AHEPA Honors the Hellenic Republic, Leader of Government

Greek Americans Present Prime Minister Karamanlis,
President of Hellenic Parliament Benaki-Psarouda with Awards

The AHEPA Family delegation with children
in front of the Hellenic Parliament.

ATHENS, Greece-The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the nation's largest association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, arrived in Athens, Greece on April 8 to commence the 78th Annual AHEPA Family Excursion. It is a two-week journey, aiming to strengthen ties and promote programs between American Hellenes and the Eastern Mediterranean region. More than $140,000 will be donated to health and day-care facilities and Orthodox Christian institutions during the course of the trip by AHEPA.

The excursion started ambitiously as AHEPA honored the Hellenic Republic on April 10, 2006 at a banquet with more than 600 persons in attendance at the Intercontinental Hotel. According to Supreme President Gus J. James, II, it is the first event of its kind to be held in Athens in recent memory.

"We felt strongly this event was long overdue," said James, II who is heading a delegation of 100 Greek-Americans on the excursion. "We're proud of what we were able to demonstrate here this evening which was a commitment to Hellenism and an appreciation for the Hellenic Republic, its citizens, and their historic and modern contributions to the world."

Supreme President James greets
President Papoulias as District 25
Governor Dr. Barich looks on
AHEPA honored the Hellenic Republic with the inaugural "Spirit of Hellenism Award," Prime Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis with the "AHEPA Socrates Award," and President of the Hellenic Parliament Anna Benaki-Psarouda with the "AHEPA Pericles Award." President Karolos Papoulias received the Spirit of Hellenism Award on behalf of the Hellenic Republic.

According to the Athens News Agency, President Papoulias thanked the AHEPA delegation and referenced the excellent cooperation he has experienced with the organization, especially when he served as foreign minister.

American Ambassador to Greece Charles Ries also addressed the audience and spoke about AHEPA's history in the United States and contribution to American society.

The balance of the excursion in Athens will include meetings with American and Greek government officials, His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos, and a conference at the University of Indianapolis-Athens Campus.

From Athens, the delegation will proceed to Cyprus, April 13 to 17, to host a reception in honor of the Republic of Cyprus and Mr. George Paraskevaides in Nicosia on April 14. The delegation will continue on to Thessaloniki, April 17 to 20, and conclude the journey at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, April 20 to 24, where the AHEPA family will participate in Holy Week Services and visit the Theological Seminary at Halki.

"We're excited about what we are doing to meet the core principles of our mission that include the protection, preservation, and promotion of Hellenism," said James. "This excursion exemplifies our dedication to that part of our mission and we look forward to sharing our experiences with our communities back home in the United States."

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and "sister" chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society. Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. The AHEPA family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena. For more information about the organization or how to join, contact AHEPA Headquarters (202-232-6300) or visit the organization's newly redesigned website at http://www.ahepa.org.

HCS maintains an extensive archives of AHEPA articles and press releases which readers are invited to browse under the AHEPA Family Releases section of the site archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/archiveahepa.html.

2000 © Hellenic Communication Service, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.