American Hellenic Institute


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AHI Executive Director Completes Annual Trip to Greece
December 31, 2002 No. 63 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director Completes Annual Trip to Greece

On November 27-December 6, 2002, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Executive Director Nick Larigakis held meetings with Greek government officials and business leaders during his annual winter trip to Athens, 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.

Meetings with representatives from Greece's Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused in large part on the accession of Cyprus to the European Union (EU) and the UN-sponsored settlement proposal for the island republic. From the Foreign Ministry's division on Greek American Relations, Messrs. Larigakis and Karambelas met with Dionyssis Kalamvrezos. In separate meetings, the AHI group also met with Ambassador Elias Clis, Director of the A4 Department for Turkish Affairs, with Anna Korka, counselor at the Ministry's A2 Department for Cyprus, and with the 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, former deputy foreign minister, current 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 to discuss the details of the Kofi Annan proposal for Cyprus. Earlier in his stay, Mr. Larigakis also had the privilege of attending Thanksgiving dinner on November 28 hosted by the Ambassador and his wife, Bonnie, at their residence in Athens.

Mr. Larigakis had the opportunity to meet with members of the Organizing Committee for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games (ATHOC), including General Manager for the International Relations Division Dionyssis S. Gangas and Manager for Greeks Abroad Demetra Egan. During both meetings, AHI offered its services to assist ATHOC in promoting the Games in the U.S.

Also with the goal of improving transatlantic ties, Messrs. Larigakis and Karambelas met with Chris Spirou of the Hellenic American Union (HAU), a not-for-profit association with historic ties to the United States and program links to Western European, American and Balkan institutions. Following their meeting, the AHI representatives took an extensive tour of HAU's facilities.

From the business sector, Nick Larigakis and Nick Karambelas met with 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 on one of his private yachts. Mr. Drivas owns and operates Aris Drivas Yachting, which since 1972 has been chartering crewed yachts to the world.

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, during which time they discussed AHI, how the organization promotes its goals and objectives, and its successes across various issues over the years.

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," which is broadcast once a week to five continents. The interview focused on AHI's goals and objectives, as well as conclusions gathered from the organization's recent conference on The Future of Hellenism in the U.S.

Two presentations featuring AHI were also held during the course of the trip. On December 3, a reception and panel presentation hosted by AHI and the AHI Athens Chapter was held at the Esperia Palace Hotel. Addressing a 100 person audience, moderator Elias Malevitis and panelists Nick Karambelas and Nick Larigakis discussed "The Making of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Role of Lobbying." Attending the event was Member of Parliament Grigoris Niotis and other prominent business and community leaders. The reception and presentation were sponsored by AHI advisory committee member Ted Spyropoulos.

The second presentation took place at Deree College of the American College of Greece. Mr. Larigakis discussed lobbying in the U.S. with students from a U.S. government class. The event was arranged by AHI member and prominent Washington, D.C. attorney Manny Rouvelas and was coordinated by Dr. Geoffrey T. Mills, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Deree College.

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at 202-785-8430 or at For general information on AHI, please view our website at