STORRS, CT – The Center for Hellenic Studies ‘Paideia’ of the University of Connecticut gave a warm welcome to Greece’s Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni, who paid a visit to the Center on November 29. She was welcomed by the founder and president of ‘Paideia’, Elias Tomazos, Professor Fotis Papadimitrakopoulos, a member of ‘Paideia’, presidents and officials of associations and clubs in Connecticut and other regions of the United States, as well as Greek-American friends and supporters of ‘Paideia’.
After a brief greeting in Storrs, CT at the Center, which she presented with two elegant volumes on the Greek Revolution, the Minister went to the Office of the governor of Connecticut in Hartford where she was warmly welcomed by the Greek-American Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Greek-American state legislators. Bysiewicz presented Mendoni with an official proclamation honoring her visit to Connecticut, and in return the Minister presented her with a souvenir from Greece. They exchanged views on Greek Culture and its influence on the culture of the United States and the world, and spoke about Greece and Bysiewicz’s island of origin, Kythera. It is noted that Bysiewicz has in her office along with the flags of the United States and the state of Connecticut the flag of Greece.
Lunch followed at the Lake View Restaurant owned by an expatriate from Northern Epirus, Leonidas Pappas. Mendoni then returned to the Center. where she spent some time visiting the newly built ‘Sparta’ Museum, which the Ministry intends to enrich with art collections and Greek exhibits.
There was also a banquet in honour of the Minister, during which Paideia named her a ‘Grand Benefactor’.
In a statement to The National Herald, Mendoni said that, “what I took away is the love of these people who make up the Paideia Center, who want it not just to survive, but to promote Greek Culture and the Greek Language as a developmental tool for the University of Connecticut”. The Minister also said that, “these people are working out of an overwhelming love for Greece, our culture, our language, but also with the goal of creating the new generation of Americans who are very close to Greece and serve as ‘ambassadors’ of Hellenism.”
Tomazos told TNH that, “the arrival of Her Excellency Minister Lina Mendoni at our Center is a truly historic event because in her face we see the love and interest of Greece for Greek Culture, the Greek Language, our Cultural Heritage.” He added that “we are all deeply grateful and touched – all those who are part of Paideia, but also Greek-Americans, the members of our associations, and of course our students.”
The Minister was accompanied by the Ambassador of Greece to Washington Alexandra Papadopoulou, the Consul of Greece in New York, Dimitris Papageorgiou, her special assistant at the Ministry of Culture, Anna Panagiotarea, the Director of Press, Panagiotis Panagiotopoulos, and her associate Dr. Elisavet Bargue.
This is the first time that a Greek Minister has visited the Center. The University of Connecticut is more than two hours from New York City and almost the same distance from Boston. The Center includes a chapel dedicated to the honor and memory of the Three Hierarchs, Greek Orthodox saints who are considered the patrons of Greek Letters, a Library, an open-air theater in honor of Alexander the Great in the form of an ancient Greek amphitheater, and the ‘Sparta’ museum.
The Hellenic Society ‘Paideia’ was first started in 1974 by a group of students, children who dared and had a vision for the future of Hellenism in America. They were people who dreamed about securing the future of Hellenic Education, Language, Culture, History, and of emphasizing the relevance of Hellenism to the Orthodox Faith.