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International Women’s Day Celebrated at the Consulate General of Greece in New York

NEW YORK – International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 7 at the Consulate General of Greece in New York with a panel discussion featuring successful women sharing their inspiring stories.

The distinguished panelists were Dr. Macrene Alexiades, Eleni Gianopulos, Nicola Kotsoni, Amanda Loulaki, and Aspasia ‘Sissy’ Nikolaou with Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou serving as moderator of the discussion.

Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou gave the welcoming remarks, noting the excellent turnout at the event and thanking all the participants.

“As we reflect on the progress we have made over the last decades, we must also recognize the persistent challenges that women continue to face, discrimination, gender-based violence, and systemic barriers still hinder the full realization of women’s rights and potential in every corner of the world,” he said. “Yet, in the face of adversity women persist, they lead movements, break barriers, and inspire change.”

“We Greeks must take pride in the fact that almost 3500 years ago, the great Greek Plato in his Republic said that women should share all power and take on all challenges including military service,” Konstantinou noted. “Any state that does not employ the talent of its women, Plato made it clear, is wasting half of its resources.”

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 7 at the Consulate General of Greece in New York with a panel discussion featuring successful women sharing their inspiring stories. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

He thanked Alma Bank and Nancy Papaioannou for supporting the event as well as  Aphrodite’s Sweets for its sweet cheese pies. The catering for the event was from Gyro World.

The Consul General also mentioned the photo exhibition, Mariupol & Odesa: Stories of Resistance, currently on view at the Consulate through March 15, highlighting the struggles of the Ukrainian people and the two cities which had a large Greek community, and the guide to postal voting in the upcoming European Union elections that was handed out to everyone for those eligible to vote this year.

Egkolfopoulou, head of the U.S. legal news team for Bloomberg, also welcomed everyone and thanked the attendees and the esteemed panelists for participating and sharing their success stories. She also thanked the Consul General and his wife, Myrsini Feliou, for bringing everyone together for the event.

A Harvard-educated dermatologist, Dr. Alexiades earned her BA at Harvard, her MD at Harvard Medical School, and her PhD in Genetics at Harvard and was a Fulbright Scholar with a research award year in Europe. She noted that her skincare line, Macrene Actives, “is the first luxury, clean, dermatologic, scientific skincare line in the world” and is “also good for the earth in that it has eliminated all toxins, I’ve utilized plant extractions to replace the need for cosmetic procedures…  and it is packaged in glass with wood lids which means it’s healthy not just for us but for our planet for generations to come.”

Her latest collection focuses on Greek active botanicals which have been used for thousands of years in Greece and on her island of Skyros “to cure almost every disease,” she said.

The panelists at the International Women’s Day event, left to right: Eleni Gianopulos, Nicola Kotsoni, Amanda Loulaki, Aspasia ‘Sissy’ Nikolaou, Dr. Macrene Alexiades, and moderator Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Dr. Sissy Nikolaou, an Athens native, serves as the Earthquake Engineering Group Leader for the Materials and Structural Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She has over 25 years of global consulting experience involving critical facilities, infrastructure projects and high-rise buildings. In her adopted hometown of New York City, Dr. Nikolaou has provided technical leadership and management of numerous projects, including the Second Avenue Subway, new Tappan Zee (Mario Cuomo) Bridge, JFK/LGA Airport Facilities and AirTrain, One World Trade Center, Queensboro and RFK bridges, and USTA, Citi Field and Yankee Stadiums. She noted the challenges she faced in a male-dominated field, sharing how she overcame them through hard work and determination.

A native of Heraklion, Crete, Amanda Loulaki, dance artist, choreographer, and movement educator, received a BA in Education from the Department of Pedagogy in Crete in 1990 and and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1994 to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and moved to New York. In 2007, she received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in Virginia. Since 1998, Loulaki has been the Programming Director at Movement Research, and has programmed the Improvisation Festival/NY. Loulaki noted that what is great about New York City is that “it does not impose a specific way of thinking… you don’t have to be a specific way.”

Nicola Kotsoni is a prominent figure in the New York restaurant scene as the owner of several restaurants including the famed Il Cantinori which was featured in the TV series Sex and the City, and Periyali which aimed at redefining Greek cuisine in an upscale setting. She started off as a dancer in London before opening her first restaurant in New York which she noted opened in October and though they thought it would take a few years to work off the debt, it was so popular, it paid off the debt by May.

Eleni Gianopulos, CEO and Baker-in-Chief at Eleni’s New York, worked at LIFE magazine before opening her own business. She said: “If you look at your boss’ job and you realize you don’t want it, that’s a problem, that’s a sign to get out.” Gianopulos noted that she is not a trained baker, she learned from her mother, but “baking cookie after cookie you can figure it out.”

Following the discussion, the panelists participated in a Q&A session sharing even more of their insights with the audience

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This article is part of a continuing series dealing with reports of Greek POWs in Asia Minor in the Thessaloniki newspaper, Makedonia in July 1936.

To the Editor: I am contacting you because of your relationship with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

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