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PSEKA Holds 38th Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in DC

WASHINGTON, DC – The most consequential foreign policymakers in the United States Congress from both parties participated in the 38th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference May 9-11 as over 100 Cypriot and Greek-American leaders converged on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The conference, hosted by International Coordinating Committee –  Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and its President Philip Christopher, was co-hosted by many of the top national Greek-American organizations including: AHEPA, AHI, CEH, HALC, FCAO, HANC and the U.S.-Cyprus Chamber of Commerce. The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides was represented by Cyprus Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis. Numerous top officials from the Biden Administration, the U.S. Congress, Greece, and Cyprus also were present.
More than 40 U.S. Officials participated. Both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and James Risch (R-ID), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) addressed conference participants as Washington’s focus turned to Cyprus for a day.

L-R: Greek Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Europe Subcommittee Chair Senator Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis, Cyprus Govt. Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis, Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Marios Lysiotis. (Photo: PSEKA)

In addition, the Chairs of the Senate and House Europe Subcommittees, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Congressman Thomas Kean (R-NJ), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and the Chairman of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) met with conference participants.

The highest-ranking Democratic officials in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also spoke at the conference, along with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Senate Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). Former Chairs of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) spoke during their panel, ‘The Cyprus Issue – Then and Now’.

According to the official press release, “these leaders from both parties and branches of Congress were joined by dozens of their Senate and House colleagues who are key to the formulation of U.S. policy on Cyprus, Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate and spent numerous hours speaking about and listening to the many elements that demonstrate Cyprus’s importance to the United States.”

The Biden Administration was also represented. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was honored with the ‘Soil Award’. Also attending were the State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Erika Olson, Director and Deputy Director for Southern European Affairs, Joshua Huck and David Galbraith, as well as Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Biden, Jeff Prescott.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez is a Philhellene and friend of Cyprus. (Photo: PSEKA)

At the Conference dinner U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis was honored with the Athens/Livanos Award, while Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Jessica Lewis was honored with the Frizis Award. Former Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, former U.S. Ambassador to Greece Tom Miller, and former Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce also attended.

Greece was represented by its Ambassador to the U.S. Alexandra Papadopoulou, whose impactful work in Washington, DC over the last three years has strengthened US-Greece relations.

Cyprus Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis offered a moving address to the  U.S. policymakers and conference participants:

“The potential of a united Cyprus – as a normal and functional state – without anachronistic guarantees and without an occupying force – is limitless. A free and reunified Cyprus could play an even greater role in promoting peace and stability in the region. The United States has begun to acknowledge this potential and given Cyprus a vote of confidence. Our bilateral relationship, built on a shared vision of security, stability, peace, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, is at a historic high … With your help, we can discover opportunities to further expand our bilateral relationship …

“While we persist in our diplomatic and political efforts, we ask of you to continue your advocacy and your tireless work to strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Cyprus … The suffering of the Ukrainian people is no different to what Cypriots are experiencing in the last 49 years, with thousands of refugees still waiting to return to their homes and people still searching for the fate of their loved ones …

“The Government of the Republic of Cyprus recognizes your great and selfless love for our homeland – for our Cyprus – and your deep investment in ending the occupation and reunifying our country … I know that 49 years are way too many. But spare no efforts and keep your faith.”

Cyprus’ Ambassador to the U.S. Marios Lysiotis was honored for his exemplary service to Cyprus over the last four years in Washington, DC and for his close work with community leaders in promoting justice for Cyprus.

THANKING OUR SUPPORTERS

The award recipients included: Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) [James Williams Award]; House Assistant Majority Whip Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) [Barbed Wire Award]; Co-Chair, Hellenic Caucus, Congressman Chris Pappas [Mouyiaris/GP Award], Co-Chair, Congressional Hellenic Israeli Alliance (CHIA), Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Congressman Chris Pappas, Jake Friedman [Conalis-Kontou Award].

GRK.-AMERICAN COMMUNITY LEADERS OUT IN FULL FORCE

Over 100 Cypriot and Greek-American leaders from across the country attended, including the leadership of the following organizations:

Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), Andrew E. Manatos; President, Manatos & Manatos, Mike Manatos; Supreme President, (AHEPA), Jimmy Kokotas, President’ American Hellenic Institute (AHI), Nick Larigakis, Executive Director; Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Endy Zemenides; Executive Vice President, Federation of Cypriot-American Organizations (FCAO), Nikos Pafitis, Immediate Past President HANC, Paul Kotrotsios; President, Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce, Maria Pappas; Commissioner, Greater Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Mariyana Spyropoulos; Supreme Secretary, AHEPA, Savas Tsivicos; Board Chairman, AHEPA, Nick Karacostas; Board Vice-Chairman/Past Supreme President, AHEPA, George Horiates; President, Canadian Order of AHEPA, Emmanuel Constas; Executive Director, AHEPA, Basil Mossaidis, Executive Director; Daughters of Penelope, Elena Saviolakis; Alternate President, PSEKA, Tasos Zambas; Founding President & Honorary Chairman, Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce, Andreas Comodromos; Executive Director, Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce, Despina Axiotakis; Legal Counselor, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Peter Kakoyiannis; President, Asgata Association, Peter Louca; President, Cyprus Children’s Fund, Nicos Zittis.

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