Contact: Andrew Kaffes
Phone: 202.441.5099

Distinguished Academic, Author Speros Vryonis to Receive Academy of Achievement Award in Education

WASHINGTON (June 16, 2009)— Professor Speros Vryonis, Jr., a renowned academic and accomplished author, will be presented with the AHEPA Academy of Achievement Award in Education at the AHEPA 87th Annual Supreme Convention, Friday, July 3, 2009, in San Francisco, announced Supreme President Ike Gulas and Joe Keane, chairman, AHEPA Educational Foundation. In addition, Professor Vryonis will speak on the topic “The Greek American Communities and AHEPA: Today and Tomorrow” on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, 11am at a symposium hosted by the AHEPA Hellenic Cultural Commission chaired by K. Gus Hazifotis. A Q&A session will follow.

“It is a privilege and an honor for AHEPA to have Professor Vryonis as its guest at the Supreme Convention and to present him with the AHEPA Academy of Achievement Award, an accolade long overdue,” said Gulas. “Professor Vyronis’ contributions to the academic field and to chronicling history, especially of the Byzantine period, are invaluable.”

Professor Vryonis is professor emeritus of history at the University of California Los Angeles; founding director of the Alexander S. Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies at New York University, from which he retired as emeritus Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Civilization; and former director of the Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism.

He received his B.A. from Southwestern College, Memphis, Tennessee, majoring in ancient history and the classics, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. Professor Vryonis is one of the most eminent Byzantinists of his generation, and has done extensive work on the history and culture of the Greeks from Homer to the present.

Moreover, Professor Vryonis is the author of many books and numerous articles in scholarly journals. His books include the seminal The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century; Byzantium and Europe; Studies on Byzantium, Seljuks and Ottomans; and Byzantium: Its Internal History and Relations with the Islamic World. His most recent book is the monumental The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6-7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul.

In addition, he is a Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Medieval Academy of America, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens. Among the many honors and awards he has received are the following: Medal of the Three Hierarchs for contributions to education by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Medal of Commander of the Order of the Phoenix by the Greek Government; and Gold Medal of St. Paul by The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.

Previous recipients of the AHEPA Academy of Achievement Award in Education include: Dr. Mary R. Lefkowitz, professor emerita of Classical Studies, Wellesley College; Dr. Marianne McDonald, professor of Classics and Theatre, University of California-San Diego; Dr. Dimitri Kececioglu, professor of Aerospace and Engineering, University of Arizona; Dr. Stamatios Krimigis, head, Space Department of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; and the late Dr. Constantine Papadakis, president, Drexel University.

The mission of the AHEPA family is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.

AHEPA was established in 1922 by visionary Greek-Americans to protect all from prejudice from the KKK. In its history, AHEPA has joined with the NAACP and B’nai B’rith International to fight discrimination. It has grown to become the largest membership-based association for Hellenic-Americans and Philhellenes in the world.

For more information about AHEPA, or how to join, please contact AHEPA Headquarters, 202.232.6300, or visit

Andrew G. Kaffes
A.G. Kaffes & Associates LLC
1909 Q Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20009

Phone: 202.441.5099
Fax: 425.955.9548

(Posting date 1 July 2009)

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

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

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