New Haven Chapter #98 of the Order of AHEPA and the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut sponsored and hosted a timely presentation by Nick Larigakis, President of the American Hellenic Institute (“AHI”), on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church Social and Educational Hall in Orange, Connecticut. Mr. Larigakis broadly discussed the United States’ geopolitical relations with Greece and Cyprus and the future of Hellenism in America.
Mr. Larigakis provided an overview of the mission and accomplishments of AHI since its founding by Gene Rossides in 1974 as a response to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and how it has since evolved into a well-respected, scholarly “think tank” on issues relevant to the United States’ geopolitical relations with Greece and Cyprus and as a proactive lobbyist to Congress on Hellenic causes. Nick provided a summary of the current relevant issues, including the ongoing Cyprus reunification talks, the United States’ military presence at Suda Bay on the island of Crete, the impact of the possible name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and status on relations with Turkey and Israel and the geopolitical tensions in the Aegean Sea.
Nick’s primary message was that all Hellenes and PhiHellenes need to remain aware of and engaged with these issues of importance to the U.S.A., Greece and Cyprus. In order to properly set the relevancy of Greece in its international relations with the United States, Nick stressed the long-term ramifications of Greek’s heroic resistance to the Axis powers in early World War II, symbolically celebrated by “Oxi Day” on October 28th, and the great extent that Greece and Cyprus have been long-standing allies of the United States, serving, in addition to Israel, as the only stabilizing forces in the Eastern Mediterranean.
A rapt audience of AHEPANS and other Greek and Cypriot-Americans peppered Nick with questions in a lively follow-up session.
The event organizers, Gregory J. Stamos, Past Supreme Counselor of AHEPA and President of the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut, and Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, Chapter #98 President, praised Nick for serving as a beacon for and font of information on relevant Hellenic issues; Stamos, on behalf of the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut, and Hadjimichael, on behalf of AHEPA, presented Nick with donations to the American Hellenic Institute.
Photo: Left to right: Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, Chapter President, Chapter #98, Nick Larigakis, President, American Hellenic Institute and Gregory J. Stamos, Past Supreme Counselor, Order of AHEPA and President of the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut