American Hellenic Institute


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Professor Constantine Hatzidimitriou Named Director of the AHIF Center for the Study of Human Rights and Hellenism
January 13, 1999 No. 01/99 (202) 785-8430

Professor Constantine Hatzidimitriou Named Director of the AHIF Center for the Study of Human Rights and Hellenism

The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) is pleased to announce that Professor Constantine Hatzidimitriou has accepted the appointment as Director of the AHIF Center for the Study of Human Rights and Hellenism.

Professor Hatzidimitriou earned a Ph.D. in Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek history from Columbia University in 1988. He is currently an adjunct professor at St. John's University in New York. He was a Gennadeion Fellow of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Fulbright Representative for Northern Greece at the U.S. Consulate in Thessaloniki, and a faculty member at Anatolia College. He has published in a wide variety of scholarly publications and participated in numerous conferences in the fields of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. His forthcoming book, American Documents and Eyewitness Accounts of the Turkish Destruction of Smyrna in 1922 will be published in 1999

The Center will promote the study of the Greek people's struggle to survive and preserve Hellenic culture from the early modern period to the present. Within this broad spectrum, special attention will be paid to the twentieth century destruction and ethnic cleansing of Anatolian Hellenism; Greece's record of courage and sacrifice against totalitarianism and fascism during the World Wars; and the Cypriot struggle for freedom and justice. The Center will also examine the human rights situation in Turkey, Albania, and other countries and related issues such as the persecution of the Kurds, Armenians and others.

The Center's activities will complement the work carried out in this field by other non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Center will undertake research documenting genocides against Greek and other peoples, crimes against humanity, and human rights abuses in the region. It will produce publications and seek to identify the individuals responsible. It will seek manuscripts for publication.

Eugene T. Rossides, President of AHIF, stated:
I am delighted that Professor Hatzidimitriou has agreed to serve as the Center's Director. He is an outstanding young academic who brings a wealth of knowledge and deep historical perspective to this challenging assignment.
The United States has a long and distinguished record of placing the principles of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution at the center of our foreign policy. Our national tradition is to uphold individual human rights and to succor the downtrodden. The Center's work will serve to remind U.S. government departments and agencies of their responsibility to advance these values in their policies.
The Center's work will be relevant to current and future American policy in the region. By highlighting U.S. and Western standards of democracy, the AHIF Center for the Study of Human Rights and Hellenism will attempt to breathe fresh life into America's proudest foreign policy traditions."

Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Chairman of the AHIF Foundation for Hellenic Studies, commented on Professor Hatzidimitriou's appointment as follows:
I am pleased that AHIF has taken the initiative to establish a Center for the Study of Human Rights and Hellenism. Dr. Hatzidimitriou has the historical knowledge and research experience needed for this important Center. I welcome him as a member of the AHIF team and look forward to his contributions."

Professor Constantine (Gus) Hatzidimitriou on accepting the appointment stated:
It is an honor to be associated with Gene Rossides, Dr. Van Coufoudakis and the AHI because they have consistently stood for and promoted the rule of law, American democratic values and high academic standards. A Center whose mission will be to make the American public more aware of Hellenism's long struggle to survive against invaders, hostile neighbors, and genocide is long overdue. As recent events in the Balkans and Near East have shown, U.S. foreign policy and public opinion must take the historical development and experiences of these regions into account in order to be effective. Most Americans, even many in high office, have no knowledge of Hellenism's modern struggles to preserve itself and to promote western values of individual human rights and political freedom in the region. The Center will seek to set the record straight and make this information known to a wide audience through an aggressive program of education and outreach that utilizes objective data that will conform to the highest standards of the American academic community. Particular attention will be paid to the publication of official U.S. government documents which illuminate this neglected history."