New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Former Trade Commissioner of Cyprus to the United States Dennis (Demosthenes) Droushiotis passed away on Thursday, September 14, 2017, followed a battle with cancer. He was 64 years-old. He is survived by his wife Polly, his two children Dennis Jr. and Maggie and his brother Ambassador (ret.) James Droushiotes. Funeral details will be provided by his family.
Dennis Droushiotis was born in the United States to a Cypriot immigrant father. He studied at Columbia University where he obtained a masters degree in International Economics
He established the first Cyprus Trade Office in the U.S. in 1977 and he was the Trade Commissioner until his retirement in 2005. During his 28 year-old service he implemented export promotion programs that saw Cypriot Exports to the United States increase from $700,000 to over $32 million. The Trade Office’s bilateral initiatives have also played part in the U.S. becoming number 1 exporter to Cyprus with two-way trade at all time high.
During his tenure, Dennis Droushiotis put Cyprus on numerous trade exhibitions in both US and Canada, including the Fancy Food Show, the Jewelry Show etc. His biggest accomplishments were the registration of Halloumi in the US market and the promotion of the Cypriot wine Commandaria, as well as other Cypriot wines. With English as his first language and with strong connections in the U.S. media, he opened new ways for Cyprus far beyond Trade. As Philip Christopher, president of PSEKA and the Pancyprian Association of America recalls, Dennis Droushiotis played an important role in the legal battle to reclaim the Mossaics of Kanakaria, stolen from the occupied Cyprus.
“His long battle for halloumi won him the name “Mr Halloumi””, said Philip Christopher, President of the Pancyprian Association and PSEKA.
The registration of the halloumi cheese was an idea of Philp Christopher and Dennis Droushiotis and although it was registered in 1990, it took a 7 year-old long legal battle to win it. Since then, Cyprus was able to register trademarks not only in the United States, but in Canada and Brazil.
Mr. Droushiotis also help found the Cyprus-US. Chamber of Commerce, inaugurated in 1998, serving also as President and Chairman of its board of directors.. He has also been involved in bilateral trade negotiations with the United States Office of the Special Trade Representative and at the international level as well as a delegate to the World Trade Organization and other multi-lateral conferences.
He has been an advisor to the Central Bank of Cyprus, served as a Director of Tourism for North America 1980 – 1990, and as Economic Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the United Nations. Mr. Droushiotis has served on a number of associations, including the International Olympic Committee, the European Travel Commission, the American Exporters and Importers Association, American Cheese Society and is a founding member of the European Wine Council headquartered in New York.
Speaking at an event for his retirement, in 2005, the founder and past president of the Cyprus – US Chamber of Commerce Andreas Comodromos pointed out that Droushiotis “accomplished a big miracle for the small island of Cyprus”, introducing halloumi, commandaria and other Cypriot products, including citrus and fresh fish to the US market”
“Today halloumi is on the shelves of major US supermarkets and served in famous restaurants”, he said.
Mr. Droushiotis has served on a number of associations, including the International Olympic Committee, the European Travel Commission, the American Exporters and Importers Association, American Cheese Society and is a founding member of the European Wine Council headquartered in New York.
Mr. Droushiotis received honors of excellence by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and from private industry for his contribution to the fostering of trade between the United States and Cyprus. In recognition of his service, Mr. Droushiotis received the 2000 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award and the Evagoras Pallikarides Award of Merit of the Pan-Paphian Association of America in 2003.
During a reception at his honor, on September 19, 2005, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, George Iacovou had spoken about Dennis Droushiotis, praisisng his active efforts and dedicated commitment by Mr Droushiotis towards his country, in promoting U.S. commercial ties with Cyprus and leaving behind him concrete economic relations with North America. The Foreign Minister also spoke of his vast collaboration since 1983 with Mr. Droushiotis and praised his impeccable representation of Cyprus during his service in the United States, both for the economic benefit of Cyprus and the Cyprus cause.