WASHINGTON— AHEPA, the largest and oldest association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, will hold its 81st Annual Supreme Convention for the first time in Phoenix, July 27 to August 1 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. According to Supreme President Dr. James F. Dimitriou, the convention is a five-day event designed to offer attendees the opportunity to embrace their heritage through educational symposia and social events, featuring live Greek music and dancing.
“We wish to contribute a sampling of our Greek heritage to a city already rich with culture and ethnic diversity,” Dr. Dimitriou said. “I am confident our attendees will appreciate what Phoenix has to offer culturally and recreationally.”
Phoenix resident George P. Kokalis, 96, will be honored with the AHEPA-Archbishop Iakovos Humanitarian Award for his decades of philanthropic service to the community. Kokalis will receive his award at the convention’ s Grand Banquet, to be held Thursday, July 31, 7 pm.
“George is a pillar of strength in the community,” Dr. Dimitriou said. “We are proud of his long-standing membership in AHEPA.”
Additional honorees include: The Order of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a body of laymen that promote the mission of the Mother Church and the Holy Patriarchate of Constantinople, represented by its National Commander, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis (AHEPA Medal of Freedom); Her Excellency Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. (Aristotle Award); Dr. Maria Pantelia, Professor of Classics and Thesaurus Linguae Graecae Project Director, University of California, Irvine (Academy of Achievement Award); and Dr. Monthe N. Kofos, AHEPA National Athletic Director (AHEPA Lifetime Achievement Award).
“We have a distinguished list of honorees,” Dr. Dimitriou said. “In each of their own unique ways, our honorees contribute to the strengthening of our communities through their philanthropic deeds, professional excellence, and volunteer service.”
Other distinguished guests and speakers to date include:
Executive Producer George Veras, president, Veras Communications, Inc., will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Grand Banquet. His many professional accomplishments include producing PBS documentaries and entertainment specials The Greek Americans I and II, and more recently, Yanni Live at Royal Albert Hall.
In other events, four new members will be inducted into the AHEPA Athletic Hellenic Hall of Fame on July 29, Archbishop Demetrios will offer a Bible study on July 30, and Dr. Pantelia will lecture on the “Thesaurus Linguae Graecae” Project on July 31.
AHEPA was founded in 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism of early 20th century American society that targeted immigrants of many ethnicities, especially in the South. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into American society. Today, the mission of the AHEPA family is to promote the ideals of Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence.