New York.- “The Foundation of Hellenism of America proudly presents to Costas Athanasiades ‘The Cleistheneio Award,’” said Michael Servos, President. “He is awarded this distinction for his outstanding work as a freedom fighter, journalist, author, philosopher, philanthropist and founder of the Athanasiades Cultural Foundation. This award honors the memory of Cleisthenes, the Founder of Democracy in Athens. Cleisthenes was an uncle of Pericles!” The President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias received this award last year in Ioannina. Greece.
This unique honor was awarded at the 2009 17th Annual Athanasiades Cultural Foundation Scholarships Ceremony on November 29th. The Cultural Center is located at 30-96 42 St., Astoria, New York. Two hundred persons attended with standing room only. The program included the presentations by prominent persons: Costas Athanasiades, writer/benefactor; Michael Servos, President, Foundation of Hellenism of America; Christos Tzelios, Athanasiades Foundation; James Stathopoulos, Esq., Athanasiades Foundation; Evangelos Kyriakopoulos, consul, Greek consulate; Professor Giannaris, scholar/educator, Fordham University; John G. Siolas, Ph.D., educator; H.V. Vasiliades, Ph.D. and Catherine Tsounis, adjunct instructor, Modern Greek Language. A reception was held with musical entertainment by famous composer and guitarist Spyros Exaras. “It is the first time in 17 years that we had such a tremendous success,” said Mr. Tzelios.
The 2009 Athanasiades Foundation scholars are the following persons: Christina Adamides, Adolescence Education; Anatrea Annas, Criminal Justice; Bridget K. Barry, Management; Maria E. Boletsis, Advertizing; Maria Catechis, Speech; Maria Charitou, Childhood Education; Theodora Christodoulou, Speech; Sable Diakos, English; Konstantinos Dimopoulos, Civil Engineering, NYU Polytechnic Institute; Stavroula Economou, Com.Sci. Disorders, Queens College; Maria P. Economou, Liberal Arts; Themistocles M. Efthimiades, Adolescence Education; Alexandra D. Foukalas, Childhood Education; Veronica Georgiades, Psychology; Maria Gueros, Accounting, Queens College; Constantine Gurlakis, Government & Politics; Eleni Hatzinicolaou, Physical Science; Katherine Kaloumenos, Psychology; Maria Katzelos, American Studies, St. John’s Fisher college; Vicki k. Katsetos, Biology, St. John’s Fisher College;
Andy Kokkinos, Biolgy; Julia Kourkouelis, Speech; Pangiotis Koutsoloukas, Biology;
Kleanthie Lathourakis, childhood education, queens college; Eftyhia Manolatos, sociology; Eleftheria Manou, Statistics & Annuities, Piraeus University; Spyridon Melitsopoulos, Political Science, Baruch college; Ismini Moshopoulos, accounting; Michael Nysiriou.
Costas Athanasiades is one of the few survivors of the WW2 fighters. The average person views Costas Athanasiades as “a real patriot. One of the few patriots who fought against the English for the freedom of Cyprus,” said Jimmy Demetriou, a retired businessman. “My father, Matheos Demetriou, read his newspaper and was a subscriber. I want to buy Costas Athanasiades books and take them back to Cyprus with me. His battalion was one of the first to destroy the Germans during WWII. The Campana newspaper always wrote the truth that was not accepted by the status quo.” With enthusiasm, Mr. Demetriou (a common Cypriot name) said “when I was sixteen years old in 1966, I remember his ‘Campana’. The editor is a patrioti from the bones. People like that do not grow on trees. His view of the Cyprus civil war was correct. He worked for Enosis (union) with Greece. His Turkish Cypriot comrades at arms in the British wanted union with Greece not Turkey. He envisioned a Greek Turkish community working together in Cyprus. He is a visionary.”
Mr. Athanasiades says that we all are responsible for our condition.
Today we all have to work for a better world. We cannot rely on other people to do the job. Like Socrates, he believes that the only thing that belongs to us, which nobody can take away, is knowledge.
Mr. Athanasiades immigrated from Australia in the late 1950’s. He organized societies to aid the Cypriot War of independence from the colonial power of England. “I struggle against the Junta (Greek military dictatorship), he said. “I printed my newspaper for seventy years and never took a dollar.” Campana means church bell.
“Costas Athanasiades could not achieve so much without the full support, cooperation, help, love and encouragement of his devoted late wife, Maria,” said Christos Tzelios, businessman/philanthropist of the Athanasiades Cultural Foundation, Inc. “She took care of her husband, especially his diet, cooking healthy only. Mrs. Athanasiades was working while her husband was publishing the non-profit Cambana newspaper. She was a fair and just person. They do not come like her anymore. A patriotic, courageous woman, she came from the Pontos. Mr. and the late Mrs. Athanasiades live a frugal life and are environmentalists. They care for the people and the earth.”
*** Links: www.hellenes.com – website of the Foundation of Hellenism of America
www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/characters/cleisthenes_p1.html – profile of Cleisthenes