Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides was the keynote speaker at the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations’ National Convention on September 23. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)
NEW YORK – The Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO) hosted its annual National Convention on September 23, at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Park, NY. President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides was the Keynote Speaker at this year’s Convention which had a good turnout in spite of the inclement weather.
FCAO President Kyriacos Papastylianou gave the welcoming remarks and served as Master of Ceremonies at the event, thanking all the member organizations and delegates for attending.
Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos gave the invocation on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
FCAO Treasurer Loukas Georgiou gave the report on the Federation finances which was followed by greetings from the leaders of the member organizations including Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Maria Pappas, Chamber Executive Director Despina Axiotakis, AHEPA Supreme President Savas Tsivicos, Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher, and NEPOMAK USA President Andreas Lambiris. Ambassador Marios Lysiotis, recently appointed as Diaspora and Repatriates Commissioner, and Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas also shared their remarks at the Convention.
President Christodoulides met with members of NEPOMAK USA, the FCAO’s official youth organization, before making his remarks at the Convention. He noted how deeply moved and happy he was to participate for the first time as president and expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Cypriot-American community for all its efforts and support for Cyprus throughout the years. Christodoulides said that the 49 years, 50 next year, of the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus is a black spot for the international community and the European family, and an open wound for Cyprus and its people. The status quo is unacceptable, he said, He also spoke about human rights for the legal citizens of Cyprus and finding a workable solution, pointing out that they are ready for talks to resume and for dialogue. Christodoulides added that it is important for the U.S. to recognize the role Cyprus can play in the region for peace and stability. The cooperation and much-improved state of relations between Cyprus and the U.S., he said, are due largely to the Cypriot-American community’s efforts. Cyprus has always been on the right side of history, Christodoulides noted as he mentioned aid to Ukraine, observing that Cyprus has nearly 50 years of experience with illegal invasion and occupation.
The FCAO also presented the Scholarships of Academic Excellence during the National Convention to six deserving students. The scholarship awards of the FCAO are based on merit and recognize students who have demonstrated exemplary academic performance in all fields of study.
In his remarks, Philip Christopher said it was a sad day for the community as philhellene Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) stepped down from his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after being indicted on bribery charges. Christopher pointed out that the senator is innocent until proven guilty and his vow to fight the charges is heartening though the seriousness of the situation was brought home when Democratic Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy called for his resignation. Christopher also mentioned the need for Friends of Cyprus organizations in states that might not have a large population of Cypriots, but still have many interested in supporting the cause of justice for Cyprus.
The FCAO National Convention forum brings together delegates from all over the United States and government representatives from Cyprus and Greece to address mutual challenges and share information. The FCAO National Convention focuses on the issues affecting the Greek-Cypriot community in the USA. The chapter members also had the opportunity to express and exchange views and ideas on topics such as promoting cultural, educational, and social activities in the Cypriot-American community.
About the Federation of Cypriot-American Organizations
The FCAO is a non-profit umbrella organization representing 28 Greek-Cypriot-American organizations throughout the United States. Its mission is to develop good relations and solidarity amongst its chapters, promote common goals, represent their interests, and coordinate their social, educational, philanthropic, and cultural activities. The FCAO undertakes and promotes charitable activities primarily within the Cypriot-American and Greek-American communities; preserves and promotes the Greek language and Greek-Cypriot history in the United States; supports the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States in the establishment and preservation of Greek-American identity and the Greek Orthodox faith in the United States; and preserves and promotes the Greek-Cypriot cultural heritage in the United States.
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