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Politics

AHI Hosts Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted its annual Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day on March 20 to celebrate the 203rd anniversary of Greek Independence. AHI held the event in cooperation with the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues’ co-chairs, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH).

The celebration featured remarks from the Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Ekaterini Nassika, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Evangelos Savva, and Members of Congress including Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).

Written remarks were also provided by Congressman Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

The event highlighted the democratic ideals shared between the American Revolution and the Greek Revolution, the increasingly strong relationship between the U.S. and Greece, and the importance of the Greek-American community. Over 100 guests, including members of the Greek-American community, congressional staff, and other government and non-profit organizations, were in attendance.

AHI President Nick Larigakis served as the event’s moderator. He thanked the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and the ambassadors for their support of the event.

Ambassador Nassika said: “Thank you to the American Hellenic Institute for organizing this annual celebration of Greek Independence for over 15 years. I especially thank the Congressional Hellenic Caucus and its Co-Chairs, Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Chris Pappas for their part in this celebration and for their valuable support in promoting the just causes of Greece and of the Greek-American community, of which we are very proud.”

She continued: “Greece is a member of the European Union and NATO. Our democratic institutions are strong. We have overcome the financial crisis. The Economist magazine has selected Greece as the Country of Year for 2023. Today, we celebrate the 1821 Revolution, true to its spirit and ideals, true to our partners and allies in the United States, in Europe and around the world.”

Ambassador Savva said: “The Greek revolution reminded everybody that people wanted freedom, and people will fight for freedom, and people will die in the quest for freedom, and that’s the spirit of the Greek Revolution. Cypriots themselves fought in the war of Greek independence in mainland Greece until the dream of an independent Greek state came to fruition.”

Rep. Pappas said: “There could not be a more crucial time to stand with allies like Greece, and stand strong against the authoritarian regimes and those who are enemies of freedom and democracy. The relations between Greece and the United States have never been more vital — and never as strong— as they are today.”

Rep. Bilirakis noted “how proud I am to work with John Sarbanes and Chris Pappas and Dina Titus and this guy here [Nick Larigakis], you know the relations have never been better. We will make sure that Greece and Cyprus are protected. We are still working on the issue of Cyprus – we will not rest until the residents of Cyprus, the true residents of Cyprus, have the opportunity to go back to their land in the occupied area. Zito Ellada! Zito Amerikí! Zito Kýpros!”

Rep. Sarbanes said: “When it comes to justice for Cyprus, they will never let us forget why that has to be a priority, and they very skillfully communicated that to Members of Congress over a long period of time. Nick, thanks to you and your team for everything you’ve done. I appreciate it very much.”

Rep. Titus said: “As a member of the Hellenic Caucus and proud Greek-American, happy Greek Independence Day. The U.S. and Greece have been beacons of democratic values around the world and I look forward to the continued growth of our partnership.”

Rep. Meng noted that: “Today, we celebrate the Greek people’s fight for independence and the powerful bond between Greece and the United States… The United States and Greece have shared a long and storied relationship, and I am pleased to have seen it only grow stronger in recent years.”

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