For Immediate release:
April 7, 2015
Philadelphia, PA – The National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) of North America, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hosted their semi-annual convention in Philadelphia, the historical city of Brotherly Love, March 20th- 22nd, 2015. The Founding Fathers congregated in Philadelphia to declare independence from England thus becoming the birthplace of freedom and democracy in the United States. The Convention’s theme was the “Spirit of Independence”. NHSA celebrated Greek Independence Day with the Philadelphia community by marching in this year’s Greek Independence Day Parade hosted by the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley. With the help of the Hellenic Student Association of Philadelphia (HSAP) and the Hellenic News of America, students from various universities in North America joined NHSA in this joyous occasion.
The Convention started with introductory remarks from the NHSA President, Konstantine Ouranitsas, as well as the Federation of Hellenic American Societies of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley, the Hellenic American National Council, and AHEPA. The Convention had three phenomenal workshops. The first was Dr. Robert Zaller, a distinguished Professor of History at Drexel University. Dr. Zaller spoke about Greece’s struggle for independence. In order to gain independence, Greece had to unite and come together as one country, not just as an idea. Dr. Zaller provided an interesting perspective on the French Revolution and American Revolution and how Greek ideals were the influence of these. Dr. Zaller was followed by Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis, MD, MSCE, PhD, who is the Thomas Frederick McNair Scott Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Zaoutis spoke on his grass roots initiative known as the Collaborative Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research (CLEO). The problem of healthcare- acquired infections (HAI) are currently major problems in Greece and exceed the magnitude seen in the USA and other European countries. In Greece, data suggests 1 in every 10 hospitalized patients develop an HAI, many of these with antibiotic resistant bacteria. This results in approximately 3,000 Greek citizens dying every year and an aggregate cost to the Greek healthcare system of €1.2 billion per year. Dr. Zaoutis, with the help of seed funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is working to improve the conditions in Greek hospitals to help prevent deaths and save Greece much needed money. This initiative is extremely important and one that NHSA will support in any capacity it can. The final speaker of the Convention was Ms. Kyriakoula Michas, the head of the Temple Modern Greek Language Program from 2005 until 2012. She now teaches Modern Greek at the Odyssey Greek Charter School, in Wilmington, Delaware. Ms. Michas discussed Greek culture and identity in her workshop. She spoke about the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire as it relates to the identity of Greeks. According to Ms. Michas, the world tries to define who Greeks are, but the Parthenon, for example, is simply part of mythology. Ancient Greek identity is scripted, but the Greek language and culture make Greeks who they are today. Ms. Michas ended with the contrapposto, which was invented by the Greeks and taught the world how to relax and be genuine.
Overall, the NHSA Spring 2015 Philadelphia Convention was another successful convention that brought students together to learn, network, and socialize. The combination of all three of these ideas is important to building bonds and for uniting the Hellenic community. Without the help of our partners, sponsors, supporters, and participants, this amazing weekend would have not been possible. NHSA is extremely grateful for all the support it has received! Our next convention will be held in the fall of 2015. Stay tuned for details. Thank you.