Montreal, Canada.- AHEPA, the largest Greek American organization, has held its 88th National Convention in Montreal, Canada. The week long Congress was expected to conclude yesterday with the sworn in ceremony of the new Supreme Lodge. Nick Karacostas was expected to be re-elected as Supreme President.
A beautiful opening to the 2010 Supreme Convention was held at Montreal’s City Hall last Monday. The AHEPA family delegates and their families were welcomed to the city by City Councilwoman Mary Deros, who represented Mayor Gerald Tremblay. Other dignitaries who welcomed the AHEPA family included His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada and several members of government, including officials from the ministry of Tourism and members of Parliament.
Past AHEPA Canadian President and Convention Host Committee Chairman Xenophon Scoufaras emceed the Opening Ceremonies. The audience received greetings from Supreme President Nicholas A. Karacostas, Daughters of Penelope Grand President Elaine Sampanis, AHEPA Canadian President Nick Aroutzidis, DOP Canadian President Diane Polesello, Sons of Pericles Supreme President Dean Tselepis, and Maids of Athena Grand President Sia Zois.
The ceremony concluded with Supreme President Karacostas and Grand President Sampanis signing City Hall’s “Golden Book” that will record in city’s archives this historical event. It has been exactly 50 years since AHEPA held its Supreme Convention in Montreal.
The delegates and their families were treated to a wine and cheese welcome reception on the terrace of the City Hall building. They were also able to see the City Council Chamber, which was modeled after the House of Commons, and an exhibit called “A Scarab at City Hall” to honor the 100th anniversary of the first airplane flight over Montreal.
Located in Old Montreal, Montreal City Hall evoked memories of another beautiful venue, The Zappeion, where AHEPA held its Supreme Convention Opening Ceremony in 2008.
The delegates of the 88th Supreme Convention began their deliberations Tuesday morning. In the evening a “Casino Night” was organized by the host committee followed by a traditional Greek glendi.
On Wednesday the attendees were treated to two compelling symposia. The AHEPA Educational Foundation sponsored Author John Katsaros, who wrote the book “Code Burgundy – The Long Escape.” Katsaros provides a riveting account of survival after bailing out of his B-17 over occupied France. He is subsequently captured by the Gestapo but is rescued by the French underground. Finally, after 60 years of being sworn to secrecy by the U.S. government, we get to learn about his fascinating WWII adventure. I highly recommend his eye-opening book.
The second symposium featured Dr. Andre Gerolymatos, who is the Hellenic Studies Chair at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Gerolymatos spoke brilliantly about the contributions of Greece to Western Civilization. No matter how much we think we know about Greece’s contributions, it seems we always can learn more, and Dr. Gerolymatos’ presentation was insightful and enlightening. The AHEPA Hellenic Cultural Commission hosted this event.
On Thursday the traditional Grand Ball and and the first-ever Ballroom Dance Competition took place.
Also on Thursday AHEPA honored excellence in the field of athletics. Scholarships and awards for achievement were presented to our outstanding scholar-athletes at the high school and secondary levels of education. Four were inducted into the AHEPA Athletic Hall of Fame.
In addition, the Junior Order of AHEPA, the Sons of Pericles celebrated its 84th anniversary.
The delegates were busy wrapping up their work in their committees, working hard to address issues both internal to the organization and external to the community.