NEW YORK – The Association of Greek-American Professional Women (AGAPW) and ALLILONnet held their annual Christmas party on December 19 at Coco-Mat in Soho. The evening included traditional Greek carols, Greek cuisine and wine, melomakarona and kourabiedes.
The founder of AGAPW and ALLILONnet local representative Olga Alexakos spoke to The National Herald at the event. “This is a traditional celebration, for us who are away from home this time of year. It's a great opportunity to celebrate Christmas, relax, and get to know each other,” she said.
“We choose Coco-Mat because it is a wonderful, welcoming place, you feel that you are in a large living room at home. And the cost is low since we are non-profit organizations. We strongly believe in private sector co-operation with non-profit organizations. This is something very widespread in New York and we want to promote it to Greek businesses as well.”
The buffet is full of Greek dishes. Dolamadakia (stuffed grape leaves), souvlaki, cheese pies, feta and tzatziki, all purchased at a discount from Greek businesses in Astoria.
Nektarios Antoniou, Principal Cantor at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan and incoming Executive Director of the Axion Estin Foundation, and Nikos Paterakis, musician and composer, added the musical element to the evening with Greek Christmas carols from various regions of Greece, including Thrace, Epirus, Crete, Ikaria, and the Peloponnese.
Antoniou offered a brief introduction to each carol and impressed the audience as always with his vocals, accompanied by the skillful playing of Paterakis on the laouto.
The guests joined in the carol singing as well. Paterakis also explained the hidden meaning behind the New Year's carol, Archiminia kai Archichronia, noting that the lyrics include “a verse of a carol and a verse of a... cantata, a song of love someone sings about his beloved who does not accept him.”
Dr. Pannie Trifillis, Vice President of Global Medical Affairs and Head of Global Scientific Affairs for PTC Therapeutics, Inc., is a secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of AGAPW. She told TNH that she is delighted to help young women working in this field. “It is a great experience to participate in this organization and to help young women and new entrepreneurs to succeed, especially in the science I specialize in,” Dr. Trifillis said, adding that men also participate “in our organization… Many times they also send their children who want scientific advice.”
The guests also had the opportunity to see the art exhibition by Aphrodite Desiree Navab, AGAPW's vice president. The evening also included a raffle with many gifts offered by members and friends of AGAPW and ALLILONnet. Among the prizes, Coco-Mat pillows, gift certificates to restaurants, wines.