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AHI Presentation in Athens Features U.S. Ambassador to Greece
December 30, 2013—No. 70 (202) 785-8430

AHI Presentation in Athens Features U.S. Ambassador to Greece

AHI President Attends Religious Freedom Conference in Berlin

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI)  and its Athens Chapter hosted a presentation and reception featuring U.S. Ambassador to Greece David D. Pearce, Dec. 10, 2013, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. The ambassador spoke about U.S.-Greece relations before a standing-room-only audience of more than 170 persons.

Ambassador Pearce is a career diplomat, who has returned to Greece as U.S. ambassador after his first visit to the country more than 40 years ago. In his remarks he addressed Greece’s upcoming Presidency of the European Union, under which negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership must progress; the reforms Greece is taking to address its economic crisis, and partnership in energy security, as all part of what Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Victoria Nuland has called a “Transatlantic Renaissance.”  

“We’re confident that Greece will provide strong leadership of the EU because we’ve seen leaders here make hard decisions,” Ambassador Pearce said. “With American and Greek leadership on both sides of the Atlantic, TTIP can be a political and strategic bet we are placing on each other, and on our shared future.  

The ambassador added, “A ‘Transatlantic Renaissance’ will require a new burst of energy, innovation, and growth, rooted in our shared democratic values and ideals.  We are at a time and place where Greece can help lead that renaissance, one that strengthens our common interests…

“…And so I am looking forward to working with the Greek-American community to strengthen and deepen that relationship in any way I can.  We deeply appreciate the work that the American Hellenic Institute does to advance Greek-American relations.” 

“We thank Ambassador Pearce for his time and for providing an insightful presentation,” Larigakis said.  “There is no doubt the U.S.-Greece relations are in good hands with the ambassador, who clearly understands Greece’s influence on American democracy and contributions to U.S. security interests in the region.  AHI pledges its ongoing commitment to help the long-standing relationship between the United States and Greece to grow and prosper.”    AHI thanks the following sponsors for their support of the presentation and reception:  Major Benefactor: Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos. Benefactors: Libra Group, Navios Maritime Holdings, Inc.; Ted G. Spyropoulos, President T.G.S. Epsilon, Inc.; Cardiff Marine Inc.; and G.C. Economou & Associates, Athens. Sponsors: Agora Trading, American College of Greece, K. Arvanitis, S.A.; Motor Oil (Hellas); Kapotas, S.A.; and Paragon Shipping, Inc.

“We thank all our benefactors and sponsors that helped to make this event a success,” Larigakis said. “We especially are grateful to Ambassador Angelopoulos, who was a Major Benefactor, for her generosity and support.”

AHI President Meets with Greek Government Officials

In Athens, President Nick Larigakis met with Greek government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. A meeting with Minister of Defense Dimitris Avramopoulos was scheduled; however the minister was tapped to represent Greece at the funeral of the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Minister Venizelos,” Larigakis said. “We discussed AHI’s programs and initiatives that work to keep Greece at the forefront of policymakers’ agenda in Washington, including our work with Hudson Institute.  I also provided him with an overview of the International Religious Freedom Conference held in Berlin.” 

In addition, President Larigakis met with the following Greek government officials in the Hellenic Parliament, ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ministry of Defense:  Konstantinos Tsiaras, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense and Foreign Affairs (Parliament); Dimitrios Tsoucalas, Acting Chairman for the Standing Committee on Greeks Abroad (Parliament); Ambassador Chrysoula Aliferi, A7 Directorate for North America; Ambassador Alexandros Ant. Coyou, A4 Directorate for Turkey; Minister Plenipotentiary, Director Katia Georgiou, A2 Directorate for Cyprus; and General Mikhail Kostarakos, Chief, Hellenic National Defense General Staff.

President Larigakis Attends International Religious Freedom Conference

AHI President Nick Larigakis attended a two-day International Religious Freedom Conference hosted by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Dec. 4-5, 2013, in Berlin, Germany. 

The conference brought together scholars, religious freedom and human rights advocates, journalists, diplomats, parliamentarians, religious leaders, representatives of the Government of Turkey, lawyers and members of minority communities that focused on religious freedom, Turkey's bridge to the European Union.

“I commend the Archons for organizing a high-profile conference that brings the issue of international religious freedom to the forefront of the global community,” Larigakis, who is an Archon, said. “I believe the conference made an impact upon those who attended.  Let’s hope the message gets through to the Turkish government, which continues to suppress the rights of religious minorities in Turkey, including the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.


For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at