Washington, D.C. - The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the leading association for the nation’s 1.3 million American citizens of Greek ancestry, and Philhellenes, applauds Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her formal nomination of Greece to be a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
High level administration officials met with officials from the Greek Embassy to discuss this issue last week. “We are pleased with the recent developments,” said AHEPA National President Ike Gulas. “This is a significant and important step as Greece has formally started the process for its inclusion into the Visa Waiver Program.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will assemble a team, which will travel to Athens to conduct a detailed security assessment. According to government officials, it is hard to predict when this evaluation will be complete and when Greece would ultimately join the VWP.
Over the past year, AHEPA has made it a priority to successfully educate the US Government in regard to Greece’s entry into the VWP. AHEPA has hosted a VWP forum and initiated legislation on Capitol Hill, met with high level U.S. Government officials and submitted letters requesting Greece’s inclusion to President George W. Bush, Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Condoleezza Rice.
“We are hopeful that DHS will complete its assessment in an efficient, yet precise manner,” added Gulas.
AHEPA was established in 1922, by visionary Greek-Americans to protect all from prejudice originating from the KKK, and in its history, AHEPA has joined with the NAACP and B’nai B’rith to fight discrimination. The mission of the AHEPA family is to promote the ideals of Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence. For more information about AHEPA, or how to join, please contact AHEPA Headquarters, 202.232.6300, or visit http://www.ahepa.org.