An 18-member delegation of leaders of the American Hellenic and American Jewish organizations completed a third, three-country Leadership Mission to Greece, Cyprus and Israel, to explore the major political, economic and security developments underway in the eastern Mediterranean and to advance the interests of the United States in the region. Meetings were held with more than 20 high-ranking government and military officials—in addition to policy analysts and community leaders—from the three countries and the United States. The participating organizations included: the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), B’nai B’rith International, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
In a post-mission statement, the groups noted: “Our meetings clearly revealed that the trilateral relationship between Israel, Cyprus and Greece is on a sustained course and is expanding on all levels. We believe the relationship has developed into a partnership, helping to foster peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and the broader region where instability exists. Further, the partnership possesses the potential to allow the eastern Mediterranean to become a community of nations based on shared common values and aspirations. To this end, we hope the trilateral partnership blossoms into a multilateral one. We applaud the leaders of these three countries for their ongoing and increasingly close cooperative relationship, and we look forward to a fourth Trilateral Summit in 2018. The American Hellenic and American Jewish communities are committed to advancing the trilateral partnership. We will continue to work to foster closer cooperation with the United States and support the common efforts to achieve tangible and measurable outcomes. For example, we are optimistic about initiatives involving youth exchanges. Finally, we are grateful to the many leaders who afforded us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. The friendship and hospitality shown to us made the trip even more meaningful and productive.”
AHI President Nick Larigakis added: “We are grateful to all our hosts. In Greece, we were extremely grateful for the hospitality provided by several government officials. We sincerely thank Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, who hosted us for a reception and dinner at the Hellenic Armed Forces Officers’ Club upon our arrival to Greece. Also, he graciously provided us with escort transportation during our visit. We also thank his staff, Brigadier General Angelos Choudeloudis, director of the Public Relations Directorate for the Hellenic National Defense General Staff; and Mrs. Nora Spiliotopoulou, for her assistance with logistics. Further, we sincerely thank Defense Minister Panos Kammenos for hosting us for a luncheon with several high-ranking military officials at the Ministry of Defense. Additionally, we are very grateful for the hospitality of Mr. Dimitri Contominas, who opened up his home and hosted us for a luncheon.”
AHI DELEGATION VISITS PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM
The AHI delegation visited the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and had a two-hour audience with His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine, on January 19. The discussion included the recent challenges and issues facing the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Christians in the Holy Land. Following the audience with Patriarch Theophilos, the AHI delegation visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
LEADERSHIP MISSION: LISTING OF MEETINGS, BRIEFINGS & VISITATIONS
- President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos
- Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
- American Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and Deputy Chief of Mission Kate Byrnes
- Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos. Defense Minister Kammenos also hosted a luncheon for the joint delegation at the Ministry of Defense where several high-ranking military officials attended
- Minister of Energy, Environment George Stathakis
- Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura
- Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, who hosted the joint delegation for a reception and dinner at the Hellenic Armed Forces Officers’ Club
- The joint delegation visited and toured Hellenic Naval Fleet Headquarters – Salamis Island
- Vice Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos, commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Fleet, who provided a briefing
- Lt. Commander Dimitris Bogiatzis, Papanikolis submarine
- Commander Dimitris Labiris, Spetses frigate
- The Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association, with special appreciation to HEA President Vasilis Apostopoulos and HEA Vice President Christian Hadjiminias, hosted the joint delegation for a dinner
- AHEPA Hellas District 25 hosted a reception for the joint delegation
- President of Demco Group Dimitri Contominas hosted the joint delegation for a luncheon
- Defense Minister Dr. Christoforos Fokaides
- President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris
- Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou
- Commissioner Photiou hosted the joint delegation for a luncheon at where American Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty, Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Ilias Fotopoulos and Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Shmuel (Sammy) Revel, attended and addressed the joint delegation
- AHEPA District 27, Cyprus, hosted a dinner for the joint delegation
- President of Israel Reuven Rivlin
- Member of Knesset Avi Dicter, chairman, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
- Head of the Political-Military Bureau of the Israeli Ministry of Defense Zohar Palti
- The joint delegation received a briefing at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs with:
- Deputy Director General Alon Ushpiz
- Akiva Tor, head, Bureau for Wordwide Jewish Affairs and World Religions
- Ambassador David Roet, North American Affairs
- Iris Ambor, director, South Europe Department
- Sharon Regev, director, Department for World Religions
- The joint delegation visited Israel Navy Base – Haifa
- Brigadier General Gil Aginsky, base commander, provided a briefing
- The joint delegation toured a missile boat
- The joint delegation received a policy briefing from Professor Efraim Inbar, founding director, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and Dr. Eran Lerman, former Deputy for Foreign Policy and International Affairs and former member of the Israeli National Security Council Dr. Eran Lerman, at a dinner hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
LEADERSHIP MISSION: PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA) is a leading membership-based grassroots service association for American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes. Its mission is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
- Supreme President Carl R. Hollister
- Canadian President Christos Argiriou
- Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nikolas Aroutzidis
- Supreme Governor Dr. Alfred Barich (Greece only)
- Executive Director Basil N. Mossaidis
- Consultant Andrew G. Kaffes
American Hellenic Institute (AHI) is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.
- President/COO Nick Larigakis
- AHI Foundation Chairman Constantine Galanis
- Vice President James Lagos, Esq.
- Secretary of the Board of Directors Konstantinos Alexakis, Esq.
- Board Member Demitri Halakos
- Board Member Athina Balta (Greece only)
- Legal Counsel Nicholas G. Karambelas, Esq. (Greece only)
B’nai B’rith International is a worldwide Jewish community service organization widely known as one of the world’s most influential humanitarian, human rights and advocacy organizations.
- International President Gary P. Saltzman
- CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin
- Executive Committee Chairman Peter Perlman
- B’nai B’rith International Foundation Chairman Irving Silver
- Director of B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Alan Schneider
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is the central coordinating body representing 53 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern.
- Chairman Stephen Greenberg
- Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein