ATHENS – The Ahepans can’t wait. It’s been a long time since the largest and most well-known secular organization in the Hellenic diaspora held its Supreme Convention in Greece – the 86th Supreme Convention was there in 2008 – and the homeland is ready with open arms.
Greece’s political, commercial, philanthropic, and cultural leaders will join in the celebration of Hellenism and the Hellenic diaspora from July 25-31.
AHEPA’s Supreme President George Horiates summed up the excitement in a recent interview with The National Herald: “In this Greek Bicentennial year AHEPA … will celebrate the Greek Bicentennial unlike any organization on Earth … this summer's spectacular is the largest event worldwide in the celebration of the Greek Bicentennial! We are bringing Hellenes and philhellenes from across the Diaspora to join together for this unique spectacle … This summer, at long last, the AHEPA Family and the Hellenic Diaspora will celebrate – together.”
AHEPA’s Executive Director Basil Mossaidis has led the army preparing for the historic trip, which is not just a tribute to the glorious Hellenic past, but the most recent example of the assistance the Order has delivered to the homeland. He told TNH, “when Greece needs a boost in tourism, AHEPA is there! We are going to Greece to lead the way and show the world that Greece is open for business and AHEPA will be there!”
Most Ahepans will be staying and most of the events will be held at the renowned Grand Bretagne – and the affiliated King George hotel next door – in the heart of Athens, directly across from the Greek Parliament.
The conclave begins solemnly on Sunday, July 25 with an official wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Syntagma Square. Business meetings will commence immediately, and the first day closes with the AHEPA Family Opening Welcome event in the King George Lobby that will be attended by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II and the General Secretary for Diaspora Greeks, Dr. John Chrysoulakis.
The work of the all-important committees picks up steam on Tuesday, including a very timely gathering of the AHEPA Cyprus Hellenic Affairs Committee. It is also noted that AHEPA business meetings are interspersed with educational presentations featuring topics such as The Future of Energy for Greece, and Greek Mainstream Perceptions of Greek-American Expats: The case of AHEPA.
At 7:00 PM one of the Convention’s signature events takes place: AHEPA 99th Anniversary Event at the Greek War Museum attended by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff General Konstantinos Floros.
A second full day of meetings and special events follows on Tuesday, July 27, including the AHEPA Family Awards Luncheon at the Grande Bretagne Ballroom which will be attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantinos Vlasis and Presidential Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus Photis Photiou. At 7:00 PM the AHEPA Event at the Presidential Palace (invitation only) will honor the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou and at 8:00 PM the ever-popular AHEPA Greek Night will take place at the spectacular Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, honoring Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias of Greece and the President of the Hellenic Parliament Konstantinos Tasoulas.
Wednesday’s highlights include the AHEPA Family Athletic Luncheon honoring Minister of Culture & Sports Lina Mendoni and the premier Convention event, the AHEPA Family Grand Banquet, at the Divani Caravel hotel, where Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece and President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will be honored.
On Thursday, July 29 the AHEPA Presidents Reception at the King George Hotel’s Tudor Hall will honor the U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and the Greek Ambassador to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou.
Friday, July 30 is the day of the AHEPA Family Officers Installations, and the Convention will draw to a close in magnificent fashion: the AHEPA Family Event @ Acropolis Museum honoring Kostas Bakoyiannis, the Mayor of Athens, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the President of the Greece 2021 Bicentennial organization, Adonis Georgiadis, the Minister of Development, and Harry Theoharis, Minister of Tourism.