set forth in the Turkish constitution. Turkey has continued its illegal territorial claims against sovereign Greek territory, introduced new and unacceptable conditions for negotiations about Cyprus, continued its harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and, as detailed in the State Department’s annual country human rights report, further stained its already notorious human rights record against pro-democratic forces and ethnic and religious minorities inside Turkey.
The Policy Statements set out a legislative agenda for the 2nd session of the 106th Congress, including a call for congressional hearings on a critical review of U.S. policy toward Turkey.
On March 9, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) held a luncheon on Capitol Hill at which AHIPAC Chairman Nicholas Chimicles presented the Year 2000 Greek American Policy Statements and outlined AHIPAC’s legislative priorities for the current session of Congress.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Chimicles highlighted the “unprecedented opportunity” to advance U.S. interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean arising from the European Union decision in December 1999 to accept Turkey as a candidate member for accession subject to the fulfillment by Turkey of certain conditions. The EU decision sets the stage for making progress on long-standing regional problems such as the Aegean and Cyprus. Mr. Chimicles stated that AHIPAC welcomed this development which reflected long-held AHIPAC positions.
Mr. Chimicles also referred to the “earthquake diplomacy” and the warming of relations between Greece and Turkey as a helpful development.
Mr. Chimicles emphasized that Congress now has an important role to play. Peace and progress will not develop of their own accord. The U.S. needs to send a signal that it is actively engaged. Congress should be “more vigilant, not less vigilant; more interested, not less interested.”
The prime means for Congress to express its continuing interest in the region and its support for fundamental U.S. values is, Mr. Chimicles stated, to support AHIPAC-initiated legislation to be introduced into the Congress. This legislation will cover:
The briefing was attended by approximately 20 representatives or their legislative aides.
Mr. Chimicles is senior partner of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP with offices in Haverford, PA and Wilmington, DE. Mr. Chimicles is also Chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee.
AHI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR APPEARS ON VOICE OF AMERICA
On May 3, 2000 the Voice of America Greek and Turkish services held a debate on “Greek-Turkish Rapprochement and Its Effect on Efforts for Regional Peace and Security,” The debate was televised live and was simultaneously available on the Internet.
The debate was opened by VOA Director Sanford J. Ungar who introduced taped presentations from Foreign Ministers George Papandreou of Greece and Ismail Cem of Turkey. Two panels followed “The Elements Behind the Current Greek-Turkish Rapprochement” and “Effects of the Greek-Turkish Rapprochement on the Efforts for Regional Peace and Stability.” These were moderated respectively by Mr. Taclan Suerdem, Chief VOA Turkish Service, and Mr. George Bistis, Chief VOA Greek Service.
AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis was invited to make a presentation to the second panel. In his remarks, Mr. Larigakis welcomed the new atmosphere in relations between Greece and Turkey and stressed the support in the Greek American community for this development. Mr. Larigakis stated that the problems between Greece and Turkey—the Aegean, Cyprus, the Orthodox Church in Turkey—had been going on for far too long. Describing the current time as particularly favorable for a settlement of these problems, Mr. Larigakis called for active U.S. involvement in the negotiation process,
The other panelists were: Dr. Sabri Sayari, Director, Institute of Turkish Studies, Georgetown University, Mr. John Sitilides, Executive Director Western Policy Center, Mr.Jonathan Clarke, Scholar Cato Institute, Ms. Guler Koknar, Executive Director Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, and Mr. Charles Kupchan, Senior Fellow, Council of Foreign Relations.
CONGRESSIONAL SALUTE TO GREEK INDEPENDENCE
To mark the occasion of the 179th Anniversary of Greek Independence on March 25, 2000, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus hosted “A Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day” in the Longworth House Office Building.
AHI Chairman James Marketos and Executive Director Nick Larigakis welcomed the guests on behalf of the AHI. Ambassador Alexander Philon of the Hellenic Republic and Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis of the Republic of Cyprus also delivered their personal greetings to the assembled audience.
After the greetings, the following members of Congress stepped to the podium to give brief remarks on the occasion of the anniversary: Senator Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Berkley (D-NV), Rep. Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Gekas (R-PA), Rep. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), Steven Rothman (D-NJ), and Rep. Weygrand (D-RI).
Each speaker highlighted the decisive contribution of Hellenism to Western civilization and praised the close U.S. relationship with Greece. There were also a number of calls for U.S. recognition of Greece’s sovereign territory in the Aegean and for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.
The Greek American dance troupe, “Return to Origins,” provided the emotional highlight of the evening. Dressed in traditional Greek costume, the troupe performed traditional Hellenic dances from the period of the revolution. This was an uplifting moment much savored by the Ambassadors, Senators, Representatives and 250 plus guests. The event was also well attended by congressional staffers, representing over forty members’ offices.
2000 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
On February 10, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) sent a letter and questionnaire to the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates. The letter seeks the candidates’ response to six questions focusing on U.S.-Greece relations.
The only candidate to reply to the questionnaire was Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley on February 17, 2000. Mr. Bradley’s responses to the questions were well received by AHIPAC and the Greek American community. The full text of Mr. Bradley’s responses are available on AHI’s Web site.
AHI is in touch with the Gore and Bush campaigns with a view to obtaining their responses to this questionnaire as soon as possible.
AHI maintained an active dialogue with the Administration, Congress, media, academia and others on issues of public policy.
In keeping with our assessment of the central importance of the European Union’s decision at its December 10-11, 1999 Helsinki summit to offer candidate status to Turkey subject to certain conditions, the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter on April 12, 2000 to Dr. Guenter Burghardt, Head of the European Commission Delegation to the United States, commending the EU decision.
The letter, which was copied to the Ambassadors of the European Union (EU) member states in Washington, states that the decision sends the right signal to Turkey that it must undertake substantial reform with regard to its international relations and its domestic structures before it can expect to start accession negotiations. The EU’s firm approach establishes an appropriate framework for resolving some of the region’s most long-standing problems.
The letter urges the EU to resist pressure, including from the U.S., to relax the conditions. AHI believes that it would be a mistake to do this and would be against the interests of the EU, the U.S. and Turkey. The proper course is for the EU governments to insist on full implementation of the conditions.
The letter sets out AHI’s view that no funds should be disbursed until Turkey complies with these undertakings. At the very least, the EU should strictly monitor the application of any loans to ensure that they are used for the purposes intended and that specifically Turkey is making genuine and good faith efforts to solve its disputes with Greece, to take action to solve the Cyprus problem and to change its policy of systematic denial of human rights to its people.
Central Connecticut State College
On February 7, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to the President Richard Judd of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) to protest a protocol for collaboration signed with Eastern Mediterranean University, an institution located in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
The letter points out that in international law, any cooperation with the occupied areas, including with the illegal entity the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” is unlawful. When the latter made its illegal declaration of establishment in 1983, the Security Council condemned it in SCR 541 (1983) of November 18, 1983. A further Resolution SCR 550- (1984) of May 11, 1984 requires that no assistance or facilitation be given to this illegal entity. These resolutions have the effect of international law and are mandatory.
Collaboration with Mr. Denktash and any institution in his illegal entity would in effect reward aggression, murder and theft. This would send an appalling signal to the students of CCSU. The letter calls on President Judd to review these facts and to revoke the agreement.
AHI has followed developments between Greece and Turkey with great interest, including the series of substantive meetings between Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem.
The American Hellenic Institute has consistently argued that a normalization of relations between Greece and Turkey should take place on the basis of international law and reversal of aggression. Stable relations between Greece and Turkey will foster the strong U.S. interests in regional peace and prosperity. As such, AHI welcomes the current agreements and looks forward to further progress.
At the same time AHI notes that the fundamental causes of the problems between Greece and Turkey remain unchanged. These are:
At its meeting in Helsinki on December 10-11, 1999 the European Union agreed to accept Turkey as a candidate for accession under the pre-condition that Turkey resolved these problems before accession talks begin. AHI congratulates Greece for its positive role in this decision.
The spotlight now falls on Turkey. Turkey accepted the EU’s pre-condition. The time has now come for Turkey to fulfill its undertakings. It should do this:
AHI FOUNDER HONORED
At its 34th Biennial Salute Dinner held at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC, on March 20, 2000 the Order of AHEPA bestowed its 2000 Archbishop Iakovos award on AHI General Counsel Eugene T. Rossides.
The Archbishop Iakovos award was established by then AHEPA Supreme President Dr. Spiro Macris to honor those who dedicate themselves to the betterment of human and civil rights and religious freedoms for people suffering under tyranny and oppression. Mr. Rossides was cited for his “26 years of dedication to the rule of law and for founding the AHI and AHIPAC organizations, the objectives of which are to strengthen United States relations with Greece and Cyprus. For decades Mr. Rossides has worked to ensure the reunification of Cyprus and its people, the integrity of Greece’s sovereign rights in the Aegean and the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Rossides dedicated his award to his mother who emigrated from Mani in southern Greece and to his father who came from Cyprus.
Also honored at the same ceremony were Mr. Ted Leonsis, President America Online Interactive Properties Group and Mr. George Tenet, Director of central Intelligence.
On February 26, 2000 the Hellenic University Club of Philadelphia presented Mr. Rossides with their Achievement Award for Services to Hellenism at a dinner held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia. Making the presentation, Temple University President Dr. Peter Liacouras praised Mr. Rossides for his many years of service to Hellenism.
On May 6, 2000, Mr. Rossides was also honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony on the historic island with other recipients.
Successful Hellenic House Fundraiser Held in Boca Raton, FL
On Saturday, April 1, a Hellenic House fundraiser was held in Boca Raton, Florida. AHIPAC Chairman Nicholas Chimicles and his wife Kathleen graciously hosted the event at their beautiful home. They made a special effort to greet everyone personally and their buffet table was plentiful. The event was well attended and helped to raise over $10,000 toward eliminating the mortgage of Hellenic House, which currently stands at $197,000.
Special guest at the fundraiser was Vice Admiral Michael P. Kalleres, USN (Ret.), former President of Global Associates LTD, TSG. The AHI greatly appreciates Admiral Kalleres’ support of this event and for taking the time from his busy schedule to attend with his wife, “Cookie,” to support our efforts.
Serving on the Host Committee for this event were: Mr. & Mrs. James Ballerano, Mr. & Mrs. George Chimples, Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Jenetopulos, Mr. & Mrs. John Kusturiss,Mr. & Mrs. Harry Magafan, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Maniotis, Mr. & Mrs. Louis Nicozisis, Mr. & Mrs. Paul Panagos, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Poly, Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Rodes and Mr. Alex Siafacas.
At its December 10-11, 1999 Council meeting in Helsinki, the European Union adopted a framework for the next round of EU enlargement. In accepting Turkey as a candidate for accession, the EU established three pre-conditions to be fulfilled by Turkey before accession negotiations can begin. As an aid for policy-makers in the Executive Branch and Congress, AHI will issue six monthly overviews of Turkey’s compliance record based on events taking place during the period. The analysis issued on May 11 is enclosed.
Releasing the update, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis stated: “AHI welcomes the EU decision on acceptance of Turkey with conditions and hopes Turkey will comply and achieve accession status.”
Arms Sales Action Alert
On May 2, 2000, the AHI sent an Action Alert to its members and friends nationwide urging them to mount a grass roots campaign to block Turkey’s efforts to buy 145 Cobra attack helicopters from the American company Bell-Textron by calling on President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright to deny an export license for the arms deal. A copy of the Action Alert is enclosed.
AHI has joined Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Federation of American Scientists, the Armenian American community and many others in voicing their opposition to the sale.
The action alert notes with alarm that Turkey has illegally used American weapons, particularly Cobra helicopters, against Kurdish civilians during its 16-year war against its Kurdish minority in Southeast Turkey. In its 16-year war against its Kurdish minority, the Turkish military’s failure to distinguish between civilian and military targets has resulted in the destruction of over 2,000 ethnic Kurdish villages, the displacement of over 2,500,000 ethnic Kurds and the killing by the Turkish military of over 30,000 civilian Kurds.
The alert also exposes the State Department’s plan to issue an export license despite stating in 1998 that it would condition such approval on Turkey meeting eight human rights benchmarks. According to the State Department’s own 2000 Human Rights Report on Turkey, Ankara has failed to meet these criteria.
In foreign policy terms, Turkey’s proposed purchase harms U.S. interests. The U.S. should be taking advantage of recent improvements in regional stability—including a PKK-declared cease-fire inside Turkey, better relations between Greece and Turkey, new opportunities for progress in the Middle East, and the strengthening of the reform forces in Iran—to place primacy on economic development, political reform, human rights and good neighborliness.
Response to Pro-Turkish Letter in Congress
On April 27, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to four Members of Congress protesting their “Dear Colleague” letter of April 14, 2000 urging support for Turkey during its presidential deliberations. Congressmen Norman Dicks (D-WA), Sonny Callahan (R-AL), Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Doug Bereuter (R-NE) sent the letter to their fellow members, urging them to join in signing a letter to President Clinton to “encourage the administration to remain proactive during this critical phase of our relationship with this partner.”
The AHI letter cited “serious errors of fact and omissions of fact” and further urged the four members to withdraw their letter based on these factual errors. AHI noted the letter’s reference to “several important business decisions,” which clearly alluded to Turkey’s pending decision to purchase 145 attack helicopters from the American company Bell-Textron. AHI, along with a number of human rights organizations, has denounced this potential sale in light of Turkey’s ongoing illegal use of American in its scorched-earth campaign against its Kurdish minority and its intransigence on the issue of Cyprus.
The AHI letter also countered assertions made in the “Dear Colleague” document that Turkey is “on the verge of entry into the European Union.” AHI asserted that the conditional candidate status the EU offered Turkey at its December 1999 Helsinki Summit lays out strict conditions Ankara must fulfill by 2004 before accession negotiations can even start. These conditions include far-reaching constitutional, economic and domestic reforms and a commitment by Turkey to take its unilateral claims against Greek sovereign territory in the Aegean to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and to settle the Cyprus problem.
AHI expressed its belief that only the “right pressure, in accordance with our American values, will bring about the changes necessary in Turkey’s constitution and institutions.” The full text of the letter is available on AHI’s Web site.
On May 4, 2000, AHI sent an Action Alert to its members in the four congressional districts of the letter’s co-signatories. The alert urges members and friends to contact their respective representatives and voice their opposition to the letter. Included in the alert were a series of talking points for members to use when telephoning congressional offices.
Turkey’s Human Rights Violations
In response to the 52-page country report on Turkey in the 1999 State Department Human Rights Report, released on February 25, 2000, AHI commented that this offers discouraging proof that Turkey has made little or no progress in improving its dismal human rights record. The first paragraph highlights the pervasive and anti-democratic role played by the military in Turkish governance, stating that “the military exercises substantial influence over government policy and actions.”
Subsequent sections list a catalogue of violations of basic human rights, torture, minority persecution, infringements of civil and press liberties, religious persecution, and transgressions on women’s issues. Some of the prominent examples under these headings are as follows:
AHI General Counsel Eugene T. Rossides stated:
“The State Department report on Turkey shows that Turkey’s record of human rights abuses is comparable to that of a rogue, backward Third World or communist state. No basic progress is being made. The fundamental reason for this sad state of affairs is that Turkey is not a normal Western democracy. Instead, under the Turkish constitution the military pervades all aspects of Turkish governance and civil structures.
In its December 1999 decision accepting Turkey as a candidate for accession, the European Union made it a requirement that that Turkey takes undertake fundamental reforms before accession negotiations can start. This is the right approach. We now call on the U.S. to follow a similar policy of calling Turkey to account for the human rights abuses documented in the State Department report and to call on Turkey to amend its constitution to bring the military under civilian control.”
Washington Times letter
On April 30, 2000 the Washington Times published the following letter from Eugene T. Rossides in reply to the article by Senator Jesse Helms, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the subject of Turkey’s human rights record.
Senator may be too optimistic about ‘Turkey’s human rights progress’
“With regard to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms’ April 21 Op-Ed column, “Turkey’s human rights progress,” we hope his optimism on the course of Turkish human rights abuses is justified. The Turkish people certainly merit a reprieve from the relentless pattern of oppression they have suffered over the past decades. Mr. Helms is right when he calls for Turkey to adhere to “world-class standards of democracy and human rights.” At present, the Turkish constitution, with its dominant role for the Turkish military, does not get to first base.
Two conspicuous omissions from Mr. Helms’ column were Cyprus and religious freedom in Turkey. During the Turkish aggression against Cyprus in 1974, the Turkish forces killed more than 1,000 Greek Cypriots and forced 180,000 Greek Cypriots to flee from their homes. The Turkish military occupation of 37.3 percent of the island is in its 26th year, and signs of Turkish progress on human rights are zero. Such independent institutions as the European Court of Human Rights have found the Turkish occupation guilty of denying human rights to the residents of Cyprus and have assessed large monetary penalties against Turkey.
Religious freedom is sharply curtailed in Turkey. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are subject to regular harassment. The Patriarchate’s School of Theology at Halki was closed illegally in 1971 and remains closed despite requests from the U.S. government and others to have it reopened.
Mr. Helms wisely accepts that many of the charges of human rights abuses against Turkey are well-founded. I hope that, in assessing progress, he also will take account of Turkey’s complete lack of movement on Cyprus and religious freedom and protection for the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
There were three luncheons of the AHI Business Network. These luncheons are designed to promote business associations among AHI members, their guests and other interested participants.
“Financing Sources for International Ventures”
On January 19, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute held a business network luncheon at the Capital Hilton, Washington D.C. The speaker was AHI Member Mr. Aki Bayz, Associate in the International Project Development and Finance Group in the Washington D.C. office of Morrison and Foerster, LLP.
Mr. Bayz is an expert in the field of project finance, foreign investment and international trade matters. He gave a fascinating and detailed overview of the availability of capital resources for international infrastructure projects. Following is an excerpt from Mr. Bayz’s presentation on “Financing Sources for International Ventures” at the AHI Business network Luncheon:
There are a wide variety of financing sources available for international projects. Given the economic turmoil in developing countries in the recent past, project sponsors are increasingly looking for financing from governmental, international and multilateral financing agencies.
The U.S. governmental sources for financing international ventures are the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”) (www.opic.gov) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank. (“US EXIM”) (www.exim.gov), both located in Washington D.C. OPIC provides limited recourse, medium- and long-term funding and permanent capital for overseas investment ventures through direct loans, loan guarantees and equity investment. OPIC also insures private investment in eligible developing countries against the risks of political violence, expropriation and inconvertibility of local currency.
US EXIM offers export credit insurance, loans, loan guarantees and limited recourse project financing in support of export sales of U.S. goods and services.
A project sponsor can also seek financing and from a variety of foreign agencies, such as the Export-Import Bank of Japan, HERMES in Germany, the Export Credit Guarantee Department of the United Kingdom, the Export Development Corporation of Canada, COFACE of France, SACE of Italy, and the Export Credit Insurance Organization of Greece.
Key participants in international project lending are the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, and regional development agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development located in London and focusing on Central and Eastern Europe and the Inter American Development Bank in Washington which finances projects in Central and Latin America.
Each agency of course has it own eligibility criteria and policies. Generally, to obtain financing, a project developer must submit the business plan for the proposed project which includes: (a) a general description of the project, background information and audited financial statements for the project’s proposed principal owners and management, (b) supply and market information, (c) a summary of project costs and sources of procurement, (d) the proposed financing plan and (e) a description of the contributions the project will make to local economic and social development. It is important to note that a significant aspect of most agency approval processes includes an environmental assessment of the project.
Most project financing lending is done on a non-recourse, or limited recourse basis and lenders look to the cash flow to be generated by the project for repayment. Thus, lenders will examine closely the viability of a project and the strength of the project sponsors.
Mr. Bayz received his B.S. from Georgetown University and his M.Sc from the London Schol of Economics. He received his J.S. cum laude from American University. AHI is very grateful to him for making his expertise in this complex but vital field available to our members.
“Tax Planning Opportunities for the Small Business Owner”
On February 16, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute held a business network luncheon at the Capital Hilton, Washington D.C. The speaker was AHI Member Ms. Maria A. Stamoulas, a tax attorney with the law firm of Facer and Stamoulas, P.C. in Washington D.C. on the subject of “Tax Planning Opportunities for the Small Business Owner.”
Ms. Stamoulas is an expert in the field of personal and corporate taxation, specializing in the field of transfer tax planning. Her talk concentrated on the subject of transfer tax as it affects individuals and corporations. Ms. Stamoulas provided a wealth of detail and practical advice on how individuals can shield their estates from transfer tax while protecting their lifetime income. Her principal advice was that estate taxation was a complex field in which sensible planning could yield enormous benefits to individuals and families.
Ms. Stamoulas received her B.S. from the College of William and Mary where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in Economics and French. She received an ITT Fellowship for Study Abroad and spent a year in Switzerland at the University of Geneva. Upon her return to the U.S., she attended Harvard Law School where she graduated cum laude. Ms. Stamoulas received her Master of Laws in Taxation with distinction from Georgetown University. Prior to establishing her own firm, Ms. Stamoulas was a tax associate at the law firms of Zuckerman, Spaeder, Goldstein, Taylor and Kolker , Washington DC, and of McGuire, Woods, Battle and Boothe, McLean, Virginia. Ms. Stamoulas is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Virginia.
“Speechwriting: Past and Present”
On April 11, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute held a Business Network luncheon at the Capital Hilton, Washington D.C. The speaker was Mr. Paul Glastris, Special Advisor to the President and senior Presidential Speechwriter.
Mr. Glastris provided a fascinating insight into the process of presidential speechwriting, including preparation of major domestic speeches such as the State of the Union address and significant foreign policy addresses such as President Clinton’s speech at the Intercontinental Hotel, Athens on November 20, 1999.
In his remarks, Mr. Glastris also traced the development of the art of speechwriting from ancient Athens in the 4th century BC through the founding of the United States.
Mr. Glastris was born in St. Louis in 1955. He graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in History and an MA in Radio and TV Journalism. After coming to Washington, Mr. Glastris worked on the Washington Monthly and US News and World Report. For the latter, he served as Bureau Chief in Chicago and in Berlin, where he covered the end of the war in Bosnia. His reporting assignments have taken him all over the world, including to Pontos to write a story on the Pontian Greeks.
Mr. Glastris joined the Clinton administration in September 1998. His duties as Senior Presidential Speechwriter have led him to write on a wide variety of issues including education, crime, the budget, Medicare and foreign affairs.
Career Position Open at AHI Administrative Assistant
The AHI is seeking a full time, Administrative Assistant to provide general administrative support to the Executive Director. The applicant must have excellent oral and written communication skills. Experience with computer operations and software is essential including working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Microsoft ACCESS. Responsibilities include word processing, correspondence, scheduling appointments, membership services, bookkeeping, answering phones, and light filing.
The applicants will have the opportunity to be exposed to all facets of the organization. This entry-level position is also suitable for a person returning to work with a background in administrative, computer, and organizational skills. The American Hellenic Institute is a 501(c)(6) non profit tax-exempt public policy trade association which provides an organization and program for strengthening relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the American Hellenic community.
If you take pride in working with a great team to build quality and efficiency into every function, we may have the job for you! Interested individuals should mail, email, or fax a copy of their résumé with cover letter to:
Internship Positions Available at AHI
AHI offers several internship positions during the year. Interns will have the opportunity to work in an historic building on 16th Street just a few blocks away from the White House and to experience first hand the excitement and practical understanding of how foreign policy is developed in this country. In the past, AHI interns have gone on to fine positions in the public and private sector.
Interns will participate in a variety of activites such as monitoring legislation and Congressional hearings, liason with Congressional offices, and conduct research on issues affecting U.S.-Greece-Cyprus relations for Congressional testimony. The work will also include routine office chores.
During the Fall and Spring semesters the interns are expected to work 12-15 hours per week and in the summer 35 hours per week. The internship is unpaid and no compensation is offered. All foreign students must have a current student visa and/or current work permit.
All applicants must have excellent oral and written communication skills. Proficiency with computer operations and software is necessary.
To apply please send a cover letter with your resume to:
Mrs. Yola Pakchanian