Elite Meet To Benefit Cyprus Needy Children

FLUSHING, N.Y. – For the foreseeable future, some of the most worthwhile community events will be those that benefit the people of Greece and Cyprus during their time of troubles. On Sept. 25 the Cyprus Federation of America hosted its 2013 Testimonial Dinner which was billed as A Philanthropic Event to Benefit The Needy Children of Cyprus. The gathering at Terrace on the Park in Flushing was also an opportunity to honor George A. David and Michael and Mary Jaharis for Their Love for Cyprus and Their Dedication to Hellenism and Orthodoxy. The highlight of the evening came during Michael Jaharis’ acceptance speech when he praised the “leadership and tireless efforts of Cyprus’ Consul General in New York Koula Sophianou, especially citing her work in behalf of children in need, and pledged an additional $200,000 for the children of Cyprus. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades also attended and served as the Honorary Chairperson, as did His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Greek Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos was a guest.

FLUSHING, N.Y. – For the foreseeable future, some of the most worthwhile community events will be those that benefit the people of Greece and Cyprus during their time of troubles.
On Sept. 25 the Cyprus Federation of America hosted its 2013 Testimonial Dinner which was billed as A Philanthropic Event to Benefit The Needy Children of Cyprus.
The gathering at Terrace on the Park in Flushing was also an opportunity to honor George A. David and Michael and Mary Jaharis for Their Love for Cyprus and Their Dedication to Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
The highlight of the evening came during Michael Jaharis’ acceptance speech when he praised the “leadership and tireless efforts of Cyprus’ Consul General in New York Koula Sophianou, especially citing her work in behalf of children in need, and pledged an additional $200,000 for the children of Cyprus.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades also attended and served as the Honorary Chairperson, as did His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Greek Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos was a guest.
Peter Papanicolaou, the former president of the Federation was the event chairman and MC and Archbishop Demetrios offered the invocation and benediction.
Venizelos congratulated the honorees and thanked the guests “for your support during this difficult period for our country. He reassured them that maintaining Greece’s security and foreign policy and support for Cyprus remain priorities.
Archbishop Demetrios spoke warmly of the honorees but emphasized Mary Jaharis’ devotion to children’s causes and Anastasiades expressed his “profound appreciation and congratulations” to the event’s organizers and offered thanks to “all of our Greek brothers and sisters.”
Anastasiades lauded the honorees, as “three philanthropists who are example to all of us,” and thanked the Archbishop for his leadership in establishing the Relief Fund for the People of Cyprus.
He emphasized the efforts of his government to assist his country’s most vulnerable people, and the importance of philanthropic contributions from abroad. Jaharis declared, “I am truly honored and humbled but I would like to dedicate this award to the people of Cyprus.”
The honorees received a silver replica of the famous Kyrenia Ship, an ancient ship recovered off the coast of Kyrenia that is a symbol of hopes for its liberation, and a silver and gold icon of the Theotokos.
David thanked and congratulated the CFA for all its work, and for “fostering links between the people of Cyprus and the United States. He expressed optimism regarding Cypriot recovery, adding, “I have no doubts about the need for reform, but this is a time to be proud also.”
Christopher, who was born in Turkish-occupied Kyrenia, gave a passionate and moving speech. After pleading for unity, saying “we have only one party – Cyprus,” he noted that “We here in America were taught to believe in human rights and democracy … we are not working as a Greek lobby”.
And when fighting for Cyprus in Washington, he said that, “We are working for American interests.” He said that as a result of recent developments “I see light at the end of the tunnel,” and led the chorus of speakers who have fought and will continue to fight for a just and viable Cyprus solution.
The new President of the CFA, Costas Tsentas, praised Papanicolaou, his predecessor, as the heart and soul of the organization, and wished him well on his impending move back to Cyprus – and many happy returns to the USA.
New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, also speaking for State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Nicole Malliotakis and Cypriot City Council candidate Costas Constantinides, highlighted the progress made by the community in the political realm, and thanked the community’s leaders and organizers for their support: “Without so many of you in this room we (elected officials) would not be here.”
The president was accompanied by his wife Andri, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Cypriot ambassadors Nicholas Emiliou and George Chacalli, who are posted at the UN and in Washington respectively, and Consul General Koula Sophianou. Also present were Greece’s UN Ambassador, Michael Spinelis, its Ambassador to the U.S. Christos Panagopoulos, Consul General George Iliopoulos and his wife Anthousa, and Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, who is Cypriot.
The guests also included Father Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and John and Margo Catsimatidis.
Christopher also acknowledged the decades of work in Washington D.C. by Eugene Rossides and Nick Larigakis at AHI, Mike and Andrew Manatos with the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, the Order of AHEPA, and the new Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) whose Executive director, Cypriot Endy Zemenides, traveled from Chicago to attend.
TNH spoke with a number of enthusiastic guests during the cocktail reception on the outdoor terrace, with its spectacular view of the Queens environs and a glittering Manhattan in the distance. Anthony Kouzounis, the new Supreme President of AHEPA, pledged, “AHEPA will do everything it can to help the people of Cyprus.”
Andy Manatos, the President of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes called it “an extraordinary event for a number of reasons … they are honoring people who are behind the scenes … but don’t get the recognition for it, and because it highlights the high quality of the members of the new Cyprus government at this crucial moment when there is a possibility for a Cyprus settlement.”
Taso Zambas said it is an honor for the CFA to have the opportunity to honor Michael Jaharis. “He has turned down many organizations that wanted to honor him … he has no relationship with Cyprus, but his heart is so big that he made very generous contributions to organizations in Cyprus that are in need,” he said, and added he was pleased to also honor David, a fellow Cypriot.
Zambas also pointed out the importance of the presence of representative of the Jewish American community such as the Executive Director of the AJC, David Harris and Allan Reich, and said the community’s efforts will greatly benefit from having allies like the AJC.
David is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company. He has distinguished himself both in business and philanthropy. In 2009, David was appointed member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to UK-Greek relations in the field of education.
According to his 2013 Forbes 400 profile, Jaharis began his career in 1972 as pharmaceutical investor, He and Mary Jaharis have made substantial contributions to major scientific and educational institutions. “In June, the Jaharis Family Foundation announced a pledge of $2 million that will specifically target hunger and poverty relief efforts to help children and families in Greece,” according to Forbes.