CHICAGO, IL – As the United States and allies confront rising threats in the Middle East, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) stressed the significance of a Greece-Israel alliance at a Technology Innovation Exchange event hosted by the Circle for Hellas and Israel (CHI) on September 14.
Discussing the benefits of a longstanding cooperation between Greece and Israel, Kirk pointed out the technological, military, and economical benefits that would arise with a strong partnership between the two Eastern Mediterranean nations.
“Israel is America’s strongest ally in the Middle East, and a strong alliance with Greece only multiplies their military strength in the fight against ISIS and Hamas,” said Kirk, who won the race for President Obama’s old senate seat against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in 2010. “It is essential that Israel and Greece continue to build on their partnership so that our allies are able to work towards stabilizing the Middle East,” he added.
Organized by CHI executive director Charles Mouratides, the event celebrating the historic alliance drew members of the local Greek and Israeli communities. In attendance were Consuls General of Greece, Ioanna Efthymiadou and of Israel, Roey Gilad, as well as Cook Country Treasurer Maria Pappas, who served as Master of Ceremonies.
“In this chaotic region I think everybody is looking for states that are both democratic and stable…in that sense I believe that Israel, Greece and Cyprus…are a beacon, an island of support within this ocean of instability,” Gilad said. “The relationship between Israel and Greece is excellent. Next year we are going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the renewing of the diplomatic bilateral relationship,” he added.
“[Consul General Gilad] mentioned the very crazy neighborhood, but never boring [one] we live in, a neighborhood that makes it very important to cooperate amongst nations that are like-minded…they have common values, and most importantly they have common goals, which is peace, security, stability, and prosperity,” Efthimiadou said.
Dr. Stergios Logothetidis, professor and director of the Nanotechnology laboratory at the Physics School of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, received the 2014 Miletus Tradition Award, as did Dr. Benjamin Ehrenberg, professor at the Physics department and vice president for research and development at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, who was unable to attend the event. His colleague, Dr. Avinoam Zadok, who is of Greek decent, accepted the award in his absence.
CHI’s Miletus Award recognizes a scientist or technologist from both Greece and Israel for their leadership in transferring scientific research to the marketplace, and for contributions in the pursuit of innovation.
Musical performances by international tenor Alberto Mizrahi, Cantor at Chicago’s Anshe Emet Synagogue, and award-winning pianist Howard Levy, including a reception, followed the speeches.
“I think this evening showed that when you get the nanotechnology of Greece and Israel together, whether it be in Israel or in Greece, both countries win,” Mizrahi said.
The CHI, whose mission is “to rally the friends of Israel and Greece who believe in the economic and strategic power gained through an alliance between the two countries, and stir to action and participation the advocates of this alliance throughout the world,” claims to be the first non-profit organization worldwide to recognize this relationship.
Aiming to establish an ongoing scientific and cultural collaboration, the event bridged last year’s Tech Transfer symposium, which sent Israeli university scientists to Greece, with the upcoming exchange of Greek professors and technologists who will head to Israel this December. Currently seeking funding and support for the exchange program, the CHI is also preparing a study exploring the creation of a Greek model for research product transfer to market, as well as encouraging the Greek start-up scene.