Published in NEO magazine
The Federation of Hellenic American Educators under the auspices of SAE-USA (World Council For Hellenes Abroad) Region and the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C. presented the 2nd annual event on “The Ecumenical, Humanistic and Diachronic Values of the Greek Culture and Education” on Thursday morning, June 4th at the Cannon Building of the Capitol, Washington, D.C. Nancy Biska, representing Mariyana Spyropoulos, was Mistress of Ceremonies.
Greetings were delivered by Senator John Sarbanes and representatives from Congressional leaders Carolyn Maloney, Gus Bilirakis and Tina Titus. Closing remarks were made by Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis.
The honorees this year were Alexandros Mallias, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, U.S. Senator John F. Kerry, Marcus Alexander Templar, Balkan Expert, and Dr. George Melikokis, Principal of Jamaica Greek American Day School.
Student presentations were made by the following schools:
The Hellenic School of Potomac, Maryland, Ancient Greek from Isokrates’ “Evagora”, Andreas Nicolaou, Yiannis Philipopoulos, George Seferis “Helen”, Irene Frantzis; St. Athanasios, Paramus, New Jersey, Recitation of “The Philikon’s Oath”, Stelios Kostopoulos; The Choir of the Odyssey Charter School, Wilmington, Delaware, performance of traditional Greek songs by Theodorakis, Hadjidakis and Leontis.
“Today, we honor Ambassador Alexandros Mallias, a man who has created history in Washington, D.C.,” stated Mrs. Stella Kokolis, President of the Federation of Hellenic American Educators, SAE – USA Region. “He is responsible for creating the education events at the Capitol in 2008 and 2009. Without his support, we would not be here. We wish him well in his next diplomatic mission, since this is his last day in Washington, D.C.”
According to Nancy Biska., “the presence of all (honorees) honors our Hellenic heritage, democratic values and ideas. Our efforts keep Hellenism alive for the younger generations.”
Senator John Sarbanes believes “our youth must learn and strife for excellence that leads to personal success. Give back to your own community, strengthening institutions for the next generation. Take Hellenic values and use them for the larger community.
Addressing the participants, Ambassador Mallias reminded that the Federalist Papers were an analysis of the Greek Polis. Reading Aristotle, Democritus and Greek philosophers
will add to our knowledge of the economy. His final farewell was saying “it was a great honor to serve my country in Washington, D. C. and follow in t he footsteps of former ambassadors.Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis delivered the closing remarks saying he learned Greek at home. “I did not have the opportunity to go to GreekSchool. I went to Greece every summer and tried to speak Greek as a native. My home state of Rhode Island passed a bill to continue the Greek Language in our Rhode Island University for mainstream America.”