AHEPA President Meets with US Government Officials

Visa Waiver, Cyprus and AHEPA’s 85-years of Continued Service

Washington, D.C. - The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the leading association for the nation’s 1.3 million American citizens of Hellenic heritage visited the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Congress and the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus on Wednesday, January 30.

AHEPA President Gus J. James, II, began his day at the Department of State for a meeting with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, who is also a member of AHEPA. Many topics were discussed, starting with the Visa Waiver Program and Greece’s campaign for entry into the system.

Under Secretary Burns acknowledged that Greece is the only Schengen Country currently not included in the program and reaffirmed earlier positive comments in regard to Greece’s potential entry into the Visa Waiver program and the need to review their current status.

“AHEPA has led the way on educating the public, US Congress and numerous Federal Agencies about Visa Waiver and its current discussions on expansion.” President James said. “We continue to believe that Greece has met all the criteria for entry into the Program and we continue to believe that Greece’s entry will bring mutual benefits to trade, goodwill and trust, for both the United States and Greece.”

President James then informed the Under Secretary about AHEPA’s planned 2008 Annual Convention in Greece and an informal invitation was extended. Cyprus and Halki were also topics discussed.

Later President James met with Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Carolyn Maloney. At both meetings, AHEPA President addressed Visa Waiver, the Congressional Hellenic Caucus and AHEPA’s 85-years of service. President James thanked them both for their continued service for the Greek-American community and offered AHEPA’s assistance. President James also paid a visit to Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger’s office and held a brief meeting with the Congressman’s Foreign Affairs Legislative Aide.

Finally, President James met with Cypriot Ambassador Andreas Kakouris. Visa Waiver and the Cyprus Problem were the focal point of their discussions. President James offered AHEPA’s assistance whenever possible.

(Posting date 9 February 2007)

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 promotes the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism. 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.

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