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Politics

Newly Appointed US Amb. to Greece George Tsunis Featured in Newsday

WASHINGTON, DC – The news of the Senate approval for the appointment of Greek-American businessman George J. Tsunis as the new U.S. Ambassador to Greece has been reported around the world. In addition to the major international news agencies, local media, such as Newsday, the largest newspaper in terms of circulation on Long Island, where the new ambassador is a resident, featured the story with great interest, highlighting the fact that Tsunis spoke Greek before he learned English.

The confirmation vote was held late on March 10 after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added Tsunis to the list of nominees being considered, Newsday reported.

Tsunis, 54, is a resident of Matinecock, “learned Greek as his first language as the son of first-generation Greek immigrants, [and] will be the United States’ representative to Greece at what he has called ‘an all-time high’ in the relationships between the two countries,” Newsday reported.

“I am honored and humbled by the Senate confirmation,” Tsunis, a lawyer and the founder, chairman and CEO of Chartwell Hotels LLC, told Newsday on March 11.

Schumer said in a phone interview that he “added Tsunis to a list of nominees being approved by unanimous consent following the passage of the $1.6 trillion omnibus spending bill and Ukraine aid,” Newsday reported.

“I called him at about 8 o’clock and said, ‘It’s getting done tonight.’ He said, ‘Whoa.’ He didn’t know,” Schumer told Newsday, adding that “Schumer said he recommended Tsunis for the post to President Joe Biden, who tapped Tsunis for the political appointment to the ambassadorial posting in October.”

“I pushed hard for him from the beginning because he’s the perfect guy to be ambassador to Greece,” Schumer told Newsday. “He knows Greek history. He knows the Greek language. And I don’t think anyone in America has better ties to the Greek-American community than him.”

Tsunis “also won bipartisan support after testifying at his nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including from Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman, and Sen. James Risch (R-ID), the ranking member,” Newsday reported, noting that “Tsunis now holds positions and interests in several businesses, associations and public entities, which he will have to set aside as he heads in the next couple of months to his new diplomatic posting.”

“Tsunis’ ethics agreement with the U.S. government said he would resign from Chartwell Hotels LLC and related entities and real estate limited liability companies, while still receiving passive income from them,” Newsday reported, adding that “he also agreed to give up his posts as chairman of the Battery Park City Authority; as a director of the New York Convention Center’s Operating Committee, which oversees the Javits Center, and from the executive committee of The Hellenic Initiative.”

“Previously, Tsunis served as chairman of NuHealth, also known as the Nassau Health Care Corp., which operates Nassau University Medical Center, the only public hospital in Nassau County,” Newsday reported.

Tsunis’ parents immigrated to the U.S. from the mountainous Nafpaktia. Tsunis grew up in the Greek community of New York, being himself an active member of the community of St. Paraskevi in Greenlawn, NY. He has maintained his close relations with the Greek Diaspora throughout his career, as he is a member of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Faith, Leadership 100, the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and The Hellenic Initiative (THI).

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