A message from
Supreme Lodge Headquarters

Tuesday May 19, 2015

Contact: AHEPA Headquarters
Phone: 202 - 232 - 6300

AHEPA Family Leadership Concludes Successful Overseas Mission


Delegation Meets with Greek PM Tsipras, Cypriot President Anastasiades,

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during Excursion





WASHINGTON, DC - The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation's millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, and its affiliated organizations, the Daughters of Penelope and Maids of Athena, concluded the 87th annual overseas excursion to Greece, Cyprus, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, May 6 to 16, 2015.   Supreme President Phillip T. Frangos, Daughters of Penelope Grand President Anna-Helene Grossomanides, and Maids of Athena Grand President Deanna Socaris led the delegation.   


Visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, $10K Donated


     AHEPA donated $10,000 for the Ecumenical Patriarchate during an audience with His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, May 7.  


     "We are deeply grateful to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the generous amount of time he afforded to our delegation," Supreme President Phillip T. Frangos said. "AHEPA remains steadfast in its support for religious freedom and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all religious minorities in Turkey. We will not cease our efforts until these fundamental rights are in place and the Ecumenical Patriarchate is allowed to flourish."


Hellas District 25 Donates to St. Nicholas Campaign 


     The delegation participated at Hellas District 25's Convention in Komotini, May 8 and 9.  There, District 25 Governor George Plokamakis presented Supreme President Frangos with a $2,600 donation toward the AHEPA campaign to help rebuild Saint Nicholas National Shrine at World Trade Center.  The district intends to fulfill the balance of its $5,000 pledge at the Supreme Convention in July.


     In addition, the delegation visited the AHEPA Hospital in Thessalonki to meet with hospital administration officials on May 10.  Later in the day, the group met with Chapter HJ-3, Thessaloniki.


Apostolos Andreas Monastery, Meeting with President Highlight Cyprus Visit


     In Cyprus, meetings were held May 11 with: U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus John Koenig, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus Ioannis Kasoulides.  


     "We appreciated the opportunity to meet with all of these high-ranking officials in Cyprus to discuss important matters pertaining to developments in the eastern Mediterranean as well as relations between the United States and Cyprus," Frangos said. "We welcome the resumption of settlement talks and hope for progress toward a just and viable solution to be achieved by Cypriots for the benefit of all Cypriots"


     In addition, the delegation visited Apostolos Andreas, which is located in the Karpasia Peninsula, on May 12.  The AHEPA family leaders met with representatives from the UN Development Programme Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage who are working on the restoration project.


     "We were quite pleased with the progress that has been made to restore the historic Apostolos Andreas monastery," Supreme President Frangos said.  "The monastery's disrepair has been a concern that we have raised every year on our mission to Cyprus.  The bi-communal effort, under the lead of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and implemented by the Programme's Partnership for the Future, is to be lauded.  They are doing very important work in Cyprus, and AHEPA will continue to lend its support to this worthy restoration project."


     The supreme president added his gratitude to the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, especially Elizabeth Kassinis, senior program advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), for their assistance to help facilitate the visit to Apostolos Andreas. USAID is one of the financial contributors to the project.  AHEPA first visited Apostolos Andreas on a historic goodwill mission in May 2001.


     Also on May 12, the delegation met with Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus Harris Georgiades.




AHEPA Family Leadership Concludes Successful Overseas Mission


     The Leadership Mission concluded in Athens, May 13 to 16, and included meetings with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of Hellenic Parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou, Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Kotzias, and Alternate Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura. In addition, the group met with Webster University President Dr. Vasilis Botopoulos and separately with Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis, senior advisor to the Board of Directors and member of the Executive Management Team of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; to discuss AHEPA's Journey to Greece Program, May 14.  The next day, the delegation met with Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Suzanne Lawrence from the U.S. Embassy in Athens.  At the embassy, the delegation took a moment to visit the George C. Marshall Statue, which was donated by AHEPA through the AHEPA Centennial Foundation, in October 2000.


     "We have been extremely well-received in Athens," Supreme President Frangos said.  "Our meetings were productive and informative, touching on a range of important issues.  We look forward to continuing our work together to further enhance and strengthen relations between the United States and Greece."


     He added, "We discussed the multitude of programs we have either launched, or helped to support in cooperation with other charitable organizations, to address Greece's humanitarian crisis.  We also provided officials with updates on where we stand with our study abroad educational programs. We look forward to continuing to our work to help the people of Greece and to strengthen the bridge of cooperation between the United States and Greece."


     The leg in Athens began the evening of May 13 when the group attended a lecture on Constantino Brumidi (the "Artist of the U.S. Capitol") held at the old parliament building - National Historical Museum.  In 2007-08, AHEPA, working in cooperation with the Italian American community, helped to pass legislation that awarded Brumidi, who had a Greek father and Italian mother, the Congressional Gold Medal.


Supreme President Commends Delegation


     In addition to Supreme President Frangos, who was joined by his wife, Tula, Grand President Grossomanides, and MOA Grand President Socaris, the following AHEPA family leaders participated on the Leadership Mission: Chairman of the Board Nicholas A. Karacostas, PSP; Supreme Vice President John Galanis, Supreme Governors Phil Vogis, Frank Fotis, and Nick Papadopoulos; Past Canadian President Anthony Mavromaras, District 13 Secretary Themistocles Frangos, Executive Director Basil Mossaidis and DOP Executive Director Elena Saviolakis.


     "I commend the members of the delegation for taking the volunteer time out of their professional and personal schedules to participate on this important excursion," Supreme President Frangos said. "I appreciated their support, and their participation helped to make this excursion a tremendous success."


      Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, to protect individuals from the evils of bigotry and discrimination, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, Greece and Cyprus.  The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education,Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.   


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