NAFPAKTOS – United States Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis and AHEPA Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas were honored at the opening event of the 24th AHEPA Hellas National Conference in Nafpaktos on June 9.
The event was organized by the Nafpaktos AHEPA Chapter Lepanto 1571 at the Botsaris Museum.
The Ambassador was addressed by Supreme President Kokotas with a “welcome home” since Ambassador Tsunis’ roots are in Nafpaktos. After thanking all those present for attending, Kokotas spoke about AHEPA and the fact that relations between Greece and the USA were never better. He noted to the ambassador part of this success because “everyone respects him and he is not afraid to tell the truth,” mentioning that his support and that he has been working for Greece for 30 years, as his homeland is Greece, in his heart, and his roots are here. Kokotas concluded by saying: “The language, religion and customs need to be passed down from generation to generation
generation, George has been doing this for years and we love him.”
For his part, the U.S. ambassador said that in Greece, he feels at home, as his parents taught him not to forget his roots. Ambassador Tunis spoke about relations from the post-World War II era when the U.S. helped Greece “get back on its feet,” to the present day. He said: “It is a great honor to be an ambassador here. It is a difficult neighborhood and when America needs to work respectfully to solve problems, it comes to Greece… because Greece acts with principles and is a stabilizing factor in the region. America stands with Greece.”
The guests were welcomed by AHEPA Nafpaktos Chapter President of the AHEPA Angelos Stavropoulos and president of the conference organizating committee Professor Nikos Avlonas. Greetings were also shared by His Eminence Metropolitan Ierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios, Regional Governor of Western Greece Nektarios Farmakis, Nafpaktos Mayor Vasilios Gizas of Nafpaktia, AHEPA Europe Governor Yiannis Mitropoulos, and AHEPA Greece Governor Kostas Varsamis.
Among those present were MP Thanasis Papathanasis, the mayors of other cities in the region, Kostas Lyros of the Holy City of Messolonghi, Giorgos Papanastasiou of Agrinio,
Spyros Konstandaras of Thermo, and Giannis Triantafyllakis of Xiromeros, as well other statesmen.
A speech by University of Piraeus Professor Sotiris Theodoropoulos followed with the topic ‘Utilizing the Potential of Greek Nationality in Today’s Greece.’
The event included a short artistic program from the Mixed Choir of Nafpaktos, which beautifully performed works by Mikis Theodorakis.
The evening was dedicated to the Greeks living abroad who have excelled and continue to excel abroad and in the help they give many times over to the Motherland. After all, Nafpaktos itself has a multitude of such benefactors to show for it, including the well-known Demetrios Papacharalambous.
The event ended with the presentation of an award to the American Ambassador from AHEPA (Washington, DC) for his “continued support of Hellenism and Orthodoxy.”
On June 10, the 24th Conference of AHEPA Hellas proceedings were held in the Papacharalambeio Hall in Nafpaktos.