BOSTON. The Greek-American organization Alpha Omega Council of Boston honored Andrew Manatos with the Lifetime Achievement Award at its 33rd Annual Lifetime Achievement Award Banquet which was held on Saturday June 4th at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston. The banquet was attended by 300 people, members and friends of the Alpha Omega Council, which is comprised of Greek-American businessmen, scientists, as well as professionals in other fields.
The award was handed to Manatos by Alpha Omega Council President John Anton. Andrew Manatos is a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce of the Jimmy Carter administration, has been the owner of a government relations and public policy company in Washington D.C. for over thirty years and has provided crucial aid to Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Former Governor of Massachusetts and 1988 Democratic nominee for President Michael Dukakis spoke highly of the honoree and listed his contributions to the expatriate community in both Greece and Cyprus.
He pointed out that he has a longstanding cooperation with Manatos and added that he was “sorry that I didn’t succeed in welcoming you to the White House.”
With regard to the scholarships the Alpha Omega Council awards to journalism students, Dukakis sang the praises of journalists and stressed that “your role is especially significant today.”
The prayer was said by the Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston, Rev. Fr. Theodore Barbas, who announced that Metropolitan Methodios of Boston was absent due to a wedding in Rhode Island.
Consul General Ifigenia Kanara thanked the Alpha Omega Council for their excellent cooperation during the three years she has been in Boston and referred to the systematic efforts which are made to promote Hellenism and philhellenism in the New England area. In addition, she congratulated Manatos for the services he has provided over time which aim at promoting and advocating for the positions of Greece and Cyprus in Washington D.C.
In his speech, the honoree Manatos spoke about the achievements of the Greek-American community, analyzing how it has reached the highest financial and educational ranks of the United States. He pointed out the infinite strengths and capabilities of Hellenism and highlighted the size and the timeless values and principles of Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
He referred to the Greeks’ demonstration of solidarity for the salvation of the Jews living in Greece from the Nazi fury of extermination, with particular reference to the work and positions of the late Archbishop of Greece Damaskinos and Metropolitan of Zakynthos Chrysostomos, who saved the lives of thousands of Jews by adding them to the church files under Christian names.
Congratulatory letters from former Prime Minister of Greece Konstantinos Mitsotakis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew were read.
A video of Manatos’ life course and achievements was shown, which included a total of 90 kind messages of love, respect and appreciation from former American presidents, senators, government Ministers, leaders of the Greek-American community, Geron Archbishop of America Demetrios, Publisher-Editor of the National Herald Antonis H. Diamataris, Protopresbyter Alexander Karloutsos, and businessmen John Catsimatidis and George Marcus.
The scene by his grandchildren, his son Mike’s children, who ran and hugged Manatos as soon as he received the award saying “Congratulations grandpa” was especially moving.
In his message, his son Mike Manatos said that everything the individuals said in the video is correct, but what characterizes his father, Andrew Manatos, is “love. His love for his family, his Faith, his legacy, for others and the country.”
In his statements to the National Herald, the honoree said “I feel touched, the Alpha Omega Council is an organization which I have been observing for many years, has done amazing things for our Community both on a national level and in Boston. He sets the example, and if there were similar organizations in other areas, our Community would be at an even higher level.”
When asked about Washington D.C.’s opinion on the Greek-American Community, he said that “they have a great amount of respect and appreciation for it.” He pointed out that “we are doing very well as a Greek-American community. Only two nationalities have met with every president of the United States over the past thirty years, one is the Irish nationality which represents one in seven Americans, and our Greek nationality which represents one in 250 Americans.”
To the question on where Greece is headed, he answered that “this is a very difficult question, it is such a difficult case, I visit Greece often and personally I believe that there is new awareness among the people about what needs to be done in order for the country to take off.”
George Behrakis stressed that “we need people like Manatos in Washington to be our representatives to the government. We are exceptional people, with a high intellect but we don’t know how to work together as a team,” and he pointed out that “Manatos has contributed greatly to Hellenism and Orthdoxy.”
For his part, Michael Dukakis stated to TNH that “Andrew has done excellent work for the Greek community, he is our leader in Washington D.C.. Every time we have a problem with the Federal government, he is present. We have had years of cooperation, he is an exceptional man and I am very glad we are honoring him tonight.”