American Hellenic Institute


Facebook Image
American Hellenic, American Jewish Groups Hail Second Three-Country Leadership Mission
February 12, 2016—No. 04 (202) 785-8430

American Hellenic, American Jewish Groups Hail Second Three-Country Leadership Mission

In post-Mission trip, AHI President visits Thessaloniki

WASHINGTON, DC - A 13-member delegation of community leaders from American Hellenic and American Jewish organizations participated on their second three-country Leadership Mission to Israel, Cyprus, and Greece, Jan. 10 to 19, 2016.  The purpose of the Mission was to evaluate the critical and developing relationship between these three countries on security, energy, economics and political areas. The 2016 Mission also sought to build upon the initial Mission the four organizations took in January 2014.  Meetings were held with high-ranking government and military officials—in addition to local community leaders—from the three countries and the United States.  The Mission also visited military installations at Palmachim Air Base, Yavne, Israel and Souda Bay, Crete, Greece.  The participating organizations included: American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), American Hellenic Institute (AHI), B’nai B’rith International, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“Our meetings made clear that the trilateral relationship between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece is vibrant and strong on all levels.  We believe the relationship has developed to the betterment of the region and is on sustained course. In a region with so much instability, the trilateral relationship possesses the potential to allow the eastern Mediterranean to become a community of nations based on shared common values and aspirations.  We applaud the leaders of these three countries for their foresight in establishing this cooperative relationship which we hope other nations will join.” 

“The American Hellenic and American Jewish communities will continue to work to foster closer cooperation in the United States and support the trilateral relationship.  We are grateful to the many leaders who afforded us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas.  The friendship and hospitality shown to us made the trip all the more meaningful and productive.”

Trilateral Summit Reinforces Mission’s Findings

A trilateral summit concluded in Nicosia, Cyprus, Jan. 28, where leaders of the three countries met to discuss strengthening ties in the security, energy, economic and political arenas.  According to a summit declaration issued by President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic Alexis Tsipras, the leaders have “…agreed to strengthen the cooperation between our three countries in order to promote a trilateral partnership in different fields of common Interest and to work together towards promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Mediterranean and the wider region.”

The Mission’s participating organizations stated:

“The trilateral summit, and its declaration, reinforce the messages we received during our meetings with the prime ministers, presidents and top officials from all three countries.  We welcome the summit’s declaration, and we are pleased the leaders have announced a second summit is planned to be held in the second half of 2016 in Israel.”

In Post-Mission Trip, AHI President Visits Thessaloniki

AHI President Nick Larigakis made a post-Mission visit to Thessaloniki, Jan. 20, for a one-day series of meetings.  Thanks to the efforts of Lt. Gen. Ilias A Leontaris, Larigakis met with Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Maria Kollia Tsaroucha at lunch hosted by Lt. Gen. Leontaris.  The lieutenant general also hosted a business roundtable discussion where Larigakis was the principal speaker.  In addition, Larigakis met with Pericles A. Mitkas, Rector Professor, Aristotle University, and received a VIP tour of a military history museum. 

“Thank you to Lieutenant General Leontaris for his assistance in helping to make my one-day visit to Thessaloniki a productive one,” Larigakis said. 

Leadership Mission: Listing of Meetings


  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon
  • Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz
  • Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely
  • Briefing with Noble Energy
  • The delegation visited Salonika and Greece Jewry Heritage Center where it had the opportunity to meet with Greek Holocaust survivors.
  • The delegation toured the Western Wall and tunnels.
  • Dr. Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs (BESA) hosted a farewell dinner. BESA researcher and former Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Eran Lerman also attended.


  • President Nicos Anastasiades
  • Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis
  • Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides
  • Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis
  • Members of Parliament led by Prodromos Prodromou (Deputy Chairperson of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee)
  • Photis Photiou, Commisioner to the Presidency for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots, hosted a farewell dinner.


  • Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
  • Minister of State Nikos Pappas
  • Defense Minister Panos Kammenos
  • Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism George Stathakis
  • Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis HN
  • Rear Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos, HN-HNDGS/Head of Strategy and Policy Division
  • Hellenic Army General Staff Chief Lt. General Vasileios Tellidis
  • Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura
  • Director General of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, Michael Kokkinos
  • The delegation received a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from: Director General for Political Affairs, Ambassador Petros Mavroeidis; Director of the A7 Department for North America, Ambassador Dimitris Alexandrakis; Director of the A4 Department for Turkey, Ambassador Dimitris Chronopoulos; Director of the A6 Department for Arab countries and the Middle East, Ambassador Konstantinos Orfanidis; Acting Director of the A2 Department for Cyprus, Ioannis Papameletiou, First Counsellor
  • Deputy Chief of Defence of HNDGS Lieutenant General (AF) Georgios Paraschopoulos hosted a dinner for the delegation. Also attending were: Major General Konstantinos Floros, HNDGS/Director Operations Division; Rear Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos HN, HNDGS/Director Strategy & Policy Division; Major General Nikolaos Pitsolis, HNDGS/Director Intelligence Division; Commodore Efthymios Mikros HN, HNDGS/Director of Chief's Executive Office; Brigadier General Nikolaos Kontopidis, HNDGS/Director of Deputy Chief's Office; Brigadier General Angelos Choudeloudis, HNDGS/Director of Public Relations Directorate; Brigadier General Miltiadis Grillakis, HNDGS/Director of International Affairs Dir.; Colonel Evangelos Papadopoulos, HNDGS/Section Chief Intl Org/Defence Policy Dir.; and Captain Dimitris Dimitriou HN, HNDGS/Section Chief National Defense Policy
  • First Deputy Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Anastasios (Tasos) Kourakis
  • At Souda Bay, the delegation met with: NAMFI Commander, Maj. Gen. Lazaros Skylakis, who hosted a luncheon; Commander 5th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier General Dimitrios Karamouzas; Commander Souda Naval Base, Commodore Panagiotis Chatzakis; Commander of the 115CW F-16 Fighter Squadron Colonel Ioannis Gerolymos
  • The delegation toured the Military War Museum in Athens.

Leadership Mission: Participating Organizations & Their Participants

American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is a leading membership-based grassroots association for American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes. Its mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.

  • Supreme President John W. Galanis
  • Board of Trustees Member Lee Millas
  • Board of Trustees Member Vassos Chrysanthou
  • Chairman of Cyprus & Hellenic Affairs Committee Savas Tsivicos
  • Executive Director Basil Mossaidis

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

  • President Nick Larigakis
  • Board Member Aleco Haralambides

B’nai B’rith International is a worldwide Jewish community service organization widely known as one of the world's most influential humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organizations.

  • President Gary P. Saltzman
  • Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin
  • Director of B’nai B’rith World Center Alan Schneider

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is a central coordinating body for American Jewry, representing 52 national Jewish agencies from across the political and religious spectrums.

  • Chairman Stephen M. Greenberg
  • Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein

Photos of Trip



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 and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.