BOSTON (MPA).- The 57th Conference of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America was completed in Boston, Mass., on Saturday with the election of the new Supreme Council of the organization. There was only one candidate for the post of Pan-Macedonian Association president, which has been held for the past three years by Nina Peropoulos. The sole candidate was Sotiris Proios, a member of the Pan-Macedonian Association for 34 years and president of the Association of Thessalonians in New York for 15 years.
Panos Spiliakos was elected vice-president, while Nina Gatzoulis was elected the association’s general secretary.
During the three-day conference proceedings, delegates examined issues concerning the improved course of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, which is one of the older and bigger Greek-American organizations representing about 60,000 Greeks from the province of Macedonia in the northern part of Greece.
Another issue dominating the conference focused on the young generation and ways to persuade them to join the organizations that are members of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America.
During the conference, interesting facts were presented on the association’s history.
The issue mentioned above was outlined in an inspired speech before the 200 representatives of the 120 member-associations of the organization, by Archbishop Demetrios of America, honorary president of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America.
The archbishop also called on the delegates to continue their global mission, as Greeks and as Macedonians, carrying on as beacons lighting the world. He called the participants not to defend and concentrate on FYROM, but instead to hold the battle in such a way that it keeps their great path open: Greek, Orthodox and Macedonian. Archbishop of America Dimitrios and Metropolitan of Boston Methodios blessed the conference and its works.
The honorary presidium of the conference was consisted of the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Greek Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides, Metropolitan of Boston Methodios, Greek Consul-General in Boston Costas Bikas, as well as other officials and local government figures from Macedonia and the U.S.
Among those who sent messages expressing wishes for the success of the conference were Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis, right-wing New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spokesman of U.S. President George Bush, Archbishop Demetrios of America, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, President of SAE-America Christos Tomaras and others.
In his address to the conference, Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis said, “Hellenism has voice and power.”
Expressing the warm greetings of the Greek government to Macedonians in the U.S., Savvaides praised the struggle of the Pan-Macedonians to inform the U.S. political leadership of Greece’s national issues, with the latest result being the resolution adopted by eleven states in favor of Greek positions on the Macedonian issue. He stressed that the situation created in the Balkans over the last fifteen years has brought Macedonia and Macedonians back to the forefront of works for cultural, financial and every kind of cooperation with their neighbors.
The Supreme Council of the association held a meeting on the conference sidelines with the formal guests from Greece and Greek-American educators invited to attend the conference. The discussions focused on the prospects for development in Macedonia and the region’s problems and needs.
Present were the prefects of Thessaloniki and Kavala, Panagiotis Psomiadis and Thodoros Kalliontzis, respectively; Thessaloniki City Council President Theodoros Aspasidis, representing the mayor of Thessaloniki; and distinguished Greek-American professors, Van Coufoudakis and Dean Lomis.
At the meeting, it was stressed that there is a need for twinning more Greek cities with U.S. municipalities, while more attempts should be made to attract U.S. capital for investment in Greece. A special reference was made about the gradual disappearance of the Greek language in the United States.
Friday’s proceedings included speeches by the delegates, report readings and a presentation about the new Museum of the Acropolis by Professor Dimitris Pantermalis. The main issue cited in most of the speeches was the effort concerning the active participation of young Macedonians in organizations that are members of the Pan-Macedonian Association.
Regarding the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the delegates expressed the certainty that they will be very successful.
Protest to President Bush
The Supreme Council of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America expressed deep disappointment over the U.S. government move to sign an agreement with FYROM on the International Criminal Court using the name “Macedonia” instead of FYROM.
In a letter sent to U.S. President Bush by the Supreme Council of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, it was stressed that the signature placed by the United States on the agreement text is void and illegal as there is no country in the world under that name except as in the UN-recognized Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM. It was also emphasized that this U.S. government move is in total conflict with the U.S. interests and helps spread anti-Americanism.
The letter was also addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
The Houses of Representatives in the states of Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have passed a resolution filed by the Pan-Macedonian Association of America recognizing that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, that today’s inhabitants of Macedonia are of Greek origin and that Macedonia is a part of northern Greece.
In total, fourteen state Houses of Representatives have adopted the same resolution as a result of efforts made by philhellene Americans and Greek-American members of state Houses of Representatives, local Macedonian associations and other Greek-American organizations in the U.S.
The resolution is a good response to the falsifiers of history, and it was initially passed on April 3, 2003 in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and went on to passage in the Houses of Representatives of California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.
Similar resolutions will soon be discussed in the Houses of Representatives of the states of New York, Florida, Virginia and Mississippi.