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Greek CommunityCulturePreserving Heritage, Inspiring Generations: International Greek Language Day Celebrated at Terrace on...

Preserving Heritage, Inspiring Generations: International Greek Language Day Celebrated at Terrace on the Park

Catherine Tsounis
Catherine Tsounis
Contributing Editor The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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By Catherine Tsounis

International Greek Language Day was celebrated on February 10th at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, NY, in honor of Dionysios Solomos, the national ethnic poet and author of the Greek National Anthem. President Stella Kokolis of the Greek American Teachers Federation and affiliate organizations hosted the event, which attracted 100 attendees. Prominent members of the news media, Greek government and Consulate representatives, educational leaders from the northeastern states, business professionals, parochial schools, and Greek American organizations were in attendance.

The event featured a diverse program, including prayers led by Rev. Gregory Stamkopoulos, presentations by Master of Ceremonies Leonidas Papoulias, and greetings from President Stella Kokolis and Ms. Giota Pechlivanidi, Acting Education Counselor at the Consulate General of Greece in New York. Student poetry presentations from Plato Academy and Dimitrios & Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School, Brooklyn, added to the cultural richness of the occasion.

Honorees, including Dr. Anastasios Koularmanis, Director of Greek Education of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, and Mr. Panagiotis Passas, Director General for International and European Affairs, Education Department for Hellenic Diaspora, were recognized for their contributions to Greek language and culture. A luncheon followed the program, during which tributes were paid to the honorees and their significant achievements.

The event highlighted the enduring importance of the Greek language as a symbol of cultural heritage and a vehicle for intellectual discourse. It also underscored the ongoing efforts to promote and preserve Greek language and culture within the Greek American community and beyond. For more information, please contact Stella Kokolis on Facebook.

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“His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros’ objectives are to preserve Greek education,” said Rev. Stamkopoulos in his opening address. “The basis of Western Civilization in the United States of America is Greece. Through reorganization, assistance from donors, and the implementation of new educational methods to address American-born youth, we will keep our schools strong.”

Explaining the theme, President Kokolis stated, “The Hellenic Language, a legendary language that endures to this day, remains the language of critical thinking. Greek continues to inspire educated people around the world.” Ms. Pechlivanidi added, “Greek, spoken for 3,500 years and written with the same alphabet, has influenced the entire world.”

Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Papoulias, highlighted Mrs. Stella Kokolis’ distinguished reputation, stating, “She is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as a prominent community leader, educator, and humanitarian, having received numerous awards for her professional, charitable, and political work.”

Mr. Papoulias continued, “As an educator, founder of societies promoting education, political activist, and supporter of the Greek Orthodox Church, she is a legend. Mrs. Kokolis has steadfastly supported Greek language, culture, and Greek Orthodoxy, often funding community projects anonymously.”

John Chrysoulakis, Secretary-General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the significance of Greek heritage, stating, “Greek stands for Dialogue, Diplomacy, Democracy. These three Greek words, with a global meaning, extend worldwide, narrating their own history in Greek.”

Dr. Griva of the University of Western Macedonia asserted that the Greek language has contributed significantly to scientific theories, philosophical thoughts, and literature in Western languages, emphasizing that Greek is not a dead language and continues to influence European languages.

Inspiring poetry presentations were delivered by students from Plato Academy and Holy Cross Dimitrios & Georgia Kaloidis Parochial School, Brooklyn, under the supervision of Plato Academy instructor Katerina Mpliatza.

Honoree Mr. Panagiotis Passas, Director General for International and European Affairs, Education for Hellenic Diaspora, remarked, “International Greek Language Day honors our heritage. Greek is a treasure that unlocks stories, traditions, and our roots.”

During the luncheon, a tribute to Dr. Koularmanis was unveiled. Mrs. Athena Tsokou Kromidas praised Dr. Koularmanis for his role in shaping the minds and hearts of children and his dedication to preserving Greek cultural heritage and language.

Among the attendees were leaders of various Arcadian organizations, including President Angeliki Vournas of Pan Arcadian Federation of America (PFA) and Christos Vournas, Pan Arcadian Federation of America Eastern District Governor.

Honoree philanthropist Anastasios Vasilakos, a supporter of the Plato Academy in Brooklyn, NY, was recognized for his anonymous contributions to education projects.

Dr. Ioanna Lekkakou, Principal of the Odyssey School in Wilmington, Delaware, shared her educational philosophy, emphasizing how Greek enhances students’ learning in various subjects.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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