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This Week in History: June 17th to 23rd

JUNE 17TH:

On this day in 2018, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras witnessed the signing of a deal to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia be called North Macedonia. Tsipras described the signing of the agreement as a “brave, historic, and a necessary step for our peoples.” He added that, “we are here to heal the wounds of time, to open a path for peace, fraternization, and growth for our countries, the Balkans, and Europe.” This preliminary deal launched a long process that lasted several months, coming to fruition in January of 2019, when FYROM agreed to rename itself the Republic of North Macedonia.

JUNE 19TH:

On this day in 1970, Antonis Remos, the Greek singer, was born in Dusseldorf, West Germany. When he was 10 years old, he and his family returned to their native Greek city of Thessaloniki, where Remos spent the next 15 years of his life before relocating to Athens. While there, he opened for musical legends like Dimitris Mitropanos before landing his own record deal with Sony Music Greece. Remos always had a passion for music while growing up and learned to play guitar at a young age. He has performed throughout the world during his career and shared the stage with other celebrated Greek artists such as Yiannis Parios, George Dalaras, Mimis Plessas, Marinella, Mihalis Hatzigiannis, Onirama, and Sakis Rouvas.

JUNE 20TH:

On this day in 1931, Olympia Dukakis, the Greek-American actress, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts to Alexandra and Constantine Dukakis. Dukakis also has a younger brother named Apollo and is a cousin of the former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, for whom she served as a delegate from New Jersey at the Democratic National Convention in 1988. Dukakis studied at Arlington High School and later attended Boston University. She started her career on the stage (she appeared in over 125 regional theatre productions throughout the country in her lifetime) and won an Obie Award for her Off-Broadway performance in the 1963 play Man Equals Man. However, she didn’t become a household name until 1987 when she played Rose Castorini in the romantic comedy Moonstruck. Her performance in that film won her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award along with a BAFTA nomination. Dukakis thrived in the television industry and has starred in a number of successful TV shows and movies. She has taught acting at New York, Columbia, and Yale universities. Dukakis married American actor Louis Zorich in 1962. The couple raised three children and remained married until Zorich’s death in January of 2018. In November of 2018, the documentary film Olympia premiered at the 9th Annual DOC NYC Film Festival. The film was centered around Dukakis and followed her as she shared her dramatic life story and dynamic character. After a period of ill health, Dukakis died under hospice care at her home in Manhattan on May 1, 2021, at the age of 89.

Also on this day in 1978, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook Thessaloniki with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (violent). As a result of the earthquake, 50 people were killed, most of which (39) were residents of an eight-story building in the center of the city. Another 220 people were injured while thousands became homeless in the broader region of Thessaloniki. The quake was felt throughout northern Greece, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria and was the largest event in the area since the 1932 Lerissos earthquake (where there were 491 casualties reported). It was the first contemporary earthquake that hit near a big urban center in Greece (with about 700,000 inhabitants at the time) and caused direct physical damage to the city. The School of Engineering of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki was called upon to offer its services to the community, significantly contributing to a successful management of the post-earthquake recovery.

 

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I wish to begin by thanking The National Herald for highlighting the significance of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ recent visit (‘Ideas for Building on the Success of Mitsotakis’ Visit,’ May 25, 2022).

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