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United States

AGAPW Presented Bessie Karras-Lazaris on Preserving Our Ethnic Identity

November 8, 2023

NEW YORK – The Association of Greek-American Professional Women (AGAPW) hosted a fascinating presentation by Greek Heritage Society (GHS) of Southern California President Bessie Karras-Lazaris on the topic: ‘Preserving Our Ethnic Identity: Is It Gaining Popularity?’ on November 6 via Zoom.

Karras-Lazaris, an international educator, is committed to preserving our rich Greek heritage, traditions, and culture and passing on our legacy to the future generations.

She discussed her personal and professional background and international experience, which motivated her to join GHS and commit to its goals. GHS was founded in 1985 and has promoted many projects through the years, most notably, the award-winning documentary film trilogy about the Greek-American experience- The Greeks of Southern California through the Century: The Pioneers 1900-1942, The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960, and The New Greek Americans 1960-2018, all three narrated by Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. Presently, GHS is in the process of archiving over 500 interviews from their Oral History Program- the Floga Project in a digital library for research, educational, and community awareness purposes.

Karras-Lazaris connected her own professional experience in international education and leadership to the struggles of individuals in a new land: what they gain, how those experiences enrich both them and their communities here and in the home country. She also spoke about how second, third, or even later generations of Greek-Americans view their heritage: how the perception of their identity has changed across generations, and future expectations about preserving the Greek language, culture, and heritage.

AGAPW Founder and President Olga Alexakos gave the welcoming remarks thanking everyone for participating and for continuing to support the organization’s efforts. She also noted that the discussion was being recorded and would be available online.

Dr. Natassa Romanou served as moderator for the event which included a lively discussion with many asking thoughtful and thought-provoking questions and also sharing their own personal stories of how they have preserved ethnic identity in their own families through the years.

Among those participating in the discussion were Yale University Professor Maria Kaliambou, Penny Tsilas, Olga Kazianis, Nicoletta Richardson, Irini Neofotistos, and Ted Klingos.

Participants all looked forward to the next AGAPW event and Alexakos encouraged everyone to become more involved in the organization and to offer suggestions for topics and speakers for upcoming discussions and presentations. She also thanked The National Herald for covering AGAPW events from the beginning.

More information about GHS, their award-winning documentary trilogy, and all their projects is available online: https://www.greekheritagesociety.org/.

AGAPW is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, charitable and educational organization founded in 2010 under Section 402 of the Non-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York. It is seeking to expand career opportunities and promote community and leadership building among Greek-American professional women by forging collaborations among ourselves and establishing partnerships with other organizations inside and outside the Greek-American community.

Please support AGAPW programs by making a tax exempt contribution online: www.agapw.org/site/sponsors.

For additional information, visit: www.agapw.org.

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