American Hellenic Institute


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AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus
July 21, 2009—No. 55 (202) 785-8430

AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus


WASHINGTON, DC—From June 8-17, 2009, a delegation from the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) participated in the organization’s annual trip to Greece and Cyprus, during which time the group held substantive talks with government officials and business leaders in both countries. A key highlight of trip was the delegation’s meetings with both countries’ presidents: the Hellenic Republic’s Karolos Papoulias and the Republic of Cyprus’ Demetris Christofias.

In Cyprus, the delegation participants included AHI President Alecos Haralambides, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis, long-time AHI member Dr. Takey Crist from North Carolina, and AHI’s newest representative from Portland, Orgeon, John Hanches. In Athens, the AHI delegation included Messrs. Haralambides, Larigakis, and Hanches. They were joined by AHI members Dean D. Bellas, Ph.D., from Alexandria, Virginia and Chrysoula Economopoulos.


AHI’s delegation visited Nicosia from June 9-11, 2009. Over the course of the next four days, the delegation’s discussions focused largely on the still unresolved Cyprus issue, and on exchanging dialogue with government and community leaders in the country.

Meetings were held on June 10 with President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias, Deputy Mayor of Nicosia Stelios Ieronymides, and Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Athanasios Orphanides. In its 90 minute meeting with President Christofias, attended also by Government Spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou, the delegation discussed current developments regarding the Cyprus issue. President Christofias extended his thanks and gratitude to AHI for continuing to raise awareness of the Cyprus issue with the Obama administration and U.S. Congress.

On June 11, a full day of meetings included discussions with former Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Marios Garoyian, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Frank C. Urbancic, and President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manthos Mavrommatis.

Rounding out their visit to Cyprus on July 12, the delegation met with the Director of the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Eleonora Gavrielides, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou who was accompanied at the meeting by Androula Lanitis, Director, Press and Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


During AHI’s first full day in Athens on June 12, the delegation met with U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel V. Speckhard at the American Embassy, followed by separate meetings with Greece’s Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis and Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.

On Monday, June 15, the delegation continued its visit, meeting with Krinio Kanellopulu, who is the Chairwoman of Hellenic Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. The meeting was followed by discussions with Deputy Minister of National Defense Yannis Plakiotakis.

A focal point of June 16 meetings and AHI’s overall trip was a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias. In welcoming the delegation, President Papoulias expressed his gratitude to AHI by saying “Your presence is an important force in the United States.  It’s with appreciation of your work that I welcome you here today.”

That day, a series of meetings at the Greek Foreign Ministry were also held with Ambassador Chrysoula Aleiferi, the Director of the Directorate for North America, Director of the Directorate for Relations with Turkey Ambassador Georgios Kaklikis, Director of the Directorate on Cyprus Affairs Dimitrios Yannakakis, and Director of the Directorate for Southeastern Europe Countries Christos Panagopoulos.  A luncheon was hosted by Ambassador Aleiferi in honor of the delegation at the foreign ministry.

Discussions continued the next day with Yiannos Grammatides, the President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, and with Dimitris P. Droutsas, who is the PASOK party’s director of the President’s Diplomatic Cabinet and Secretary for Foreign Policy and International Relations.

That evening also featured the Fifth Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner at the Grand Bretagne Hotel, honoring Joanna Despotopoulou, President of the Organizing Committee Special Olympics World Summer Games “Athens 2011”, and Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, President, ALAPIS S.A.

The delegation rounded out its trip to Greece and Cyprus on June 18 meeting with the Vice President of Hellenic Parliament Georgios Sourlas, the Chairman of the Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad Nikos Tsartsionis, and Stefanos Vlastos, who is Secretary for Greek Education Abroad and Intercultural Education.

Photographs from the AHI delegation trip to Greece and Cyprus are available on AHI's Web site at: additional information, please contact Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at


For additional information, please contact Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at