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Rep. Carolyn Maloney Campaigning for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

ATHENS – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, once again in Athens with a busy schedule as she plans to keep up her contacts with Greece and Greek-Americans, spoke with The National Herald about her latest goal- the return to Greece of the Parthenon Sculptures that are currently held in the British Museum.

On October 6, at the foot of the Acropolis, she held a press conference on the necessity of returning the Parthenon Sculptures, in the presence of Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, New Democracy Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Ilia and the Chair of the Special Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection and its Subcommittee of the Water Resources of the Hellenic Parliament, as well as Loula Loi Alafoyiannis, the founder and President of the Euro-America Women’s Council (EAWC), and others. Rep. Maloney, who has a resolution ready for Congress for the return of the Sculptures, said that “Western civilization owes a debt of gratitude to Greek civilization that we can never fully repay. Whenever the reins of government change hands peacefully anywhere in the West, we should be deeply grateful to the Greeks for the invention of democracy,”

Loula Loi Alafoyiannis, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and MP Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou. (Photo: TNH/ Aris Papadopoulos)

She also pointed out that she wants to add her voice to “the growing chorus of sensible people in the West, who are respectfully asking the British Museum to return the ‘Elgin’ Marbles to their rightful owners: the people of Greece.”

In fact, she urged her British colleagues to do everything possible to return these Sculptures where they rightfully belong. “I know it will be painful for the Trustees of the British Museum to part with the Sculptures. After all, they have been exhibited in London for almost two centuries now. But compare this loss with the great sense of loss that haunts the Greek people. They have been deprived of a breathtaking treasure that was central to their culture and created exclusively by them, 2,500 years ago. I urge my counterparts in the British Government to do everything possible to return these statues to their rightful place. It would be – in the words of our great President John F. Kennedy – an act that will serve as a record of political courage.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and the National Herald Editor Aris Papadopoulos. (Photo: TNH / Aris Papadopoulos)

Maloney noted that she has contacted Hellenic American Leadership Council Executive Director Endy Zemenides, and that the two of them will work together to establish a pan-American committee to mobilize Americans for the return of the Sculptures.

In the shadow of the Acropolis, Maloney was introduced by MP Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou who noted that Maloney stands by the side of all Greeks for the return of the Sculptures to their rightful place. “We demand their repatriation in the name of the Republic where their value is highlighted,” she said and gave the floor to Loula Loi Alafoyiannis who spoke about Maloney’s support for Greece. She then gave the floor to the American congresswoman, calling her the “Bouboulina” of the Greek-American community.

It is worth noting that along with Mrs. Alafoyiannis for the Sculptors case were National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) Chairperson of the Board of Directors Phyllis Hill Slater from Palm Beach, FL, Ioannis Alafoyiannis, Chrysa Kaltsonis, Yin Long, and Christos Mistris, vice president of ASTA Greece.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Loula Loi Alafoyiannis and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Mansion in Athens. (Photo: Dimitris Papamitsos / Greek Prime Minister’s Office)

Loula Loi Alafoyiannis on October 3 organized a wonderful evening at the Zappeion Megaron with over 200 guests from the EAWC, of which Mrs. Alafoyiannis is founder and president.

The event saw the presentation of the EAWC’s Artemis Awards, which for many years has honored women and men who distinguish themselves in all sectors of society. Among the laureates are Rep. Maloney, Dora Bakoyannis, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, as well as scientists, journalists and others.

On October 4, Maloney was awarded an honorary doctorate in the Department of Education and Social Work of the University of Patras by the rector Prof. Christos Bouras and the president of the aforementioned department, Dr. Anna Fterniati.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney holds the honorary doctorate she received from the University of Patras. (Photo: TNH/ Aris Papadopoulos)

On October 5, Maloney and Mrs. Alafoyianni met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Mansion and exchanged gifts, while in the evening they sat down to dinner with the Prime Minister.

When asked about what she will do now that she lost her re-election bid in the primary to her longtime colleague Jerrold Nadler, Maloney told TNH that she is not retiring. She has not yet decided what she will do, although she would very much like to create an organization that could benefit Greek-Americans or a very active repatriation committee for the Parthenon Sculptures. Something she managed to do, in collaboration with Endy Zemenides, before the ink was even dry. Because this is Maloney. She doesn’t drop any idea if it sounds useful.

The special ‘Bouboulina Award’ presented to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney by EAWC at the Zappeion in Athens. (Photo: TNH/ Aris Papadopoulos)

Whatever she decides, however, as she told TNH, she will have a relationship with the Greek-American community and she is not going to leave it. She even thanked TNH for the support it provided her in her nearly 30-year political career.

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