Washington, D.C.- The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) held a forum on “The U.S./Greece Strategic Partnership in the Balkans” on Friday, December 2, 2005 in Washington.
“We felt strongly that this was a very timely and salient topic of discussion as there have been several events occurring in Washington and abroad that address the issue of future stability in the Balkans,” Supreme President Gus J. James, II said. “Our panel provided insightful information and a diverse perspective on the issue.”
Panelists included: His Excellency Alexandros P. Mallias, ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the United States; Douglas Silliman, director, Office of Southern European Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Julie Kim, specialist in international relations, Congressional Research Service; Ilona Teleki, deputy director, New Emerging Democracies Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Phillip Henderson, vice president, The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
According to the supreme president, the forum is the second in a series of panel discussions that comprise the “Voice of Hellenism” campaign. The campaign’s goal is to create greater awareness and education about issues pertaining to Hellenism and the Greek-American community.
Also on Dec. 2, AHEPA hosted a dinner in honor of Ambassador Mallias, introducing him to many AHEPA Supreme Lodge and Board of Trustees members as well as Past Supreme Presidents from across the United States.
“We want to help the ambassador outreach to pockets of the Greek American community that are not necessarily major metropolitan areas,” said James. “With chapters throughout the United States, AHEPA is the vehicle by which we can help make that happen.”
In addition, James met with newly confirmed American Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus Ronald L. Schlicher at the State Department on Thursday, Dec. 1.
“We were impressed with his diplomatic philosophy and his objectivity,” said James. “We expressed areas of concern with regard to recent trends in U.S. policy toward Cyprus and discussed the plans for our excursion to Cyprus this April. The ambassador welcomed our positions and our objectives for the excursion. We look forward to working with him.”
Past Supreme President A. Jack Georgalas and AHEPA Cyprus Hellenic Affairs Co-Chair Michael Savvides joined James in the meeting. All three individuals are of Cypriot heritage.
Moreover, James was interviewed by Voice of America about two of AHEPA’s upcoming events: the 37th Biennial National Salute to be held March 10, 2006 and the aforementioned AHEPA Family Excursion to Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, April 7 – 24, 2006.