New York.- Greek-American professionals from four membership organizations including the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Hellenic Medical Society, Hellenic Lawyers Association and the Hellenic American Bankers Association, in association with the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), came together for an evening of Hellenic Culture & Conversation, to learn about the national traveling exhibition on ancient Greece, which opened in New York this past May.
The event, held on September 10, was attended by over 70 people and featured the acclaimed guest speaker Eric Metaxas –author, cultural commentator on faith and culture, founder and host of Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life. Metaxas’ talk centered on “Homer, Hercules, and Socrates in the City: Why the Greeks Matter.” His intelligent wit and entertaining humor was extraordinary. The event was organized by Eleni Daniels who is providing public relations and community outreach services to CMOM on this project. Greek government representatives included Chryssanthos Petsilas, Deputy Director, Greek National Tourism Organization and Polixeni Mastroperrou, Director, Greek Press Office in NY.
CMOM’s Executive Director, Andrew Ackerman, greeted guests and expressed his sadness about the tragic events of the past summer in Greece and how CMOM recognized the communal and individual suffering experienced by many. “If there is to be a silver lining in this cloud, it is the outpouring of support for the American Greek community, a solidarity that is much to be admired,” said Ackerman.
“The urgency to provide awareness and understanding of the foundations of the western world in Hellenic culture are more profound than we originally thought. Many of you here tonight are lawyers, doctors and business people, all of whom find their roots in the traditions that appeared for the first time in ancient Greece. We have been astonished by the American public finding it surprising to learn, seemingly for the first time, about the roots of democracy, scientific thought, philosophy and art that we take for granted.”
Ackerman also informed guests of CMOM’s next phase concerning the exhibition: immediate plans for a permanent interactive online educational resource for children and educators; and The Jaharis Family Foundation’s recent challenge gift to CMOM for the exhibition and public programs.
“Our hope is to redouble our efforts now by finding new sponsors to further promote the exhibition; an ambitious set of programs and an online resource unit that captures the magic of the exhibition and makes it available to teachers and families across the country and the globe. And, who knows, one day Gods, Myths and Mortals could become a permanent exhibition at CMOM,” said Ackerman.
John Stratakis, president of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, thought the exhibit was fantastic. “It offers something the Greek-American community has long sought: a way to explain and promote Hellenic culture and history to a new generation of Americans.”
“The Hellenic Medical Society commends CMOM and is proud to support its ambitious endeavor to celebrate and promote Hellenic culture in America. Gods, Myths and Mortals is an excellent way to shape the minds of young children and inspire them to reach their potential as did our ancient Greek mathematicians, scientists and philosophers,” said Dr. George Dangas, president of the Society.
Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri, 1st Vice President of the Hellenic Lawyers Association (representing the president, John Saketos) expressed her enthusiasm for the event. “The Hellenic Lawyers Association is honored to be a part of the event. It reinforced the pride we have as Greeks in our history, heritage, and culture,” said Stathatos-Fulgieri.
James Hansel, president of the Hellenic American Bankers Association, was also honored to take part with many of the HABA members in support of the valuable work of CMOM. “As Greek-Americans, we are honored by the museum’s presentation of our heritage and cultural traditions in the excellent Gods, Myths and Mortals exhibit. Beyond our ethnic pride, however, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has given us a wonderful opportunity to share and to communicate the richness of our ancient heritage with the broader American society. Ancient Greece is a part of the foundation of American culture and society, and it is essential that it be well-taught, as CMOM is doing, in America.”
Andrew Ackerman hopes that the Greek community will join CMOM in supporting the next phase and help match the Jaharis family challenge gift, adding that, “Together we will become more vigorous in promoting the classic Greek world and Hellenic culture to your children and all American children.”
CMOM sincerely thanks Fantis Foods, Kellari Taverna, Ammos Estiatorio, Slate, and Artopolis Bakery for the donation of hors d’oeuvres, wine, refreshments and dessert for the event.
Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece is CMOM’s groundbreaking new 4,000 square foot exhibition, which brings the legacy of ancient Greece alive for children and families across America. It is the first exhibit of its kind to employ interactive computer kiosks and new media to teach kids about the Classics and the values of Hellenic culture. The exhibit features original artifacts, multimedia games, a 13 foot Trojan Horse and an exclusive reconstruction model of the Antikythera Mechanism, recognized as the world’s first computer. It is sponsored in New York by American Express with major support from the City of New York, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation, The Jaharis Family Foundation, The John P. Calamos Foundation, The History Channel, and individual donations; additional in-kind support is provided by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Olympic Airlines. The media sponsor is WNYC New York Public Radio.
Founded in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to kids and families. CMOM inspires children and their families to learn about themselves and a culturally diverse world through unique interactive exhibitions. CMOM presents a full range of activities, exhibits, and special performances that stimulate children of all ages. Through multi-dimensional programs that reach deep into the community, the Museum serves New Yorkers from all backgrounds. For more information on the exhibit and related public programs, visit www.cmom.org or call 212.721.1223. CMOM is open is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.