American Hellenic Institute


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AHI Holds Successful Conferences in Greece and Cyprus: Sends Follow-Up Letter to President Clinton
November 30, 1999 No. 39/99 (202) 785-8430

AHI Holds Successful Conferences in Greece and Cyprus: Sends Follow-Up Letter to President Clinton

On November 13 and Nov. 15-16 respectively, the American Hellenic Institute held its inaugural conferences in Nicosia and Athens. Entitled "U.S. Relations with Greece and Cyprus: The American Foreign Policy Process and the Role of Greek Americans", the conferences were designed to help forge a more effective partnership between Greece and the United States by:

  1. explaining the essentials of the American foreign policy process and how it differs from the European parliamentary system;
  2. discussing the role of Greek Americans; and
  3. describing the current status of U.S.-Greek relations from an American point of view.

Both conferences were highly successful. In Nicosia, the conference attracted an attendance of about 100. In Athens the gala dinner on November 15 was attended by over 350 guests and over 200 participants attended the conference and luncheon on November 16. In both Greece and Cyprus extensive television and newspaper coverage resulted. Additionally, the English-language insert of Kathimerini in the International Herald Tribune of November 17 carried a full account of the conference with a picture.

The main speaker in Nicosia was Mr. Tassos Papadopoulos, Head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives. In Athens the main speakers were Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, President of New Democracy, and Mr. Nicholas Burns, U.S. Ambassador to Greece. The dinner address was given by Mr. Eugene Rossides in place of Defense Minister Akis Tzotzatopoulos, who unexpectedly had to travel to Brussels on urgent European Union business. The Athens conference concluded with a reception at the U.S. residence hosted by Ambassador Burns and attended by over 150 guests.

Both conferences came at exceptionally auspicious moments. With new Cyprus talks due to open in New York on December 3, the Nicosia conference usefully set the stage on the U.S. approach and how AHI is working to promote a fair and just settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Athens conference took place on the eve of President Clinton's visit and was able to send a forceful message about the underlying strengths of the U.S.-Greece relationship and how the Greek American community seeks to improve this relationship. Ambassador Burns described the Greek American community as a "vital link" between the U.S. and Greece and spoke of his "great admiration for the AHI which acts as a bridge between the U.S. and Greece."

AHI speakers at the conferences covered the following topics:

  • "Current U.S. policy toward Greece and Cyprus: a Greek American Perspective"
    --Speaker: Professor Van Coufoudakis
  • "The American Foreign Policy Process and the Role of Greek Americans"
    --Speaker: Mr. Eugene Rossides
  • "The Role of the Media and Academic Community on U.S. Foreign Policy"
    --Speaker: Mr. Jonathan Clarke
  • "Outside Influences on U.S. Foreign Policy"
    --Speaker: Mr. Nick Karambelas
  • "The Lobby Process: AHI at Work"
    --Speaker: Mr. Nick Larigakis
  • "Modern Greek Studies and the Role of the Modern Greek Studies Association"
    --Speaker: Professor Van Coufoudakis
  • "AHI as a Facilitator of Promoting Greek and Cypriot Businesses in the U.S."
    --Speaker: Mr. James Marketos

Arrangements for the conferences were made respectively by Professor Andreas Theophanous, Director of the Research and Development Center of Intercollege, Nicosia, and by Mr. Costas Ioannou, President AHI-Greece, in cooperation with Mrs. Helen Politis. AHI congratulates and extends its warmest thanks to these individuals and organizations for their hard work and skill in organizing these two successful events.

AHI would also like to thank the following moderators or commentators for their very useful contributions:

Nicosia: Mr. Christodoulos Pelaghias, Mr. Emilios Solomou, Mr. Sophocles Michaelides.

Athens: Professor Athanassios Platias, Professor Constantine Arvanitopoulos, Professor Theodore Couloumbis, Professor Marios Evriviadis, Mr. Andonis Papayannidis

In Athens sponsorship was received from the following organizations and individuals: Sigma Securities S.A., Farrell Lines, ATE/AEDAK, Lilly and CAM 2 International, President Ted G. Spyropoulos. AHI expresses its deep gratitude for this generous support.

Encouraged by the success of these inaugural conferences, AHI intends to hold similar events in Greece and Cyprus on an annual basis.

Letter to President Clinton

Following the conferences, AHI sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to take follow-up action on his visit to Greece to consolidate a special relationship with Greece as the pivotal state in Southeastern Europe for U.S. interests and to take urgent measures to bring about a just settlement of the Cyprus problem. Click here for a copy of the letter.