By Dimitri Soultogiannis
Special to the Hellenic News of America
New York—The Pan Gregorian Association in cooperation with Marathon Bank will print 7 million placemats featuring the work of 20 Greek visual artists, in a joint campaign with the “Alliance for Greece” and Greek Ministry of Tourism.
The collaboration of Greek Diaspora forces, through Greek restaurants, members of Pan Gregorian Enterprises and their 7-million customer base, is the main objective of a new initiative to promote Greek tourism to the United States. Twenty Greek artists will be offering two of their artworks, which will be printed in placemats and distributed to 4,000 restaurants in the United States. The initiative will be launched the following month, in restaurants located in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, North and South Carolina, and Maryland.
The aim of the initiative is the “maximum promotion of the country abroad, with the least possible cost”, stressed the Minister of Culture and Tourism, G. Nikitiadis, presenting the initiative of the “Alliance for Greece”, which originally started from an idea of his and is based on the generous offer of 40 artworks, created by 20 Greek artists.
The Greek – American Restaurant Organization Pan Gregorian Inc., has undertaken the task of printing the 7 million copies of the Greek artists’ creations at their own expenses.
The 20 artists who granted the intellectual rights to their artworks are; Daphne Aggelidou, Maria Anastasiou, Chryssa Vergi, Erietta Vordoni, Maria Yannakaki, Tanya Demetrakopoulou, Sophia Kalogeropoulou, Rena Kana, Kalliroi Marouda, Maria Philopoulou, D. Andreadakis, S. Georgiadis, K. Georgiou, D. Koukos, S. Koursaris, P. Beldekos, C. Pallantzas, A. Razis, P. Samios and D. Sarasitis.
The “Alliance for Greece” is an initiative that began from institutions of the wider sector of communications and marketing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Greek Tourist Organization, aiming to promote the image of Greece in both inside the country and abroad.
In a letter read at the event, President of Pan Gregorian George Siamboulis and CEO Yiannis Sakellaris point out the willingness of their organization to support the efforts to promote Greece through their restaurants.
“We immediately responded to the proposal of Undersecretary Nikitiadis for the creation of the placemats and we initially undertook the printing of 2.000.000. During the next year we hope to reach 6.500.000 to 7.000.000. We believe that it is the best way to contribute with our own means in the promotion and projection of Greece, through our restaurants.”
The leaders of Pan Gregorian underline the close collaboration they had with the chairman of the “Alliance for Greece” George Kaloudis and they express the belief that the results will vindicate all of us. “Hellenism of America and particularly us who work in the sensitive food industry, with our restaurants visited daily by a big number of persons, have decided to come together in the effort to reverse the negative climate that has been falsely created for our beloved homeland. We will spare no effort to encourage our customers, through the quality of our services, to visit Greece and get a better knowledge of the country and the Greek people.”
The effort began as an idea of Undersecretary Nikitiadis, discussed it with the executives of the Pan Gregorian. In June 6, 2011, Nikitiadis came to the United States accompanied by the representatives of “Alliance for Greece”, George Kaloudis and Evangelos Papalios and met with the leadership of the Pan Gregorians, during an event that took place in New Jersey. At the meeting it was decided to move immediately with the implementation of the promotion of Greece through the placemats. During the same meeting they also discussed ideas that concern the promotion of Greek food products, through the Greek frestaurants that are members of the Pan-Gregorians.