American Hellenic Institute


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Volume 28 Number 224 — July 1, 2002


AHI Hosts 27th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner

WASHINGTON, DC—A distinguished Congressman, an author specializing in Hellenic culture and traditions, an accomplished and respected publisher, a world-renowned singer, and a visionary of the e-commerce and e-finance revolution were the dynamic individuals honored on March 2, 2002 at the AHI 27th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner. These five individuals from a diverse range of professions were recognized for their talents and contributions to the Greek American community.

The recipient of the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award for his outstanding career in public service spanning two decades was Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

The Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award was presented to: Marilyn Rouvelas for her outstanding work, documenting the traditions of the Greek community in the U.S.; Antonis H. Diamataris, for his pioneering career as publisher of the Greek-language newspaper The National Herald, devoting his work to promoting Hellenism; Nadia Weinberg, for her outstanding career as a world-class vocal soloist, promoting Greece and its musical culture; and Christos M. Cotsakos, Chairman and CEO for E*TRADE Group, for his outstanding entrepreneurial achievements and philanthropic service.

The gala affair, which was attended by more than 350 family members, friends and supporters of the AHI from across the country, took place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, DC. Special guests included: Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis; Senator and Mrs. Paul S. Sarbanes; Mr. Vassilios Costis, representing Greece’s Ambassador to the U.S. Alexander Philon who was in Greece; and Maryland State Senator Chris Van Hollen.

AHI’s Executive Director, Nick Larigakis, opened the program by welcoming guests and announcing the entrance of the Marines of Headquarters Battalion for the presentation of the colors. The American and Greek national anthems were performed by opera singer Christina ndreou, ccompanied on piano by Richard Danley. The vening’s invocation and benediction were delivered by Reverend Michael Eaccarino of Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, VA.

As a special tribute to honor the memory of the victims of the September 11 tragedy, a moment of silence was observed, followed by a medley of patriotic songs performed by Ms. Andreou and Mr. Danley.

Following dinner, which was accompanied by music from the band Zephyros, AHI founder Gene Rossides briefly previewed the organization’s activities for 2002.

AHI Chairman James Marketos opened the awards ceremony with an overview of AHI’s accomplishments in 2001. After these remarks, American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) Chairman Nicholas Chimicles introduced Thalia Assuras, national correspondent for the “CBS Early News,” who served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.


In his acceptance speech, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., stressed his advocacy of issues regarding Greece and Cyprus and vowed to work with his colleagues in Congress towards a resolution of the Cyprus problem and to promote the country’s accession to the European Union. He also highlighted the critical role played by AHI in maintaining Congressional awareness of Hellenic issues and the more universal themes such as the rule of law.

In accepting her award, Marilyn Rouvelas similarly reflected on the importance of Hellenic values: “We want everyone to understand the universality and the timelessness of Hellenism and that they can also be a part of it.” Through her marriage to Manny Rouvelas, a Greek American, Mrs. Rouvelas was inspired to author her best-selling book, A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America, which has become a popular standard reference for Hellenic and Orthodox traditions.

The next honoree, Antonis H. Diamataris, discussed the fundamental need for a voice and public archive for the Hellenic community here in the United States. This voice is embodied in the newspaper which he has diligently published for 22 years—The National Herald.

Nadia Weinberg, the evening’s fourth honoree, discussed the roots of the artistic inspiration that has propelled her successful singing career, noting that, “The greatest gift that I’ve received is the spiritual and cultural heritage that my parents gave to me. It enriched my life, it made me who I am, and I am very proud to be three pieces—Greek, American and Jewish.”

The final honoree for the evening was Christos M. Cotsakos. Mr. Cotsakos reflected on the sources of inspiration for success in life, stating poignantly, “Much like the generation before us gave us the ability with those wings to fly, it is now our responsibility to give the next generation their wings so that we can have in this great American and Hellenic culture duty, honor, country, family and community.”

The honorees were introduced by friends and associates with distinguished records in their own professional fields: Mr. Savas Tsivicos, President and owner of Paphian Enterprises, Inc. and former Chairman of AHIPAC (for Congressman Pallone); Professor Charles Moskos, Professor of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and currently a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center (for Mrs. Rouvelas); Professor Nickolaos A. Stavrou, Graduate Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC (for Mr. Diamataris); Mr. Tom Ellis, Washington Bureau Chief for ANTENNA TV and the Athens News Agency, and U.S. correspondent for the Deutschewelle’s Greek Service and for the daily Kathimerini (for Ms. Weinberg); and Mr. Mitchell H. Caplan, Managing Director, North America and Chief Financial Products Officer for E*TRADE Group (for Mr. Cotsakos).

Former Honorees attending the event included: Dr. Stamatis Krimigis; Dr. Ted Lyras; Ms. Dora Hancock, former President of the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC); Mr. David Weinberg; Ms. Angene Rafferty; and Ms. Dena Clark.

Other notable guests included: Mr. Andreas Pericli, Ms. Rozana Papadopoulos, Mr. Donald Neese, and Mr. James Lagos.

Vocalist Nadia Weinberg Performs Medley of International Songs at AHI-Sponsored Concert

WASHINGTON, DC—On March 1, 2002, AHI sponsored the kick-off leg of a North American concert tour featuring highly-acclaimed vocal soloist Nadia Weinberg and the soloists of the Symphony Orchestra of Athens. The concert, which took place at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium with welcome remarks provided by Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), marked the first in a series of gala events accenting the AHI’s Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards and Weekend Celebration. The City of Athens, Greece, for the sixth year in a row, sent the soloists from its symphony orchestra and the distinguished artist Nadia Weinberg on this tour of cities with large Greek populations to bring a message of culture and solidarity to the communities visited. This year’s March 2002 tour included Washington, Dallas, Houston, Fresno, Jackson, Boston and Toronto.

AHI Hosts Ambassador Thomas J. Miller in Washington

On January 18, 2002, AHI hosted a dinner in honor of U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Thomas J. Miller, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The event drew 100 attendees and provided an opportunity for guests to hear a first-hand account of current issues and developments confronted by the ambassador during the early stages of his newest diplomatic post.

Ambassador Miller provided an open overview of the positive political, economic and social transformations evident in Greece since his first tour of diplomatic service in the U.S. Embassy’s political section in Athens from 1985-1987.

55th Anniversary of Truman Doctrine Celebrated

On March 12, 2002, AHI commemorated the 55th Anniversary of the Truman Doctrine of Aid to Greece with a luncheon event at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. The event featured special guest speaker General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA (Ret.), former Supreme Commander of NATO.

Commenting from the standpoint of the organization which he served in during the Doctrine’s implementation period (Plans and Operations Division of the War Department), General Goodpaster focused on the threat to Allied and, more specifically, to Greek independence and democracy, and the response to these threats. This was a turning point not just in the history of the twentieth century, but a turning point in American history and in the history of America’s relationship with Greece and with Europe, more broadly.

Delivering opening remarks was AHI Founder Gene Rossides, who recounted General Goodpaster’s outstanding military and public service to the nation, calling him an “American icon.” The Greek Embassy’s new Deputy Chief of Mission, Eleftherios Anghelopoulos and former U.S. Ambassador to Greece Robert Keeley were among the dignitaries in attendance.

AHI Leadership Meets with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios

On Tuesday, April 23, 2002, AHI Chairman James Marketos, New York Chapter President Col. Andonios Neroulias, USA (Ret.), Executive Director Nick Larigakis and AHI founder Gene Rossides met with His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in New York. The group called upon His Eminence to pay their respects and to congratulate the Archbishop on his successful tenure and work promoting the mission of the Greek Orthodox Church in the U.S. In addition, a lively dialogue ensued regarding cooperation on matters of mutual interest to the Archdiocese and AHI.

AHI Bids Farewell to Ambassador Alexander Philon and Mrs. Eleni Philon

On May 6, 2002, AHI bid a warm farewell to departing Greek Ambassador to the U.S., Alexander Philon, at a dinner held at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. The Ambassador was presented with the AHI Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Award in recognition of his diligent and successful endeavors promoting a strong and collaborative relationship between Greece and the U.S. during his tenure in Washington. The AHI also presented the Ambassador’s wife, Mrs. Eleni Philon, with a gift of appreciation for her work in support of Hellenic issues in the U.S.

During his acceptance remarks, Ambassador Philon thanked AHI for its steadfast and positive support of Hellenic issues, stressing that “grassroots efforts are very important” in moving forward these policy initiatives. The Ambassador also expressed special thanks to AHI founder Gene Rossides for his persistence in pursuing “what is right” in U.S. foreign policy objectives, and to Executive Director Nick Larigakis for his dedication in pushing forward AHI’s policy and public awareness agenda.

AHI Opposes Proposed Sale of Two Oliver Hazard Perry Class Guided Missile Frigates to Turkey

On January 23, 2001, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the U.S. Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale of two Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates with associated equipment and services to Turkey. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $110 million. To summarize AHI’s position on the sale, “AHI opposes the proposed sale of two FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile frigates to Turkey as contrary to the best interests of the U.S and to the interests and values that the U.S. should be advancing in the region.”

For a full copy of AHI’s statement, please log into our Web site at <> or contact AHI at (202) 785-8430.

AHI Confirms Status of New U.S. Embassy Office as “Change of Address” in Occupied Northern Cyprus

On January 31, 2001, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis sent a letter to Jim Seevers, Cyprus Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State to reconfirm the status of a new U.S. Embassy liaison office opened in the occupied zone of Cyprus. Mr. Larigakis had spoken with Mr. Seevers earlier that week and received his assurances that the new office did not signify any change in policy or upgrade in status towards the occupied zone.


AHI Responds to “60 Minutes” Report

On January 10, 2002, AHI submitted a letter to Don Hewitt, Executive Producer of the CBS “60 Minutes” program, criticizing a story by co-host Ed Bradley regarding Greece and the terrorist group November 17, aired on January 6, 2002.

While many serious allegations were waged against the Greek government’s measures to combat terrorism, no air time was given to show the significant cooperation and security measures that have been implemented in recent years.

On February 4, Mr. Hewitt joined Messrs. Larigakis and Rossides in a telephone conversation to discuss the story. Mr. Larigakis sent a letter to Mr. Hewitt to summarize key points that were made during their conversation in order to highlight the pitfalls inherent in the program’s unfairly biased coverage.

Washington Times Publishes AHI Letter

On March 3, 2002, The Washington Times published a letter to the editor from AHI criticizing an anonymous advertisement that falsely attacked Greece as a state sponsor of terrorism. The ad, signed by “Greek Americans Against Terrorism,” appeared in the February 25 edition of the newspaper. AHI’s letter criticized the ad on several fronts, including its lack of objectivity and blatant inaccuracies.

AHI Sends Letter to The New York Times

On April 30, 2002, AHI sent a letter to the editor of The New York Times responding to an article by Stephen Kinzer (“Plans for Museum Buoy Armenians And Dismay Turks,” April 24, 2002, B1). According to AHI’s letter:

“Unfortunately, the word ‘genocide’ is not so easily uttered in certain corners of the world with respect to the Armenian tragedy. Fearful of offending Turkey, successive U.S. Administrations and Congresses have evaded officially terming this a genocide. Mr. Kinzer’s article, by suggesting that there is any real debate among knowledgeable and objective historians as to the veracity and magnitude of the Armenian genocide, also casts a troubling degree of denial on this tragic chapter in world history.”



On March 20, 2002, AHI hosted a lecture and reception at Hellenic House featuring Theodoros Pangalos, a prominent member of Greek Parliament under the PASOK party and former Foreign Minister of Greece. Mr. Pangalos was in Washington, DC to represent Parliament at meetings held by the Political Committee of the Western European Union (March 18-21).

The AHI event drew an attendance of over 50 people and provided an opportunity for guests to hear a first-hand account of current issues and developments in Greece’s foreign policy, and Mr. Pangalos’ perspectives on U.S. foreign policy, past and present. Mr. Pangalos gave a frank discussion of events and policies undertaken by the U.S. government since September 11, followed by questions from the audience and a reception.


On April 8-9, 2002, AHI hosted a delegation from Thessaloniki comprised of leaders from various chambers of commerce, trade unions and the mayor’s office for a series of meetings with key local and national government officials. On April 9, the Thessaloniki delegation visited Hellenic House for a noontime meeting with AHI leadership, including Executive Director Nick Larigakis and Legal Counsel Nick Karembelas. After the meeting, participants attended a luncheon at the Capital Hilton which was sponsored by AHI DC member and prominent businessman George Christacos. During their visit, the delegation also met with Michael Hodges, Deputy Assistant for Economic Development representing Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL).


The Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, Ioannis Magriotis, accompanied by Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon visited Hellenic House on March 26, 2002. The Greek officials met with members of the AHI leadership which included founder Gene Rossides, Advisory Committee Member Kostas Alexakis, AHI-Delaware Chapter President Dr. James Faller, Executive Director Nick Larigakis, Legal Counsel Nick Karembelas, and the staff for a one-hour meeting. After the meeting, the AHI hosted a luncheon for Minister Magriotis at the Capital Hilton.


On May 13, 2002, AHI hosted the President of Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Alexander Philon, and an accompanying delegation for a meeting at Hellenic House. The Greek officials met with AHI leadership and staff for a two-hour meeting to discuss current U.S.-Greece relations, and areas of future cooperation between the Greek American community and Greece. AHI representatives included Chairman James Marketos, General Counsel Nick Karambelas, founder Gene Rossides, and Executive Director Nick Larigakis.


Professor Andre Gerolymatos Discusses Stability in the Balkans and the Role of Greece

On April 10, 2002, the AHI hosted Professor Andre erolymatos at a Hellenic House noon forum, at which time he provided an historic and current overview of Balkan stability and Greece’s pivotal role in the region. Professor Gerolymatos is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C. and Chairman of Hellenic Studies at the Hellenic Canadian Congress of B.C.

Professor Gerolymatos highlighted the key strategic and stabilizing value of the Balkans and of Greece from antiquity to the present: “Greece has always been, in a sense, a jewel in the crown of every empire that has come and gone from the region and because it has directly or indirectly dominated the other Balkan states.”

C-SPAN 2 broadcast the AHI noon forum featuring Professor Gerolymatos on its “History on Book TV” program on Saturday, May 11 at 11:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Ambassador Tom Weston Discusses Current Status of Cyprus Talks, EU Accession at AHI Noon Forum

On April 11, 2002, AHI hosted Ambassador Thomas G. Weston, U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus, at a noon forum at Hellenic House. Ambassador Weston provided a candid overview of progress on United Nations (UN) -led direct talks currently underway between Republic of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as well as a forecast of upcoming benchmarks in the negotiation process. He focused particularly on the U.S. role in helping to engender a resolution of the long-standing impasse, and on the implications of Cyprus’ European Union (EU) accession on the talks.

Ambassador Weston pointed out that, with a target resolution date forecasted for June 2002, a midterm evaluation in New York by the UN Security Council noted several areas of concern on the progress of the negotiations. Most notably, it was expressed that the pace of the talks is not proceeding rapidly enough to reach the June goal. While positive moves have been made by both sides, remarks from members of the Security Council underscored that Mr. Clerides has demonstrated greater flexibility and cooperation on areas of key concern.

Ambassador Weston expressed his full confidence in Cyprus’ accession to the EU, and in the broader process of enlargement being forged by the EU member states and candidate states. The U.S. has had a long-term policy promoting both these goals and “we continue to believe that the accession of Cyprus and the whole process of accession should lead to a settlement,” said the Ambassador. Additionally, Ambassador Weston emphasized the tremendous advantages—for all sides involved—of accession to the EU by Cyprus as a united island.

AHI Hosts Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day

In March 19, 2002, AHI hosted “A Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day” at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill to kick off Washington, DC’s celebration of the 181st Anniversary of Greek Independence. The event, which was attended by more than 250 people, was held in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus’s co-sponsors, Representative Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon and Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis offered brief remarks and spoke of the importance of this holiday. They stressed the ideals of freedom, justice and the rule of law symbolized by the holiday and the importance of achieving these democratic ideals particularly in Cyprus.

Members of Congress ttending the reception and delivering brief remarks included: Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD). Also stopping by the reception briefly were Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), and Member of Hellenic Parliament and former Foreign Minister of Greece Theodoros Pangalos.

Each of the speakers emphasized their admiration for the Hellenic culture and for the valiant and inspiring struggle for Greek independence, achieved nearly 200 years ago. They also affirmed their commitment to finding a just and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions and democratic principles, stressing that the rule of law must prevail in the Cyprus problem and in the Aegean.

Also highlighing the holiday was the launching of a new link on AHI’s Web site <>, titled “AHI Celebrates Greek Independence Day,” which contains a compilation of statements from the event, items submitted for the Congressional Record, and news articles about the holiday.



AHI Criticizes Israel’s Failure to Recognize Patriarch of Jerusalem

On Tuesday, April 30, 2002, AHI’s founder Gene Rossides sent a letter to President Bush protesting Israel’s failure to recognize the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Irineos, as a violation of religious freedom. The letter urged the President to pressure the Israeli government to grant recognition to the Patriarch, and to protest any law which requires state approval of a religious leader.

AHIPAC issued an action alert along similar lines on May 2 to urge members of the community to voice their concern on the issue to their Representatives, Senators and State Department officials.


AHI Executive Director Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations

On May 9, 2002, AHI’s Executive Director, Nick Larigakis, submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, calling on the U.S.:

  1. to remain actively engaged in moving the Cyprus problem to a settlement based on UN resolutions, democratic principles, and EU legal principles and common practices, and to continue the $15 million in humanitarian aid to Cyprus;
  2. to declare publicly that the boundary in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey has long been settled and that if Turkey disagrees, Turkey should take the matter to the International Court of Justice at the Hague; and
  3. to stop applying a double standard to Turkey on the rule of law, human rights, international and national state terrorism by Turkey in Cyprus and against its twenty percent Kurdish minority in Turkey.

Mr. Larigakis’ testimony was submitted on behalf of leading membership organizations in the community including: the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), the Pan Macedonian Association of America, the Pan Cretan Association of America, the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), the Cyprus Federation of America, the Pan Laconian Federation of U.S.A. and Canada, the Panepirotic Federation of America, and the Pan Karpathian Educational Progressive Association.


Armenian, Kurdish and Greek American Organizations Jointly Oppose Jewish American Organizations’ Support for Turkey

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN), the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC) and AHI sent a joint letter to President Bush on February 20, 2002 in opposition to a December 18, 2001 joint letter to the President from several Jewish American organizations. The AHI and cooperating organizations’ letter was sent to respond to serious errors of fact and omission present in the Jewish American organizations’ letter which misrepresented Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. and with its own citizens. The letter also failed to mention Turkey’s genocides and ongoing human rights abuses.

The Armenian, Kurdish and Greek American organizations offered to meet with the Jewish American organizations to discuss this matter further and to develop an ongoing dialogue.



Demetri Koutrouvelis Provides Commercial Real Estate Outlook

The AHI hosted a business networking luncheon on February 21, 2002 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The event featured guest speaker and AHI member Demetri Koutrouvelis, Associate Director at Julien J. Studley, Inc. Mr. outrouvelis discussed the current outlook for the commercial real estate industry throughout the nation, with a particular emphasis on the DC metropolitan region. Incorporated into the presentation was an analysis of the impact of the current economic downturn and the effects of September 11 on the real estate market.

AHI New York Networking Reception Features Former Congressman Michael Pappas

On February 13, 2002, AHI in cooperation with the AHI Greater Metropolitan New York Chapter hosted a etworking reception at the Harvard Club in New York City. The event featured Michael Pappas, Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration (SBA) and former U.S. Congressman (New Jersey), as special guest speaker. Mr. Pappas’ presentation highlighted the efforts of the SBA in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and also provided information on more general services provided by the SBA to residents within Region II.

AHI Business Networking Event at Ozio’s

On May 16, 2002, the AHI hosted an informal networking reception at Ozio’s Restaurant in Washington, DC. The event was held in close cooperation with AHI member and Ozio’s proprietor George Christacos. The AHI will continue to host similar informal networking events to provide a more casual networking atmosphere for members and friends in the Washington, DC metro region.

AHI Northern Virginia Chapter

The AHI Chapter of Northern Virginia (AHI-NOVA) held its first meeting of 2002 on February 22 at the home of Chris and Christina Zirps in Alexandria, VA. Presentations following the general meeting focused on “Nutrition in the Twenty-First Century,” by George Economides, and “The Market Update,” by Stacy Sample. AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis also provided a brief preview of upcoming AHI events.

On May 11, 2002, AHI-NOVA’s second general meeting of the year featured speakers Steven Tzikas (“Greece and Terrorism: A Perception”) and Roger Beatty (“The Amazing Legacy of the Ancient Greek Physician”). Also of note, AHI-NOVA chapter membership increased to 52 paid members following this meeting.

AHI Greater New York Metropolitan Chapter

On April 16, the AHI Greater New York Metropolitan Chapter (AHI-New York) held a Business Network informal reception at the Minotaur Restaurant. Prominent attendees at the event were Mr. Dennis Droushiotis, Commercial Counselor of Cyprus, and Ms. Dorie Klissas, producer of NBC’s “Today Show”.

Subsequent AHI-New York Business Network informal receptions were held on May 14 and June 11 at the Minotaur Restaurant. The New York Chapter’s President, Col. Andonios Neroulias, plans to hold one networking reception per month for New York area AHI members.


A Pioneer in Industry and Community

A constant thread visible throughout AHI member Stavros Semanderes’ life has been a certain fearlessness of striking out on his own. A true pioneer in business and community, he maintains strong ties to his cultural heritage and promotes these as a foundation from which future generations of Greek Americans can cultivate their own success.

At the young age of 14, Stavros Semanderes left his native island of Crete and his family, immigrating to Grand Rapids, Michigan to live with an uncle. His goal: to gain an education and then return to Greece. With a B.S. in physics from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in nuclear engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, political events in Greece precluded his return. So he embarked on his career in the U.S. with a first stop working for Westinghouse in the design of nuclear reactors.

Working for a corporate giant, Mr. Semandares’ pioneering character once again came through when he decided to break from the corporation. According to him, “I needed the independence to make my decisions, to follow my ideas.” Hence, he struck out on his own and launched Odyssey Contracting—an industrial painting business, specializing in bridge rehabilitation. Proof of Odyssey’s continued success today, the company was ranked twelfth largest in its field by Engineering News in 1996.

Beyond a successful business, Mr. Semanderes is also a leader in the Greek and Cretan American communities. He currently presides as President of the Pan-Cretan Association of America (PAA), elected in July 2001 for a two-year term. As president, Mr. Semandares has set three goals for the organization. Each goal aims to strengthen the Hellenic and Cretan cultural foundation from which he and people like him have drawn their success so that subsequent generations can do the same here in the U.S.

The first of his three goals as president of the PAA, “It’s a must to establish cultural ties with Crete and Greece” by sending children and young adults there for study and cultural visits, co-sponsored with well-established and respected organizations and institutions in Crete. Mr. Semanderes second goal is “to bring the [PAA] into the twenty-first century in communications” by establishing Internet communications with PAA chapters throughout the country. Modern technology can help members of the PAA and the Greek American communities to maintain and strengthen their contact with each other.

Mr. Semanderes’ third goal for the PAA and the Greek American community at-large is “to establish some consciousness in our people to support economically the products of Greece and Crete” by helping to promote these products in America.

This process of mutual support also applies to working with other Greek American organizations. On behalf of PAA, Mr. Semanderes points out that, “We like to work with other organizations like AHI and AHEPA….We just need to educate our people to work with each other and support things that will be of benefit (a) to America, and (b) to our Hellenic heritage.”

Thus while Stavros Semanderes has excelled throughout his life in part through a strong sense of autonomy and ability to pursue new endeavors fearlessly, he has never forgotten his roots and is working hard at keeping that cultural heritage vibrant for successive generations of Greek Americans.



In 1998, Ntinos Karaiskos and his wife, Stella, launched Kominis International, LLC. Kominis International began as a wine importing company, introducing various Mediterranean wines from Greece to the U.S. market. Since then, Kominis has developed a worldwide logistics and transportation division named Capitol Shipping and Logistics, and has further evolved to include import/export management, procurement and supply chain management, as well as information technology solutions through its business alliance with Kronus Solutions, Inc. You can learn more about Kominis International, LLC and Capitol Shipping and Logistics by calling them at (703) 560-8001 or visiting their Web sites at <> and <>.


In early 2000, former AHI intern Demetris Nicolaou’s returned to Cyprus to tap his career potential in his homeland. This move has been fruitful for him professionally as he currently holds the position of Head of the Asset Management division of Alpha Bank. He also is active in the Cyprus American Association, which promotes relations between Cyprus and the U.S. Mr. Nicolaou received his MBA from the American University in Washington, DC in 1994. From 1994 to 2000, he worked for an investment management firm called Emerging Markets Management in Arlington, VA. In 1999, he gained the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Mr. Nicolaou can be reached via email at <>.


On April 26, 2002, John A. Scocos received the Minnesota State University (MSU) Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award. The award is presented to graduates whose lives exemplify service to human kind, and who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and are recognized for their humanitarian contributions and achievements. Mr. Scocos currently serves as Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. He graduated from MSU in 1978 with degrees in history and geography.


Congressman Jim Ryun of Kansas announced on June 10, 2002 that Ted G. Spyropoulos of Chicago was selected to serve the state of Illinois on the new Congressional Business Commission (CBC). The CBC is an elite group of business people and political strategists who will be advising the Republican leadership on how to protect the Republican majority in the House in the fall elections. Mr. Spyropoulos was selected based on outstanding contributions as an Honorary Chairman of the Party’s Business Advisory Council. On the CBC, Mr. Spyropoulos is expected to play a key role in helping the Party craft their campaign strategy for the 2002 elections. Mr. Spyropoulos will also be listed on the Congressional Business Honor Roll, which will be displayed in the Republican Headquarters Building in Washington, DC.


Mr. Marios Stephanides’ recently published book, The History of the Greeks in Kentucky: 1900-1950 (Edwin Mellen Press. Lewiston, NY: 2001), documents the evolution of the early Greek immigrant culture of Louisville, Kentucky, which is home to the largest Greek population in the state. This study provides a collection of census data in prose format, focusing on specific families and their experiences.