WASHINGTON, DC – The Hellenic Society and The Modern Greek Studies Program at Georgetown University on April 8 held a virtual celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence with a presentation on "America and Hellas: A History Forged during the Hellenic Revolution 1821” by Louis Katsos, Founder and President of the East Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA) and Chairman of AHEPA’s Hellenic Cultural Commission.
The event began with welcoming remarks from the co-presidents of The Hellenic Society, Nicholas Kerner and Antonia Sames. Professor Ismini Lamb, Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program at Georgetown University, then offered her greetings and introduced the evening’s speaker, Louis Katsos, noting the many events EMBCA has presented relating to the Hellenic Revolution.
Katsos began the presentation with a series of slides, highlighting the geography and history of the time, and then noted the many rebellions and revolts from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the start of the Hellenic Revolution in 1821. He spoke about the many historical figures, some more well-known than others, who played key roles in the Revolution even before it began, like Rigas Feraios with his vision of freedom for all the Balkans. Also discussed were the American Philhellenes who supported the cause and some who participated in the War for Greek Independence and then became involved in the Abolitionist and Women’s movements in the United States.
Katsos pointed out that many Greeks lived outside of Greece and the area that became the hotbed of the Revolution, the Morea, was not among the cosmopolitan areas where most Greeks lived, such as Constantinople and Smyrna. The pivotal role of ships, shipping, and merchants was also noted, as well as the role of Philhellene poets like Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley whose famous works inspired people throughout Europe and America to support the cause of freedom for Greece.
A Q&A session followed the presentation offering further insights into the complicated history of the Revolution.
Prof. Lamb then concluded the event by thanking everyone for participating, including the technical team who made the virtual event run smoothly and Katsos for his informative presentation.