WASHINGTON, DC, June 13, 20019 — Over 50 top US policymakers from the US Congress and Trump Administration met with national Greek-American leaders at the 35th Annual PSEKA Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington, DC June 4-6. Representing the President of the Republic of Cyprus at this conference was Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou and Greece’s Minister of National Defense, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis was honored at the conference banquet.

The primary focus of the conference was to promote the enactment of two major Congressional initiatives for Cyprus and Greece.  First, the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, or “East Med Act,” introduced by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the US Senate (S. 1102) and by Congressmen Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and David Cicilline (D-RI) in the House (H.R. 2913).  Second, appropriations legislation initiated by the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), to institutionalize this Eastern Mediterranean Partnership between Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the US.

(L-R) Andreas Papaevripides, Kyriakos Papastylianou, Savas Tsivicos, Nick Larigakis, Philip Christopher, Chairwoman Nita Lowey, Dennis Mehiel, Andy Manatos and Colonel Nick Vamavakias

While a remarkable 41 US Senators and Members of Congress met with conference participants, equally as important was the powerful positions they hold in the US Congress. They included:

In the US House of Representatives:

  • Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)
  • Chairwoman, House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)
  • Chairman, House Energy Committee, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
  • Chairman, House Middle East Subcommittee, Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)
  • Chairwoman, House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subc., Congresswoman Lowey
  • Chairman, House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
  • Chairman, House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA)
  • Chairman, House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ)
  • Chairman, House Veterans Affairs Oversight Subc., Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH)
  • Chairman, House Homeland Emergency Response Subc., Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ)
  • Ranking Member, House Global Human Rights Subc., Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)
  • Ranking Member, House Foreign Affairs Oversight Subc., Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY)
  • Ranking Member, House Transportation Approps Subc., Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  • Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Congressional Hellenic Israeli Alliance (CHIA) / Co-Chair, Hellenic Caucus, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Hellenic Caucus, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • Candidate for President of the Untied States, Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH)
  • Members of the Leadership of the US House of Representatives, Congressmen David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
  • All three authors of the House East Med Act (H.R. 2913)
  • Numerous Members – both Republicans and Democrats – from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Appropriations Committee, Armed Services Committee, Energy Committee, among others

In the US Senate:

  • Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Gary Peters (D-MI)
  • Candidate for President of the United States, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Members, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chis Murphy (D-CT) and Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Members Ed Markey (D-MA), Murphy and Coons
  • Senate Armed Services Committee Members Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Peters
(L-R) Colonel Nick Vamavakias, Savas Tsivicos, Philip Christopher, Senator Kamala Harris, Dennis Mehiel, Andy Manatos, Andreas Papaevripides and Nick Larigakis

Cyprus and Greece Government Participation

Presidential commissioner Photiou delivered two major speeches at the Conference and met on the sidelines of the Conference with a number of key US policymakers including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Eliot Engel.  The Ambassador of Cyprus to the US Marios Lysiotis also briefed conference participants and hosted the opening reception at his residence.

In addition to Greece’s Defense Minister Apostolakis, Greece’s Ambassador to the US Haris Lalacos briefed conference participants at the opening session.

(L-R) Panayiotis Baltatzis, Nick Larigakis, Dennis Mehiel, Andreas Papaevripides, Andy Manatos, Congressman John Sarbanes, Savas Tsivicos, Peter Marudas, Kyriakos Papastylianou, Nick Karacostas

Eastern Mediterranean Partnership

In what many participants referred to as the most interesting part of the conference, on the opening day a panel was held titled “The Importance of the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership to the United States.”  The panelists included:

  • Former US Ambassador to Greece and Director of the Foreign Service Institute, Ambassador Dan Smith
  • Former US Ambassador to Cyprus and Dean, Foreign Service Institute, Ambassador Kathleen Doherty
  • State Department Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs, Yuri Kim
  • US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senior Professional Staff Member and “author” of the East Med Act, Damian Murphy

In addition, the American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris gave keynote remarks on Capitol Hill on the subject of the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership.

As well, Acting Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Jonathan Cohen, addressed conference participants.

(L-R) Andy Manatos, Senator Kamala Harris and Dennis Mehiel


Those policymakers honored at this conference included:

  • In the House, to highlight major energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Eastern Mediterranean Partnership, honorees included:
  • The Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) who was presented with the inaugural EMP Award
  • The Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who was presented with the Barbed Wire Award
  • House Energy & Commerce Committee Member, Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) who was presented with the Soil Award
  • House Energy & Commerce Committee Member, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) who was presented with the Soil Award

    (L-R) Andreas Papaevripides, Savas Tsivicos, Philip Christopher, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Bob Menendez, Nick Larigakis, Kyriakos Papastylianou, Despina Axiotakis

In the US Senate:

  • Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Human Rights Subcommittee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), honored with the Paraskevaides-Mouyiaris Award. The award was accepted on his behalf by the former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • Candidate for President of the United States and Select Intelligence Committee Member, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) who was presented with the James Williams Award

At the Conference Banquet:

  • Minister of National Defense of Greece, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis who received the Soil Award
  • European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis who received the Athens/Livanos Award
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) who received the Barbed Wire Award
  • Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) who received the Frizis Award

At the closing breakfast:

  • Chief of Staff to Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), Josh Rogin who receive the Conalis-Kontou Award
2019 Conference participants on Capitol Hill

Heads of Numerous Greek-American Organizations

This conference was hosted by PSEKA and Co-Hosted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), HALC, CEH, FCAO, AHEPA, AHI, the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce and HANC.

The heads of many of the most active national and regional Greek-American organizations came to Washington, DC to participate – together – in this important conference.  They included:

  • Philip Christopher, President, International Coordinating Committee – Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) / President, Pancyprian Association of America
  • Andy Manatos, President, Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) / Regional Commander, Order of St. Andrew – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • Kyriacos Papastylianou, President, Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO)
  • Andreas Papaevripides, President, World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK)
  • Tasos Zambas, Board Member, Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO) / Alternate President, PSEKA
  • Chris Tuton, President, World Federation of Youth Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK)
  • Argyris Eleftheriou, President, NEPOMAK USA
  • Nick Karacostas, Chairman, AHEPA / Chairman, Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce
  • Basil Mossaidis, Executive Director, AHEPA
  • Nick Larigakis, President, American Hellenic Institute (AHI)
  • Endy Zemenides, Executive Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC)
  • Savas Tsivicos, Past President, Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO)
  • Paul Kotrotsios, Past President, Hellenic American National Council (HANC)
  • Mike Manatos, Executive Board Member, Leadership 100 / Board Member, National Hellenic Society (NHS)
  • Eleftherios Antoniou, Chairman, Occupied Communities
  • Alex Warren, Vice President, Board of Directors, American Hellenic Council of California (AHC)
  • Christianna Kontou, Executive Director, American Hellenic Council
  • Dinos Miltiadou, President, Pancyprian Association of Washington, DC
  • Varnavas Zagaris, President, Pancyprian Association of Florida
  • Michael Alexandrou, President, Federation of Hellenic Societies of Florida
  • Eleonora Mihopoulos, President, Society of Epirotes of Florida
  • Stavros Kamilaris, President, Lampousa Cypriot American Society
  • Despina Axiotakis, Vice President, FCAO / Executive Director, Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce
  • Steve Theophanous, President, Cypriot American Society of Greater Chicago
  • Stelio Tsinontides, Chairman, Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia
  • Stathis Zambas, President, SALAMIS Cyprus Association of New Jersey
  • Efstratios Papageorgiou, Friends of Cyprus of Atlanta

Main Photo Caption: (L-R) Philip Christopher, former Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Bob Menendez and Andy Manatos

Manatos & Manatos