AHIF College Student Foreign Policy Trip to Greece and Cyprus Underway

July 2, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) College Student Foreign Policy Trip to Greece and Cyprus began its tenth year as students from across the United States gathered for briefings in Washington, DC on June 19, prior to departing for Cyprus. The two-week program concludes on July 6 when the students return from Athens.

“The AHI Foundation proudly continues to offer this invaluable opportunity to our youth,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “The 2018 program—our milestone tenth year of the program—promises to be fruitful for our students as they are eager to learn about the foreign policy issues that are important to the Greek American community and United States interests in the eastern Mediterranean. They will be immersed from the get-go, starting with briefings in Washington to high-level meetings with government officials abroad.”

Program’s Tenth Year Celebrated

On June 19, the students assembled at AHI’s Hellenic House for a reception celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the AHIF Foreign Policy College program. Twenty alumni of the program were in attendance as well as AHI Board members, Nicholas Karambelas, Esq., AHI volunteer legal counsel and partner, Sfikas & Karambelas LLP, and Dr. Athina Balta. Also in attendance were some of the many individuals that helped to make the student trip possible including: Alexios Mitsopoulos, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Greece; Konstantinos Polykarpou, Consul, Embassy of Cyprus; Emanuel L. Rouvelas, partner, K&L Gates; Brian Kelleher, General Manager, Capital Hilton; and Konstantinos Georgiadis, General Manager, Amphitrion Holidays.

The following day the students received a briefing by Karambelas and met Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Harris Lalacos for a briefing at the Embassy of Greece and Cypriot Charge d’affairs to the U.S. Andreas Nikolaides for a briefing at the Embassy of Cyprus. In the afternoon, they received a briefing by John Sitilides, Eastern Mediterranean geostrategic expert.

On June 21, they had briefings from legislators and diplomats. In the morning, the students met with Diviya Sharma, Cyprus desk officer and Angela Gemza, Public Diplomacy desk officer for a briefing at the State Department. In the afternoon, they received briefings by Ambassador Patrick Theros, former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and a National Herald contributor, and Paul Glastris, editor of Washington Monthly. Next, they visited the U.S. Capitol for a tour and learned about the latest developments on Capitol Hill pertaining to Greek American issues. They were briefed by staffs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, Shayne Woods, legislative assistant, office of Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Christina Parisi, legislative director, office of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). In the evening, they also received a private tour of the West Wing of the White House.

Itinerary Features Meetings with Presidents, Tour of Defense Facilities

During the two-week program in Greece and Cyprus, the students will receive firsthand experience about the foreign policy issues affecting Greece and Cyprus, their relations with the U.S., and the interests of the U.S. in the region. There will be meetings or briefings with American embassies, the heads of state for Greece and Cyprus, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and President Nicos Anastasiades, respectively; officials from various ministries, including Foreign Affairs; parliament members, religious leaders, think-tank organizations, and members of academia and the private sector of both countries. In Cyprus, the group will visit the Turkish-occupied area and receive a defense briefing. In Greece, the students will also take a day-trip to visit Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay, Crete, where they will tour multiple defense installations, including NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI), and they will also be briefed.



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