NEW YORK – The Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO), the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), and the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a special Zoom event to bid farewell to outgoing Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet on April 14.
With moving words, praises for his service to the community, and best wishes for the future, the event highlighted Phedonos-Vadet’s achievements during his tenure in these difficult times.
FCAO President Kyriacos Papastylianou gave the welcoming remarks and served as moderator for the event, introducing the dignitaries and community leaders who took time out from their busy schedules to wish all the best to the outgoing Consul General. Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Maria Pappas expressed the sincere appreciation and gratitude for Phedonos-Vadet’s dedication and support to the community. She wished him every success personally and professionally and congratulated him and his wife Melina for the impending birth of their first child, due in July.
PSEKA President Philip Christopher noted that Phedonos-Vadet is a dedicated and committed diplomat and it was unfortunate that the past 15 months were under restrictions due to the pandemic. On behalf of all the Cypriot organizations and the community, Christopher thanked the Consul General for his service, adding that every Consul General of Cyprus later became an Ambassador. “We expect to see you soon in a new diplomatic position in the world,” he said, noting that “this is not goodbye, but see you soon,” referring to the upcoming conferences in the summer, AHEPA in Athens and the World Conference of Diaspora Cypriots in Cyprus, and PSEKA’s Washington, DC event which will be virtual on June 18.
Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lyssiotis said that it was “with mixed feelings that we meet virtually to say goodbye to Alexi,” his close collaborator during difficult conditions, the last 15 months, but he is reuniting with his family, his expanding family, back in Cyprus. He noted that he admired Phedonos-Vadet’s dedication as he would meet in his home with people to help them with their paperwork, and he raised the level for all consuls general. Lyssiotis, on behalf of himself and his wife, Eleni, wished Phedonos-Vadet all the best.
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the UN Andreas Hadjichrysanthou, who arrived just two months ago, noted that he had met the outgoing Consul General’s father, also a diplomat, years ago and he instilled the love of Cyprus in his son and would be proud of him today.
Antonis Papakostas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN, on behalf of Ambassador Maria Theofili, shared congratulations on a job well done in New York and wished him all the best and in his new role in Cyprus. “Great leaders make a difference and you made a difference here and you will make a difference in your new position,” Papakostas said.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras said it is always difficult in these moments, especially virtually, noting his friendship with his Cypriot counterpart who said to him early on in his tenure, concerning the many events they attend, “wherever you can’t go, I will represent you, and wherever I can’t go, you will represent me,” highlighting the close relationship between the diplomats of Greece and Cyprus.
Koutras concluded with best wishes for Phedonos-Vadet, his wife, and their baby.
AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates also shared his best wishes and looked forward to seeing Phedonos-Vadet in the summer at the AHEPA convention and in Cyprus.
Mona Abramson of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) thanked Phedonos-Vadet for bringing our diasporas together, noting the wonderful collaboration which she looks forward to continuing. Abramson added that it’s a tradition to keep in touch and this was not good bye, but translated the phrase from Hebrew, “we will see you.”
Among those sharing their best wishes were Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia President Georghia Kurnellas and past president Stelios Tsinontides, Executive Director of the Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce Despina Axiotakis, FCAO Board members Martinos Kyprianou and Nicos Paphitis, Cyprus Young Professional President Chris Odysseos, Effie Antoniou, and Tasoula Manaridis.
New York State Assembly Member Mike Tannousis noted that Phedonos-Vadet served honorably in his post and has “a friend in me and in everyone in New York.”
Pancyprian Cultural Division President Ismini Michaels wished Phedonos-Vadet bon voyage and the best of luck, recalling that one of the first events he attended as Consul General was a performance led by Pancyprian Choir director Phyto Stratis at Terrace on the Park. She concluded “see you soon in Cyprus.”
Phedonos-Vadet then thanked everyone for their kind words, noting that the feeling is mutual, and that he was lucky to have worked alongside Consul General Koutras and Ambassador Lyssiotis, and welcomed Ambassador Hadjichrysanthou. He also thanked the organizers of the event and recalled the warmth of the community when he and his wife first arrived. Of the many events, pre-pandemic, sometimes an event every day of the week, he noted that “it was always an honor and pleasure to be with the community.”
He had hoped to continue the meetings and networking with other communities, including the Serbians, Armenians, and the AJC, but the pandemic hit, and hopefully post-pandemic, the meetings will continue. Phedonos-Vadet also noted that he served during the best bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cyprus since its independence in 1960. He pointed out that the community is a bridge between Cyprus and the U.S. and provides so much to our countries. “You are the most important diaspora because you are also citizens of the most powerful country in the world… and through cooperation with the AJC, the Armenians and others, you can make a difference,” he said.