American Hellenic Institute


Facebook Image

Volume 29, Number 226 — May 15, 2003


28th Annual Awards Dinner Hosted

On March 15, 2003, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) paid tribute to a distinguished set of Greek Americans at its 28th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner, held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Linked by their important career achievements and by their contributions to the Greek America community and to the community at-large, this year’s honorees included: Christine M. Warnke, Ph.D., humanitarian and community activist; Charles Moskos, Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), and preeminent military and Greek American sociologist; Demetrios A. Boutris, California Corporations Commissioner and Special Counsel to the Governor of California; Ambassador Clay Constantinou (Ret.), Dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University; and James N. Gianopulos, Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and former president of Twentieth Century Fox International.

Each year, AHI grants two types of awards at this gala event—the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award and the National Public Service Award. Receiving the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award were Professor Moskos, Commissioner Boutris and Mr. Gianopulos. Receiving the National Public Service Award were Dr. Warnke and Ambassador Constantinou. Also a major highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award to Mr. Gianopulos by the Motion Picture Association’s distinguished Chairman and CEO Jack Valenti.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening, was former CNN reporter and E*TRADE communications executive John C. Metaxas.

Mr. Metaxas presented a proclamation from the Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia which designates March 22-29, 2003 as Greek American Week.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of Mr. Gianopoulos’ award by Mr. Valenti. Mr. Valenti paid tribute to the long and rich history of the Greek culture, and praised Mr. Gianopulos as “one of the great young stars of the Greek American culture today.”

The Honorees were introduced by friends and associates with distinguished records in their own professional fields: Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, IV, a three decade foreign service officer with postings as Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (for Dr. Warnke); Marilyn Rouvelas, author of A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America and former Hellenic Heritage Achievement award recipient (for Dr. Moskos); Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, President and CEO of AKT Development Corporation and a Trustee of the California State University System (for Commissioner Boutris); AHI’s Gene Rossides (for Ambassador Constantinou); and Jack Valenti (for Mr. Gianopulos).

Representatives Praised for Unanimous Support of Cyprus Resolution

On April 10, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives resoundingly approved House Resolution 165 by a vote of 422-0. The resolution, introduced by Representative Doug Bereuter (R-NE), calls for “a renewed effort to find a peaceful, just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem” within the parameters set by the United Nations (U.N.).

The resolution notes disappointment that U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s efforts to bring his comprehensive settlement plan to a referendum by the people of Cyprus was rejected.

In a press release, AHI congratulated Rep. Bereuter for introducing this important initiative, and also applauded the House of Representatives for its continued commitment to achieving a just and lasting resolution of the Cyprus problem along U.N. guidelines.

AHI Leadership Honored

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis was honored with the title of Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle during a ceremony held at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York on March 9, 2003. The designation of Archon is granted to candidates by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, for their outstanding service to the Church. These individuals are prominent, distinguished, and well-respected leaders of the Greek Orthodox Community.

Mr. Larigakis’ honor follows at the heels of AHI founder Gene Rossides’ appointment as Archon of the Greek Orthodox Church in 2002. Also in recognition of his leadership, Mr. Rossides was named the 2003 Honorary Grand Marshal for the Chicago Hellenic Heritage and Greek Independence Day Parade on March 30, 2003.

AHI Presents Testimony to House, Senate

On April 2, 2003, AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides presented testimony on behalf of AHI and the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Financing and Related Programs. The testimony opposed the $1 billion in aid to Turkey in the Bush Administration’s proposed $75 billion emergency spending package to fund the war in Iraq for a number of reasons.

And on April 30, 2003, AHI and HANC submitted public testimony for consideration by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. The testimony supports AHI and HANC’s position on the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill.

AHI’s testimony addressed the following three items as in the best interest of the United States: (1) an amount of $15 million in humanitarian aid for Cyprus was urged; (2) the amount of $600,000 in IMET funds for Greece was supported; and (3) the $255 million in military and economic aid to the military-controlled government of Turkey in this bill was opposed.

**A full copy of the Senate testimony and letter to President Bush is enclosed in this mailing for your review.

Representative Pallone Congratulated for Stance on Turkey and Cyprus

In a press release, AHI applauded U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) for his strong opposition to potential U.S. concessions to Turkish demands for tens of billions of dollars in exchange for use of Turkey as a base for U.S. troops in the war against Iraq.

In a February 24 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Rep. Pallone urged the Administration to rethink current policy toward Turkey, noting Turkey’s 29-year illegal military occupation of Cyprus.

The AHI also congratulated Rep. Pallone for urging the Administration to “play a leading role” in ending the 29-year division of Cyprus in his February 14 letter to President Bush, signed by 78 Members of Congress.

Joint EABC-AHI Breakfast Focuses on Greece’s EU Presidency

The European-American Business Council (EABC), with AHI as its co-sponsor, hosted a breakfast event on January 29, 2003 at the Westin Embassy Row Hotel featuring Greek Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides. Ambassador Savvaides discussed the priorities of Greece’s Presidency of the European Union (EU).

The event offered participants the opportunity to network while gaining a clearer perspective of Greece’s important role at the launching point of its EU presidency. This was the first joint event held between AHI and the EABC.

Executive Director’s Trip to Greece Achieves Results

From November 27-December 6, 2002, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis held meetings with Greek government officials and business leaders during his annual winter trip to Greece. Joined by AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas for a majority of the meetings, the two-person delegation discussed the organization’s goals and objectives and focused on engendering new areas of mutual cooperation and development between leaders in Greece and the Greek American community.

From the Greek Foreign Ministry, meetings were held with Greek American Relations representative Dionyssis Kalamvrezos; Ambassador Elias Clis, Director of the A4 Department for Turkish Affairs; Anna Korka, counselor at the Ministry’s A2 Department for Cyprus; and with Secretary General for Greeks Abroad of the Foreign Ministry Dimitris Dolis. Mr. Larigakis also met separately with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis and with Grigoris Niotis, Member of Parliament and chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Greeks Abroad. At the U.S. Embassy in Greece, Messrs. Larigakis and Karambelas met with Ambassador Thomas Miller.

From the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, Mr. Larigakis met with General Manager for the International Relations Division Dionyssis S. Gangas and Manager for Greeks Abroad Demetra Egan.

Messrs. Larigakis and Karambelas also held discussions with Chris Spirou of the Hellenic American Union (HAU); Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Managing Director of NBG Venture Capital S.A.; Dr. Stratos Papadimitriou, Chairman of the Board at ELKE Hellenic Center for Investment; and with Andreas Vgenopoulos, CEO of Marfin Bank. Mr. Larigakis also had the opportunity to meet with local businessmen during a dinner hosted by AHI member Aris Drivas.

Other Trip Highlights…

Mr. Larigakis and AHI Athens Chapter President Elias Malevitis were featured in a one-hour live interview with Elias Stamatopoulos of HIGH television station, and Mr. Larigakis was also featured during a 1/2-hour interview with Katerina Thanasoula, host of ERA 5’s radio show “Hellenes Around the World.” Two presentations featuring AHI were also held during the course of the trip.

The combination of these meetings and events achieved an overall successful trip, working to benefit transatlantic ties and generate additional areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Greece.

U.S. Senate Support of Cyprus EU Accession Applauded

In a press release, AHI expressed its support of the U.S. Senate’s November 18, 2002 unanimous approval of a resolution (S.Con.Res.122) which endorsed the accession of Cyprus to the EU and calling for the reunification of the Republic of Cyprus.

The Senate initiative resolved that “the current status quo on Cyprus must be ended and the island and its people be reunited, in a bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus, with full consideration of United Nations Security Council resolutions and international treaties.”

Ambassador of Cyprus Delivers Remarks On Cyprus EU Accession at AHI Christmas Open House

On December 13, 2002, AHI hosted its annual Christmas Open House at Hellenic House. The event provided a special opportunity for guests to celebrate the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU, which occurred earlier that day at the EU’s Copenhagen Summit.

During the event, Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis expressed her gratitude to AHI for its longstanding commitment to the issues involving Cyprus, including the country’s EU accession bid. While Cyprus’ accession to the EU was an historic event, Ambassador Kozakou-Marcoullis noted that the continued commitment and involvement of AHI and the community at-large was essential in bringing about the reunification of Cyprus and an end to Turkish occupation.


MEGA and ERT Coverage in Greece: March 2003

In late March 2003, AHI founder Gene Rossides was interviewed for news programs on ERT and MEGA, two major television stations in Greece, regarding Richard N. Perle’s resignation as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board.

Mr. Rossides’ interview for MEGA TV appeared on the news program “Oi Fakeloi,” hosted by journalist Alexis Papahelas and was rebroadcast several times on other programs as well. The interview for ERT TV was conducted by journalist Pavlos Tsimas.

In the National Interest: March 16, 2003

In the National Interest (ITNI) published a letter to the editor written by Gene Rossides in response to Zeyno Baran’s March 12, 2003 article (“Turkish Bravado versus American Bullying: A Clash of Civilizations?”). Mr. Rossides’ letter appeared under the title “Turkey: Ally or Extortionist?” ITNI, a partnership between the publication The National Interest and The Nixon Center, is an online weekly designed to provide insight and analysis of American foreign policy and world events from a realist perspective.

European Affairs: Winter 2003 Volume

The Winter 2003 edition of European Affairs included a letter to the editor from Gene Rossides. Mr. Rossides’ letter responded to an article by European Affairs Brussels correspondent Philippe Lemaître, titled “The EU and Turkey Head for Another Big Test.”

European Affairs is a quarterly publication of The European Institute ( whose goal is to facilitate the transatlantic dialogue and to disseminate information on issues affecting the U.S.-EU relationship.

Common Ground Radio: Week of January 14, 2003

Common Ground Radio’s weekly program on world affairs broadcast a segment on the Cyprus problem, featuring an interview of Nick Karambelas, AHI Advisory Committee member. Also interviewed for the program was Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis.

Common Ground Radio: Week of January 7, 2003

A program about the Greek American community that was aired on Common Ground Radio’s weekly world affairs program included interviews of AHI’s Gene Rossides and recent AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award recipient Charles Moskos. Both spoke on the origins and influence of the Greek American lobby in U.S. politics.

In the National Interest: December 11, 2002

ITNI carried a letter to the editor written by AHI founder Gene Rossides in response to the column by ITNI Editor Nikolas Gvosdev, titled “The Morality of Results: The Cyprus and Kosovo Challenges”. Mr. Rossides’ letter appeared under the title “Cyprus and Realism.”

AHI also sent the following letters to the editor:

On April 16, 2003, AHI Advisory Committee member Dr. Van Coufoudakis submitted an article for publication in The Washington Times’ Sunday “Forum” section. The article responded to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s April 13, 2003 “Forum” commentary titled, “Cyprus solution should not be taken by storm”.

On January 9, 2003, AHI’s letter to the editor responded to a New York Times editorial titled “Ending the Cyprus Conflict” (January 7, 2003, p. A22).


Ambassador George Savvaides

On December 10, 2002, Greece’s Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides visited Hellenic House for a meeting and luncheon with AHI leadership and staff. The Ambassador was accompanied by Adamadia Klotsa, Consul at the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C. Meeting participants discussed items of mutual interest and concern, with a special focus on the issue of Cyprus reunification.


Greece Touted as a “World Player”

On January 9, 2003, AHI hosted U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas J. Miller for a forum discussion where he updated the audience on current developments in Greece and on the status of U.S.-Greece relations. The ambassador commented on progress in the November 17 case, Greek cooperation in the war on terrorism, headway made on a Cyprus settlement, and the 2004 Olympics.

Progress Report on Cyprus

AHI welcomed U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus Ambassador Thomas G. Weston for a noon forum on January 30, 2003 to discuss the current status of the Cyprus issue in a post-EU accession context. Ambassador Weston outlined the key successes coming out of the EU’s Copenhagen Summit in December 2002, and noted important steps taken since that time in the negotiations process based on the settlement proposal submitted by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The Ambassador also fielded questions on a variety of issues related to the status of negotiations and prospects for a settlement.

Evaluating the Annan Proposal

On February 13, 2003, Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, was the featured presenter at AHI’s noon forum. Dr. Carpenter’s presentation was titled, “Does the Annan Proposal for Cyprus Meet the EU’s Democratic Norms and U.S. Interests?”


April 29, 2003

AHI sent a letter to President George W. Bush regarding Turkey’s actions in the Iraq war. According to the letter, “The war on Iraq has demonstrated and dramatized Turkey’s unreliability as an ally and that Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic or other interests in the Middle East. In the interests of the United States, it is past time to change a flawed U.S. policy towards Turkey. It is past time to recognize that Turkey is the cause of tensions and problems in its region. And it is past time to stop the double standard towards Turkey and apply the rule of law to Turkey.”

February 26, 2003

A joint letter to President Bush was sent on February 26 by leading Greek and Armenian American organizations to protest the Bush Administration’s offer of $26 billion ($15 billion in grants and loans over one year) to Turkey in exchange for Turkey’s military cooperation regarding Iraq.

The letter was co-signed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) and AHI.

December 11, 2002

A joint letter to President Bush sent on December 11, 2002 by leading Armenian, Greek and Kurdish American organizations urged a critical review and change in U.S. policy towards Turkey based on the national interests of the U.S. The six co-signatories to the letter included ANCA, the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), HANC, the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN), and AHI.


March 28, 2003

AHI released a statement regarding the March 27, 2003 resignation of Richard N. Perle from his position as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, citing this act as “an important step in eliminating a number of conflicts of interest posed by his presence on that board….However, we are disturbed that Mr. Perle will remain as a member of that board, and we call on him to remove himself from the Defense Policy Board.” Reasons cited for this call for resignation include Mr. Perle’s past work as a registered foreign consultant for Turkey from 1989-1994.

March 21, 2003

AHI’s statement regarding the war in Iraq expressed the organization’s support for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces in the Middle East.

March 13, 2003

AHI’s statement on developments in Iraq pointed out that: “It is not in the best interests of the U.S. to continue negotiations with Turkey to pay to Turkey ‘extortion in the name of alliance’ for the use of bases in Turkey to open a northern front in the event of war with Iraq.”

March 7, 2003

AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides stated that: (1) U.S. officials have now moved ahead with plans to invade Iraq without Turkey’s help in the event of war with Iraq; (2) that leading columnists have called for the U.S. to end any effort for a second vote by the Turkish Parliament; and (3) that the Turks have hailed the Parliament vote as a victory for democracy. The statement worked to reaffirm AHI’s stance that Turkey is an unreliable ally.

March 5, 2003

AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides stated that U.S. officials have demonstrated that the U.S. does not need Turkey in the event of war with Iraq, citing recent comments made by U.S. Army Lt. General David D. McKiernan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers.

March 3, 2003

In a statement regarding the Turkish Parliament vote which rejected U.S. troops use of Turkey as a base for an attack on Iraq, Gene Rossides noted that: “We did not need Turkey in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991 in which no northern front was opened, and we do not need Turkey today in the event of war with Iraq.” His argument was supported by comments made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other reports appearing in the news media.

December 13, 2002

AHI congratulated the EU in its historic decision to accept Cyprus and the nine other candidate countries for accession to its ranks in Copenhagen. The AHI also congratulated the people of Cyprus, their elected representatives and all those who have worked to make accession to the EU a reality, as well as the people of Greece and their elected representatives for their full support of Cyprus in the accession process.

December 3 and 9, 2002

AHI released two statements regarding the proposal for a Cyprus settlement submitted by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. While recognizing that the ultimate decision on the settlement proposal rests with the people of Cyprus and their elected representatives, AHI pointed out a number of weaknesses in the plan and noted that, as is, the plan does not serve the best interests of the U.S. AHI’s first statement (December 3) cited and analyzed seven reasons for which the U.S. should withdraw its support from the plan. AHI’s second statement (December 9) listed seven additional reasons which argued that the settlement proposal needs further revision.

Aegean Legislation Introduced

Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 87 (H.Con.Res.87) on March 11, 2003, “expressing the sense of the Congress regarding Turkey’s claims of sovereignty over islands and islets in the Aegean Sea.” The Resolution establishes that the boundaries 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 the sovereign territory of Greece. Original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res.87 are Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA).

H.Con.Res.87 incorporates language initiated by AHI and first introduced on November 7, 1997 by Rep. Michael Pappas (R-NJ) in the 105th Congress. It also incorporates language from Amendment 19 to H.R. 2415 introduced by Rep. Andrews and passed by the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote on July 21, 1999.

AHI Hosts Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day

On March 26, 2003, AHI hosted its annual “Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day” on Capitol Hill to celebrate the 182nd anniversary of Greek independence and the common democratic ideals held by Greece and the United States. The event was held in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus’ cosponsors, Representative Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis and Greek Ambassador George Savvaides offered their remarks regarding the impact of Greece’s struggle for independence. According to Ambassador Kozakou-Marcoullis, “The Greek Revolution was an inspiration for many peoples around the world that wanted to free themselves from the bonds of slavery. But it is also a reminder that there are peoples, that there are countries that still remain under occupation,” noting Cyprus’ particular situation.

Echoing Ambassador Kozakou-Marcoullis’ words, Ambassador Savvaides added that, “I wish to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all Members of Congress and friends in Congress for what they are doing for years now for issues that are of utmost importance to Greece and to Cyprus and also to ask them…to continue their very active interest in these matters.”

Members of Congress attending the reception and addressing the audience included (in speaking order): Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY). Also attending the reception was U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus Ambassador Thomas G. Weston.

Each of the speakers emphasized their admiration for the Hellenic culture and for the valiant and inspirational struggle for Greek independence, achieved nearly 200 years ago. They also expressed disappointment in the failure of U.N.-sponsored reunification talks, but reaffirmed their commitment to finding a just and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions and democratic principles.



April 2, 2003

AHI members and friends were urged to oppose $1 billion to Turkey as outlined in President Bush’s $75 billion emergency spending package to fund the war in Iraq and reward key allies. According to AHI’s action alert, “In the best interests of the U.S., Turkey should not be rewarded for its history of intransigence and human rights violations.”

February 28, 2003

In consolidating the “coalition of the willing,” the Bush Administration had offered Turkey $26 billion in exchange for its military cooperation in Iraq. AHI’s action alert urged members and friends to write their representatives and ask them to oppose any economic aid to Turkey in exchange for its military cooperation in the event of a war against Iraq. A later vote by Turkey’s Parliament denied U.S. basing rights in their country, bypassing the Administration’s proposed aid package.

December 10, 2002

AHI noted that Secretary General Kofi Annan’s comprehensive settlement proposal for Cyprus was an even more complicated version of the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements imposed on the Greek Cypriots during the Cold War. AHI’s action alert urged members and friends to express their disapproval of this plan as written, and to request modifications which would make the proposal democratic and workable.



AHI New York Chapter

The AHI New York Metropolitan Chapter, under the leadership of Col. Andonios Neroulias (Ret.), continues to host monthly business networking events at local Greek restaurants in New York City. Providing an overview of the success of these networking events, Col. Neroulias noted that, “We have a regular attendance of about 40 people, both new and old faces. And the list keeps growing. It provides a very relaxed and pleasant atmosphere for people to get to know each other on a professional level.

Events thus far in 2003 were held on January 6, February 10, March 3, April 7 and May 5. To receive email notifications of upcoming AHI New York Chapter networking events, please send an email to Col. Neroulias at Companies interested in sponsoring and presenting a business-related topic of interest to AHI Business Network members are also encouraged to contact Col. Neroulias.

AHI Northern Virginia Chapter

AHI-NOVA held its first meeting of 2003 on January 24 at the home of Troella and Walter Tyznik in Alexandria, VA. 25 members were present to hear Dr. Demetrios Papademetriou, the Co-Director of Migration Policy Institute, discuss International Migration in the Twenty-First Century.

AHI-NOVA held its second meeting of the year on March 28 at the home of Olga Polemitou and Roger Beatty in Vienna, VA. There were 28 participants who came to hear Robert F. Hopper talk about the roll of key ethnic groups in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

To become active in the AHI-NOVA Chapter, please contact chapter president Chris Zirps at or (703) 780-6124.


Inspiring Wine Lovers to “Think Greek”

The appeal of Greek wines in the U.S. has gained much ground of late. Modernized, but with a rich history, the Greek wines of today are boasting a new taste. Capitalizing on this newfound interest, AHI member Konstantine Drougos has just launched Amerikus Wines & Spirits, specializing in importing top caliber wines and spirits from Greece and Cyprus. Starting in spring 2003, Amerikus brings over 70 new couture Greek wine varieties to markets throughout the United States.

According to Mr. Drougos, “We are delighted to be bringing such a vast array of quality to the United States. Greece has made great strides in the last decade in reinventing its vineyards and unique grape varieties. These ‘new, old world’ wines and spirits are the perfect alternative for people who are looking beyond the traditional yet classic tastes, and want to take a trip to the regions that helped shape Western civilization as we know it today.”

In addition to carrying wines from traditional manufacturers, Amerikus will be carrying several boutique, organic and limited-production quality wines and spirits traditionally found in small Greek villages.

Amerikus also plans to introduce to the market a number of top caliber spirits and dessert wines. Of these spirits Mr. Drougos says, “It is my belief that Greece and Cyprus produce some of the finest sweet wines in the world. Cyprus’ trademarked commandaria and Rhodes’ muscat, for example, rank among the best in the world.”

Before setting out on his own with Amerikus, Mr. Drougos spent many years managing Greek portfolios in New York’s competitive market. The decision to embark on his new venture was made after witnessing the difference in strategies between the marketing of Greek wines and wines of other regions. Aware that proven strategies were not being employed in Greek wine distribution, he is determined to apply effective models in order to participate in the rescue of Greece’s declining volume in the American market. With this in mind, he encourages “oenophiles, philhellenes and non, take a sip of today’s Greek wines and get inspired.”

For additional information on Amerikus Wines & Spirits, contact Patricia Clough at (212) 777-3455 or

Plant Your Roots in Greece

Helping to reforest some of the fire-ravaged areas of Greece, the non-profit Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation has initiated plantings of new trees in various areas of Greece including the mountain area near Sounion, the island of Samos, the region of Kalavryta, and the region of Olympia. To achieve its goal, the program works with local mayors and Prefectures, the youth from the schools and athletic organizations in those areas. In addition to tree planting, an aggressive program of fire fighting has also been instituted.

Originally founded by the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) under the leadership of AHI Advisory Committee member Ted G. Spyropoulos in 1995, the idea was to activate the visitors and tourists in Greece to plant a tree on every visit. When the catastrophic forest fires hit Greece, HANC took an active part in this non-profit organization.

Perhaps most widely appealing about the Plant Your Roots in Greece program is that virtually anyone can assist in the ultimate goal of reforesting the hills and mountains of Greece by 2010. Contribution levels begin at $20 for the planting of two trees in the donor’s name, and range upwards.

For additional information and to contribute to the Plant Your Roots in Greece program, call (773) 994-2222 and see the foundation’s website for a downloadable donation form.

Yachting a Course for the Greek Isles

Since 1972, Aris Drivas Yachting has been chartering crewed yachts to the world. Under the direction of AHI member Aris Drivas, the company’s extensive knowledge of Greek charter yachts combined with many years of professional chartering experience make it a top choice when embarking on a yachting holiday in Greece.

Aris Drivas Yachting is a wholesaler to the yachting industry and closely associated to brokers and agents worldwide. The company’s extensive knowledge of Greek charter yachts combined with many years of chartering experience ranks it among Greece’s most qualified yachting wholesalers in Greece.

According to the company’s mission, “Be it a cruise for you and the family, a business event or simply a getaway with friends, Aris Drivas Yachting will specialize your holiday and make it the most unforgettable yachting experience of a lifetime,” showing the wide range of tour offerings available.

Aris Drivas Yachting is a member of the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners’ Association and the Greek Yacht Brokers and Consultants Association. The company was recommended in—an online travel guide—as one of three private yacht companies to contact for chartering a yacht in Greece, though many others exist. For additional information on Aris Drivas Yachting, send an email to or call (from the U.S.) 011-30-210-411-3194.


LEON ANDRIS was named an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle during a ceremony held at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York on March 9, 2003. The designation of Archon is granted to candidates by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, for their outstanding service to the Church and for their leadership in the Greek Orthodox Community.

GEORGE D. BEHRAKIS was honored by Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in March 2003 for his six and one-half years of service as vice chairman of the board of trustees. Among the many who praised Mr. Behrakis’ efforts was Archbishop Demetrios, who described him as a “faithful and wise steward.”

NICHOLAS J. BOURAS was the recipient of the 2003 Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral Holy Trinity Award. The award was presented to him on May 2, 2003 at the Cathedral Ball at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

WILLIAM D. COCORINIS was recently featured in an article appearing in The National Herald under the title “The Don Quixote of Utah” (January 1, 2003). The article highlighted Mr. Cocorinis’ major career accomplishments at the University of Utah, establishing the Center for Modern Greek Studies at the University and earning recognition for his outstanding service.

VAN COUFOUDAKIS, Ph.D. was recently appointed to the post of Rector at Intercollege in Cyprus. He also serves as Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at Indiana University-Purdue University (Fort Wayne).

ANASTASIUS EFSTRADIADES has been appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to the New Jersey Health Care Administration Board, which is responsible for advising the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services on issues relating to health care policy and approving health care regulations. Mr. Efstratiades is a partner with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP and a member of the firm’s management committee.

THEODORA HANCOCK was reelected president of the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), with her two-year term beginning in January 2003. And on March 24, 2003, Ms. Hancock was honored along with three other prominent Greek Americans by the U.S. State Department at an afternoon reception held in commemoration of the 182nd anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The individuals were honored for their contributions to the community at national, state and local levels.

PAUL KOTROTSIOS completed another successful Hermes Expo International at the Atlantic City Convention and Conference Center in New Jersey on April 6, 2003. The trade show and exhibition, organized and run by Mr. Kotrotsios, is in its twelfth year of promoting trade relations between European (mainly Greece) and Eastern Mediterranean countries with the U.S.

CHRIS V. SEMOS has been named to the board of directors of Methodist Hospital in Dallas, TX. Mr. Semos served as county commissioner of Dallas County from 1983 to 1995, and was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1967 to 1983. He has long been active in the Greek American community in Dallas, and is an Archon Deputatos.

PETER TIBORIS, Conductor and General Director/Artistic Director of MidAmerica Productions, leads the New York premiere of Rossini’s Ermione, a tragic, two-act opera set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. The performance will take place at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, June 3, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.

GEORGE VERAS, President of Veras Communications, Inc. (VCI), has been successfully marketing Yanni’s new book, album, tour and TV special in 2002-3. The first leg of the 2003/4 World Tour kicked off in Las Vegas on March 1st, and encompasses more than 50 cities throughout North America.

NADIA WEINBERG, vocal soloist, and the Soloists of the Symphony Orchestra of Athens completed another successful concert tour in the U.S. and Canada in March. All proceeds from the tour benefited a variety of Hellenic American causes.