ATHENS – Nearly 300 guests joined the Washington D.C. – based American Hellenic Institute in celebration of Hellenic heritage and public service, at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, May 27.
Vice President of Capital Link Greece and Master of Ceremonies Olga Bornozi opened the dinner event, which honored the achievements of CEO of Mexico City-based Quimica Apollo, Constantine Galanis, and the American Community Schools (ACS) Athens.
The recipient of this year’s AHI Hellenic Achievement Award, Galanis emigrated to the U.S. from Patras, Greece, at the age of 14. Recruited as a junior consultant by petrochemical manufacturer Apollo Technologies, Galanis played a key role in helping the business establish a position in Mexico, and eventually earned his seat as the company’s top executive. Recognized for his achievements, Galanis is often ranked among Mexico’s top CEOs according to various publications.
“Galanis realized the American dream by virtue of running that company, and though he has achieved high success, he has not forgotten his Hellenism and roots, and is a tremendous philhellene on numerous fronts and endeavors,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis.
The recipient of the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award this year was ACS Athens, a non-profit K-12th grade academic institution established through a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Greece in 1946. Recognized by various institutions for its selection process and increasing enrollment, ACS Athens promotes American educational philosophy and values in Greece.
“The American Community School is doing a tremendous job in its own way helping to strengthen the U.S.-Greece relationship,” Larigakis noted.
Present at the event was U.S. Ambassador David Pearce, who greeted guests in Greek and went on to speak about AHI’s contributions.
“I don’t remember an event where the Ambassador was absent, and I think that’s a testament to the relationship AHI has with the American embassy here,” said AHI Athens Chapter Director of Development Panagiotis Madamopoulos-Moraris. “We take it as a credit on behalf of the State Department that the Ambassador is always supporting the mission of AHI,” he added.
Now in its 11th year, the AHI Athens Dinner has previously honored the likes of Angeliki Frangou, Marianna Vardinogiannis, and Captain Panagiotis N. Tsakos, among others, for their various contributions to public service.
“The event now has certainly increased in numbers and visibility over the years,” Larigakis said, adding, “It was a complete success from the point of view of the turnout.”
Regarding the current economic situation scarring Greece, Larigakis stated he is optimistic. “We are very positive that ultimately a solution will be reached regarding this latest deadline that’s looming, and that the country will eventually be able to get on its feet again,” he said.
“I cannot believe that with all the issues Greece has faced in such a turbulent history – 400 years under Turkish rule, World War II, the Junta – all these issues have never been able to bring Greece to its knees, so I can’t believe an economic crisis can do this. Greece will continue to advance its goals. Failure is not an option,” he stated.
The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) is a non-profit, tax-exempt, independent public policy trade association founded in 1974. Among many activities led by the institute over the years, AHI has organized over 50 conferences on legislative policy regarding Greece and Cyprus, supports an educational trip to Cyprus, and hosts annual Public Service Award dinners in the U.S. and Athens.
For more information on the American Hellenic Institute, visit ahiworld.org.