New York.- “Hellenes are all those who share our upbringing and culture” said Isocrates, an Athenian Orator who lived almost two and a half thousand years ago. On October 14th, New Yorkers shared Hellenism through “An Evening of Greek Culture through its Cuisine and Music” at St. John’s University in Council Hall. Floods did not prevent a standing room audience of two hundred persons from attending. Koula Sopasis was the keynote speaker. Her dance group performed traditional Greek dances in authentic Greek costumes. D. J. Spiros Kostaras provided outstanding musical entertainment. A dinner of Greek cuisine was served at the conclusion of the evening. All cuisine and services were donated. The event was free to the community. Awards of appreciation were given to persons who have contributed to the success of the Modern Greek language and Literature Program during the past nine years. Prominent persons from the political, education and business life of New York City attended. The Event was co-sponsored by the Pan-Macedonian Studies Center and Koula Sopasis. Dr. Nicholas Toscano is the Chairman of the Languages and Literatures Department. Prof. Catherine Tsounis is the Adjunct Instructor of the Modern Greek Language and Literature Program.
The student moderators of the program were Mary Golding, Anna Giannikouris, Yvonne Cassimatis and Sophia Giannoutsos. The Welcome was delivered by Spiros Apatzopoulos, General Counsel for Economic & Commercial Affairs, Greek Consulate, Prof. Gaetano Cipolla, President of Arba Sicula and Elias Neofytidis, President of the Pan-Macedonian Studies Center. Greetings were delivered by the following prominent speakers: State Senator Frank Padavan; Irene Stathatos, Community Liaison for Assemblyman Mike Giannaris: George Paralemos, Regional Coordinator, NYS Comptroller Alan Hevesi; Dr. Arthur Flug, Executive Director, Holocaust Resource Center and Archives at Q.C.C.College; 111th Precinct, Captain Pilkington and Lt. Heffernan and Tony Barsamian, Publisher, Queens Gazette.
Awards were given to the following Greek Societies who have granted scholarships to students: PANCHIAKI KORAIS SOCIETY, representatives Dr. Fotis Benetos and Dr. Kallas; SYLLOGOS ENOSIS EVRITANON AMERIKIS TO KARPENISI, representative Maria Vartholomeos and Pan-Macedonian Studies Center, representative Mr. Liambas.
Dedicated persons who have contributed to the success of the Program were given awards of appreciation. These remarkable persons include:
Dr. Gaetano Cipolla; Dr. Myrodis Constantinidis; Dr. Florence Russo; Mrs. Irene Stathatos; Mr. Tom Kalogridis; Mrs. Vivian Vescobacci; Mrs. Koula Sopasis; Mr. Elias Neofytidis;Mrs. Tula Polios; Mrs. Angeliki Giokaris; Mary Ann & John Cassimatis; Mr. Kostas Malonoukos ; Mr. Kostas Alexiou; Maribel Moya; Soula Kikis; Eleftheria Tzeremes; Giannoula Stavrakis; Ekaterina Saviolakis; Electra Haviaras; Zacharoula Hatzipetrou; Evangelia Boys and Kathy Kavalos.
‘I am a Roman,” said State Senator Frank Padavan. “We conquered Greece, but she achieved the ultimate revenge: her civilization conquered us.” “Our cuisine is a living testament to our history,” said Koula Sopasis.” In Ancient times, cheese was added to salads and fish. During the Christian era, vegetable dishes predominated. Our families were refugees from Asia Minor, Turkey. They brought with them cuttings and made their new homes in Macedonia a paradise. Vegetable dishes with olive oil predominated in the cuisine that is now known as the” Mediterranean Diet”. Mrs. Sopasis presented her new cookbook to the public known as “Sopasina: Queen of Greek Cuisine”. Senator Padavan later said, “Mrs. Sopasis’ presentation gave everyone an overwhelming desire to enjoy the cuisine that followed.”
This enjoyable evening was made possible through the donations and assistance of the following persons and businesses: Modern Greek Language and Literature Program; Costas Malonoukos; Costas Alexiou; Vasilios Kontopoulos of New Hyde Park Florist; Elias and Markella Neofytidis; Koula Sopasis and Dance Group; Zenon; George and Peter Katsihtis of Neptune Diner; Tastee Corner; D.J. Spiros Kostaras; John and Mary Ann Cassimatis; Dorothy and Peter Scoufaras; Soula Kikis; Maribel Moya; SJU Greek Club; Ann Marie Renaldo and the SJU Italian Club; SJU Freshman Center; Pan Macedonian Studies Center and Vivian Vescovacci.
“We want you to gain an insight into our soul,” said Mary Golding, “ Καλως Ορίσατε. Αυτό είναι μια προσφορά από όλους μας σε σας.”