ORANGE, CT – New Haven Chapter #98 of the Order of AHEPA and the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut (HBAC) sponsored and hosted a timely presentation by Nick Larigakis, President of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on October 23 at the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church Social and Educational Hall in Orange, CT.
Mr. Larigakis broadly discussed the United States’ geopolitical relations with Greece and Cyprus and the future of Hellenism in America.
Larigakis provided an overview of the mission and accomplishments of AHI since its founding by Gene Rossides in 1974 as a response to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and how it has since evolved into a well-respected, scholarly “think tank” on issues relevant to the United States’ geopolitical relations with Greece and Cyprus and as a proactive lobbyist to Congress on Hellenic causes. He provided a summary of the current relevant issues, including the ongoing Cyprus reunification talks, the United States’ military presence at Suda Bay on the island of Crete, the impact of the possible name change of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the status on relations with Turkey and Israel and the geopolitical tensions in the Aegean Sea.
His primary message was that all Hellenes and philhellenes need to remain aware of and engaged with these issues of importance to the U.S., Greece, and Cyprus. In order to properly set the relevancy of Greece in its international relations with the United States, Larigakis noted the long-term ramifications of Greek’s heroic resistance to the Axis powers in early World War II, symbolically celebrated by Oxi Day on October 28, and the great extent to which Greece and Cyprus have been long-standing allies of the United States, serving, in addition to Israel, as the only stabilizing forces in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The audience included many Ahepans and other Greek and Cypriot-Americans who asked Larigakis questions in a lively follow-up session.
The event organizers, Gregory J. Stamos, Past Supreme Counselor of AHEPA and President of the HBAC, and Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, Chapter #98 President, praised Larigakis for serving as a font of information on relevant Hellenic issues. Stamos, on behalf of the HBAC, and Hadjimichael, on behalf of AHEPA, presented Larigakis with donations to the American Hellenic Institute.