Washington, DC — American Hellenic Institute President Nick Larigakis attended the historic visit in Istanbul, Turkey as part of the annual pilgrimage of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the occasion of His Holiness Pope Francis’s visit. The visit took place on November 29-30, 2014 during which participants also celebrated the feast of St. Andrew with Divine Liturgy.
“It was an honor to be there for this historic meeting between Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,” Larigakis, who is an Archon, said. “I believe the meetings made an impact upon the Christian community around the world. Let’s hope these messages of religious tolerance and cooperation get through to the Turkish government, which continues to suppress the rights of religious minorities in Turkey, including the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
AHI and its Athens Chapter hosted a presentation and reception featuring Dr. Thanos Dokos, director general of ELIAMEP, December 3, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. Dr.Dokos presented on the topic, “Challenges for U.S. Foreign Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Need for Reliable Regional Allies” before a standing-room-only audience of more than 140 persons.
“We thank Dr. Dokos for his time and for providing an insightful presentation,” Larigakis said. “His presentation clearly articulated the challenges the United States faces in the region and why Greece is a reliable ally.”
AHI thanked the corporations and individuals sponsors for their support of the presentation and reception.
“We thank all our benefactors and sponsors that helped to make this event a success,” Larigakis said. “We especially are grateful to the Libra Group and NaviosMaritime Holdings, Inc., our Major Benefactors, for their generosity and support.”
In Thessaloniki, President Nick Larigakis presented on “AHI, The Link in the USA – Advocating for a Strong Relationship with Greece” at The Met hotel. The American Universities Alumni Association of Northern Greece sponsored the presentation and reception and more than 180 people were in attendance. Additional speakers were Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Orfanos, Lieutenant General Ilias Leontaris (Commander NRDC-GR), and Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas.
Larigakis was also presented with an honorary membership to the sponsoring organization. “I appreciated the opportunity to speak about the role and mission of AHI in Thessaloniki,” Larigakis said. “I cannot thank the American Universities Alumni Association of Northern Greece enough for hosting such a wonderful event and bestowing upon me an honorary membership. Under the exceptional leadership of Nikos Philippou, it was an honor to present before such tremendous members of the business and academic communities.”
AHI President Nick Larigakis being presented with an honorary membership to the American Universities Alumni Association of Northern Greece by organization president, Nikos Philippou.
Larigakis presenting at The Met hotel in Thessaloniki.
In Athens, Larigakis attended a luncheon for Greek government officials hosted by AHEPA. He was also invited to present to the Constantinople Society of Athens on the “Future of Hellenism in America.” He met individually with Minister of Defense Nikos Dendias and Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant GeneralEvangelos Tournas. Lieutenant General Christos Manolas, chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, hosted a working luncheon for Larigakis with members of his staff.
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Minister Dendias and Lieutenant Generals Tournas and Manolas,” Larigakis said. “The security relationship between the United States and Greece is vital to the United States’ interests in the region. Greece’s contributions to NATO, for example, are significant yet underappreciated.”
In addition, President Larigakis met with the following Greek government officials in the ministry of Foreign Affairs: Ambassador Katerina Koika, newly appointed Director General of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad; Alexandros Ant. Couyou, A4 Directorate for Turkey; Katia Georgiou, minister plenipotentiary director, A2 Cyprus Directorate; Ambassador Ioannis Rizopoulos, director, A7 Directorate for North America; and Argyro Papoulia, deputy director and first counselor, A7 Directorate of North America.
The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.