NEO magazine - November/December 2020

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NOV/DEC 2020


In Memoriam, Senator

Paul S. Sarbanes




Illinois Hellenic Bar Association Celebrates




Catalio Capital

Management into Biotech Breakthroughs


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Men of Service

I called to do an interview w it h S enator Sarb anes several years ago and he called me back in the car while I was driving. “Senator, do you mind if I call you back?” I asked him. “Surely,” he said. I called him later and we did the interview, with him talking not like a senator, but like a very nice man, with a Maryland drawl, who spoke in English, not political boilerplate, and who seemed to give me all the time in the world.

provided a model of public service that few legislators have equaled. He worked over a lifetime to make this country better and make us all better. He was one of a kind and a model for all of us. His loss is a loss for all of us.

In the same spirit of service, I’d like to acknowledge the eminent presiding priest of Kimisis Theotokou Church in Brooklyn, New York, the Very Rev. Damaskinos Ganas. A former president of Hellenic College, he has dual master degrees from Hellenic College, as well as degrees from the Teachers Pedagogical Then I discovered that my tape recorder had School in Thessaloniki, Greece, and did postrecorded nothing. So now how do you call a graduate work at the Thessaloniki Theological Unites States senator and take up his precious School. time asking him to do an interview all over again? I steeled myself and called him. “Surely,” He could have ser ved anywhere, with he said, when I told him my request. We did the distinction, and yet he is a man of the people interview, again, and he showed just as much and for the past 35 years he has been the pillar of patience, and gave me just as much time as Kimisis and the face of the parish, who before. remembers everybody’s name (“I go home at the end of the day and make sure to remember And when we inaugurated our magazine in everybody I met that day”), who livens any New York City and featured his son John as our service with his sermon, and will remember Person of the Year, he came with his gracious your name when you go up for the antidero, wife, and was as generous and humble with us and has performed the miracle of making the as I remembered on the phone. I have met my parish not only survive, but thrive, through the share of politicians, I have met my share of sheer force of his warmth, personality, and people of consequence, but he was a singular practical skill in keeping the parish solvent. man of consequence, a history-maker for Greek Americans in the Congress, but with all In common with Senator Sarbanes, he has been the humility and substance of a truly noble a bedrock and inspiration for our community. man. Happy Holidays. He brought honor to the S enate, a distinguished record of service, and he not only made every Greek American proud, he DIMITRI C. MICHALAKIS

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Congressman John Sarbanes Pays Tribute To Senator Paul Sarbanes on the House Floor “I want to thank the Majority Leader for yielding. I want to thank you for your friendship with my father, Paul Sarbanes, for so many years – you go back with him a long way. And he cherished that friendship, as he did the relationship with all the members of the Maryland Delegation during the time that he served.

those available to others.

He loved being with people. He had a dry sense of humor. He enjoyed banter with all who crossed his path – was intensely interested in the journey that others had taken to whatever station they held in life. And he was always asking, ‘Where And I want to thank my colleagues here are you from? What do you do? tonight, who’ve come to help remember him What’s next for you?’ and pay tribute. He had an inherent integrity that On behalf of my brother, Michael, and my was strengthened by always striving sister, Janet, I want to thank all the people who, to meet the expectations of those over the last 48 hours, have been sending in who put their confidence in him.In these remembrances and tributes to my father politics, he was motivated, as I said, from his time in the Senate, and before that, by the burning conviction that here in the House, where he was for six years every individual has dignity and the and from time periods before that even. potential to succeed if given a fair shot. And he was determined others Senator Paul Spyros Sarbanes February 3, 1933 – December 6, 2020 I want to thank right up front and in particular w o u l d h a v e t h o s e s a m e his staff, who, over the course of his 40 years in opportunities that he had enjoyed. He of the fact that you had this senior citizen public service, he understood were the ones understood that if you share the credit, if you housing there. who made him or broke him. He was a tough don’t seek credit, you can get a lot more done. task master, but he chose people that had that And that was how he operated. And he said, ‘Next door to it is an expensive same set of principles and values and hotel, and b ehind the hotel is a big commitment to hard work. A few years ago, I prevailed upon him to sit for condominium building with very expensive about 20 hours of video-taped oral history, condominiums in it. Every time I go by that A lot of the tributes that have been coming in because I wanted to make sure we captured the building, I get a sense of satisfaction out of it, have talked about him being a workhorse, not essence of his life and his career. And so we particularly in the nice weather I look up and a show horse – the idea that if you put your have this treasure, which we’ll make available all these seniors are sitting out on their head down, you get the job done, you try to to people as we move forward. But I wanted to terraces, looking out over the water. I know build consensus where you can, but you just, in his own words, grab a few excerpts that developers would give their eye teeth to always remember that you’re here for a reason. from that, that I think convey who he is and get a hold of that piece of property – but they That is, to make good, strong policy that can what he cared about. don’t have it. It’s part of this affordable housing help people. initiative. So a lot of seniors who worked hard I r e m e m b e r I all their lives and are now retired, but don’t came home one have a lot of money, have the benefit of this time and he was housing.’ He said, ‘I’ll always get a measure of s i t t i n g i n t h e satisfaction out of that.’ living room, on the couch, and he We’re in the midst, as we know, in our country was revved up of some really challenging moments about something. addressing issues of justice. Here’s a story I don’t know what about how my father, in a small way, made a the issue was that statement around justice. “He said, ‘We had a d a y t h a t h a d situation in one of the rural towns on the gotten him, sort Eastern Shore. And when they’d deliver the of, motivated. But mail, the postman, he’d come down the street he banged on the and there’d be these big houses and he’d go up side of the couch to the house and put the mail in the mailbox. and he said, ‘I’m And then, as he moved on down the street, the for the little guy! composition of the neighborhood would I’m for the little change, and houses would get smaller – much He lived a full life. He made a difference in the guy!’ He might as well, in that moment, have smaller. The complexion of the people living lives of others, which is all he ever wanted to been stating his purpose in public life. That’s in the houses changed too as you went down do. I mean, he knew he wanted to be in politics what motivated him from the moment he got the street, so they went from white to black. from a very early age, but his motivation was up in the morning until the moment he went And down the street, instead of the postman looking at the opportunities he had – the son to bed at night. So he told in this oral history – going through the gate or whatever and up to of Greek immigrants who came to this I’m just going to read a couple of these things – the house, they were going to require those country with very little – and he had the he talked about getting public housing, or people to put a postbox at the street. o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r e d u c a t i o n a n d senior citizen affordable housing, in the Inner advancement. His motivation was to make Harbor in Baltimore. And he was very proud 20


“‘So some people came to us about that, a couple of pastors or ministers, and they pointed out this situation. So I got the postal people in for a meeting in my office.’ My father said, ‘Now what’s happening here? As I understand it, up here with the big houses and the white residents, you’re going to continue to go up to the house and put the mail through the door slot, but when you get down this way, to the little houses, and the AfricanAmerican residents, you’re going to require them to put a mail receptacle out at the pavement or at the curb, and you’re not gonna go up to the house anymore. What’s the rationale for this policy? Well, of course, if you lay it out like that there isn’t a rationale – at least not an acceptable one that can stand the light of day. So they dropped the project and went on delivering the mail.’ “And here’s what my father said, ‘That’s the way it ought to work. And I felt it’s not a big issue, but we got some justice done for those people.’ Small things that stand for big principles. That’s what he was about. So I’m going to close with just a couple, final thoughts here. First of all, I want to thank the Greek-American community, which was f i e r c e l y p r o u d o f m y f a t h e r ’s achievements. He was deeply proud of where he came from. It was an inspiration to him in public service. And I want to thank so many who helped him along the way from that community. My mother, Christine, who died ten years ago, she came into his life like a bolt of lightning. He didn’t know what hit him. He met her at Oxford, this brilliant, beautiful woman who could match him step for step in her intellect – and she knocked his socks off. And I think the great regret of his life was that he had hoped, in his retirement – you know, public life is hard, we know that – and I think all along the way he was looking forward to that time when the two of them could spend more time together. And unfortunately, she passed away within a couple of years of his retirement and they didn’t get that opportunity together. And I don’t think he ever fully recovered from that. So, I think about his legacy, and I understand, certainly, that there’s no way his children – myself, my brother, Michael, and my sister, Janet – were ever gonna match that legacy, because it’s a pretty unmatchable one, when you look at the record. But I think we are all doing what we can to continue it, to nurture it, to sustain it going forward. And again, I want to thank you for the time to speak here and I want to thank my colleagues for all your support and kind words over the last couple of days. And I yield back.

The Brilliance, Integrity and Humanity Of US Senator Paul Sarbanes BY ANDY MANATOS AND MIKE MANATOS* US Senator Paul Sarbanes, who passed away at the age of 87 on December 6, is a major reason we Hellenes are held in such high regard in the United States. The powerfully positive impression he made for decades on hundreds of influential American policymakers and opinion leaders is unsurpassed.

only time in modern history the Congress overruled the White House on a major foreign policy issue. Then in the Senate, as a highranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he was the go-to expert on all m at t e r s r e l at i n g t o t h e E c u m e n i c a l Patriarchate, Greece and Cyprus. Senior State Department employe es, a l l of In 1971, before Paul whom have to be Sarbanes arrived in approved by the Washington, D C, Senate Foreign Greeks were held in a R e l a t i o n s different regard. For Committee, knew instance, the ab out S ar b an e s’ protective covenants hy p e r- i nte re st i n against Greeks Hellenic and buy i ng i nto O r t ho d ox i ssu e s . neighborhoods They knew that p r o h i b i t e d mistreatment of millionaire Bill C a l o m i r i s f r o m From left, Christine and Paul Sarbanes, Mike and Andy Manatos these issues could jeopardize Senate buying a house in Washington’s Spring Valley. Sarbanes arrived approval for their next high-level State in the US House of Representatives with a Department job. Sarbanes dramatically bang. The Judiciary Committee chose him, improved US policy toward these issues. His then barely out of his 30’s, from among their 38 son Congressman John Sarbanes carries on seasoned Committee Members to draft the Paul’s remarkable and impactful efforts. Articles of Impeachment against President Sarbanes is probably best-known to the Richard Nixon. general public for the major legislative reform The genius that propelled him from a small in corporate executive responsibility for town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore through financial wrongdoing. His legislation – known Princeton University, a Rhodes Scholarship at a s t h e " C o r p o r a t e a n d A u d i t i n g Oxford University and through Harvard Law Ac c o u nt a b i l i t y, R e s p o n s i b i l i t y, a n d Magna Cum Laude, lifted him to immediate Transparency Act," nicknamed the “Sarbanesprominence in the US Congress. Greeks also Oxley Act” – greatly reduced repeats of gained notice as Paul and his brother-like E n ron’s d e b a c l e t h at l e f t t h ou s an d s colleague and “patrioti,” Congressman John unemployed, devastated retirement plans and Brademas, made up only .3% of the US wiped out stockholders’ assets. Congress but 66% of its Rhodes Scholars. Amid his life as a world-changing Sarbanes became the first Greek-American policymaker he was also a down-to-earth US Senator, later followed by Senator Paul Hellene. He had a great sense of humor and Tsongas (of Massachusetts) and Senator could tell a wonderful story. He could also be Olympia Snowe (of Maine). The Sarbanes found at the heart of the championship round practice of doing the right thing and treating of our family’s egg cracking competition at our others with respect – his philotimo – greatly annual Easter lamb roast. He was a true friend impressed thousands who followed him who appeared at your family weddings and, closely during his nearly four-decade more importantly, at your loved ones’ Congressional career. The esteem for Paul felt funerals. by these Members of the House, Senators and national reporters accrued to the benefit of all From his commanding brilliance that helped Hellenes. His always studied and objective shape much of our world, to his tenderness opinion on issues facing America was valued and humor that touched us all, he is by Republicans and Democrats. He was the unsurpassed. His like may never pass this way “gold standard” of what Americans desire in again. their Washington politicians. Andy Manatos, CEO of Manatos & Manatos, Sarbanes was also well known for his major and Mike Manatos, President of Manatos & legislative victories. Without Congressmen Manatos, spent their careers working closely Sarbanes and Brademas’ extraordinary with Senator Sarbanes in Washington, DC in credibility, their Turkish Arms Embargo the promotion of Hellenism and Orthodox legislation following Turkey’s invasion of Christianity. Cyprus would never have passed the House of Representatives. That bill’s enactment was the 21 NEWS & NOTES NOV/DEC 2020

AHI Mourns Passing of Former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes

In Memoriam Senator Paul S. Sarbanes and Cyprus by Philip Christopher, Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos

We mourn the recent passing of our dear friend and fellow justicefor-Cyprus advocate former US Senator Paul Sarbanes. His role with Cyprus is historic and his impact on the well-being of the country and its people extraordinary. Ever since the immediate aftermath of Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus, the wisdom of Paul Sarbanes has been instrumental to everything we have done. That wisdom has also been critical to American successes for Cyprus. President Richard Nixon’s refusal to enforce the law requiring the termination of US military aid to any country that uses it aggressively moved our then young and very highly regarded Congressman Paul Sarbanes to press for Congressional action. The conventional wisdom of that time warned him that opposing US policy toward Cyprus could in turn cause him to be labeled “the Congressman for Cyprus” and damage his hopes for a US Senate run in Maryland.

“The American Hellenic Institute deeply mourns the passing of former U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “Senator Sarbanes exemplified Hellenic ideals to the fullest extent. He excelled as a public servant, valued the importance of education, culture, and the arts, and was a true champion of the Rule of Law. These were values instilled in him as the son of Greek immigrants. “Without Senator Sarbanes’ strong advocacy, and the respect he garnered during his service and a leader in Congress, the community’s effort to impose an arms embargo on Turkey, following Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, would not have been a success. Together with the late founder of AHI, Eugene T. Rossides, we were proud to work with then-Congressman Paul Sarbanes on this most substantial policy achievement. We will forever be grateful for his staunch and unwavering support for the Greek American community’s policy issues, especially during his tenure serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sarbanes’ philotimo moved him to do the right thing. With fellow Rhodes Scholar and “patrioti” Congressman John Brademas and Europe Subcommittee Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ben Rosenthal, he introduced legislation to cut off US military aid to Turkey. Sarbanes and Brademas’ revered status in the House enabled them to win enough votes to enact the Turkish Arms Embargo. It sent a strong message to Turkey about Cyprus because it was the first time in modern US history the Congress overturned White House policy on a major foreign policy issue. Every year for many decades Paul Sarbanes was the highlight of our conference between leaders of our community and top White House officials, senior Senators and Members of Congress. Our meetings with the other officials focused on educating them about the Cyprus issue. However, during each of our long quiet meetings with Paul he, as a brother, helped us understand the nuances of the issue and of American policy. Paul carried major responsibility for victories all of our work has enjoyed, like Dick Holbrooke and Bill Clinton reversing France and Germany’s opposition to Cyprus beginning early EU accession talks. At the time there was a consensus that Turkey would move to take the rest of the island but that it would not happen if Cyprus became an EU country. For decades Paul Sarbanes helped us realize that our annual meetings were crucial to maintaining a high profile for Cyprus in Washington. His work as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had an even more profound impact on Cyprus’ profile. Since Cyprus has roughly the population size of each one of the 435 Congressional district in America, such efforts are particularly important.

“Senator Sarbanes will always be remembered fondly by the American Hellenic Institute and its members for his devotion to AHI, the Rule of Law, and to Hellenism for which we are deeply grateful and from which we all benefited. We were honored to present him with the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in 1992. He also keynoted and addressed several AHI forums, conferences, and events and contributed to AHI’s one-hour documentary, ‘Cyprus Still Divided: A U.S. Foreign Policy Failure.’

As Paul was retiring from the Senate we asked, “With you retiring, how can we best try to maintain the invaluable input you constantly provide us with?” His answer was, as always, correct. He said, “You better make sure that Bob Menendez gets reelected.” Menendez’s role on the Foreign Relations Committee and the wisdom and invaluable direction he provides has well carried on Sarbanes role.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with Congressman John Sarbanes, who carries Senator Sarbanes’ legacy, and the entire Sarbanes family. May his memory be eternal.”

For decades, Paul Sarbanes was not only the steady force for Cyprus, but the voice of Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Hellenism. He will be dearly missed. May his memory be eternal.



HANAC's One Flushing Project wins Excellence in Affordable Housing Development Award

HANAC's One Flushing project has won the award for Excellence In Affordable Housing Development from the Urban and Institute, as part of Ull's 2020 New York Awards for Excellence In Development Gala. The winners of the awards were announced during Ull's NYC virtual Gala on November 3rd,2020. One Flushing is the product of a partnership between Monadnock Development, HANAC, Inc., and Asian Americans for Equality

(AAFE) and it consists of a 232unit, ten-story new construction multifamily residential building located on the corner of Avenue and Main Street in Flushing, New York. As the first Mandator y inclusionar y Housing project to be developed in New York City, the building provides affordable housing for families and seniors, ample community facilities, and social services programming. The development includes approximately 14,000 square feet of community facility space, including a community center, senior center, and non-profit office space. On the ground floor, One Flushing provides 20,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, and below grade, a public parking facility with 156 spots. The building’s amenities include over 18,000 square feet of planted and active roofs-including a rooftop farm for residents -which also compliments other sustainable features such as a 134-kilowatt rooftop solar array and storm water reuse. A gym and community room round out the amenities. Completed in January 2019 and fully leased, One Flushing

was built to reflect surrounding neighborhood and has only served to enhance its vibrant community. HANAC (Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee) was founded in Queens, NY in 1972 to serve the needs of the Greek community. At that time, Greeks coming to the United States needed social services to get acclimated to life in America. Through the 1960's immigration from Greece was soaring and many Greeks settled in Astoria. HANAC's founder was a reporter for the Long Island Press working at City Hall and became aware of the substantial needs of the Greek immigrants and overall, the Greek American Community. He then approached Mayor John Lindsay and explained the problem and sought his assistance with these needs. Today, HANAC is a citywide social service organization, servicing 30,000 NYC residents annually receiving funding from City, State and Federal agencies. Additionally, HANAC currently has a portfolio of 650 senior affordable housing units throughout Queens, NY.

The FAITH Endowment Awards 130 Scholarships to Top Greek American Students The FAITH Endowment welcomed 55 of the brightest and most accomplished young l e a d e r s w it h i n t h e G re e k A m e r i c a n community into the FAITH Academic Excellence program and awards 75 FAITH STEM continuation scholarships. The 2020 FAITH Scholars join over 500 young leaders who represent an exemplary range of innovation, ambition and civicmindedness—from aspiring architects and educators to future biomedical engineers and data scientists. Scholarship amounts ranging up to $10,000 were awarded to applicants displaying extraordinary academic achievement and a spirit of charity, philanthropy and altruism found at the core of their Hellenic heritage and Greek Orthodox values. They are accepted into top universities across the country, merited the highest recommendations from their teachers and mentors, scored within the 95th percentile for the ACT and SAT, maintained an A grade point average and ranked within the top 10% of their graduating

de veloping c ur r ic u lum for a v ir tu a l educational program for elementary students. Furthermore, they remained engaged with their Greek Orthodox community when it was logistically difficult to do so — heading their parish’s COVID response teams, providing tech support for livestreams and hosting weekly GOYA meetings over Zoom. “This recognition is an unbelievable honor, and I thank FAITH for supporting me as I begin the next chapter of my studies and further academic and professional pursuits. I greatly appreciate the FAITH Scholar program as an incentive for achievement among young members of the Hellenic c o m mu n i t y. I ' m s o g r at e f u l f o r t h e opportunity to connect with other FAITH Scholars, and I wish to continue my engagement and contribution to this community in the future,” said Joanna Papaioannou, a 2020 FAITH Scholar majoring in biochemistr y at the University of Pennsylvania.

Despite the interruptions they faced during their spring semester, the 2020 FAITH Scholars adapted to meet the growing needs in their communities: grocery shopping for elderly neighbors, creating a support program for low-income medical students and 26


Students with FAITH Founder Dr. Roy Vagelos

junior at DePaul University majoring in physics, interned at a children’s hospital and aspires to develop prosthetics for those living with neuromuscular conditions. Paul Debassio, a pre-med senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, began volunteering in a student-run EMT program and is now doing a full-time internship in the Yale New Haven Hospital with a focus on pediatric hematology. Loukas Carayannopoulos, a junior nuclear engineer major at MIT, studied alternative energy sources at General Atomics in San Diego, and Mariana Frangos, a freshman math major at Stanford University, collaborated with an international team of data scientists to evaluate clinical trial results for COVID treatments.

FAITH scholars

classes. While following rigorous course plans of AP, honors and dual credit classes, 70% founded clubs at school, interned in fields related to their college majors and earned titles from National Merit Scholar and class valedictorian to student government president and scholastic team captain.

With the support and network provided by the FAITH Scholarship program and mentors, FAITH STEM Scholars are pushing society forward through data-driven problem solving, transformative technological developments and advancements in scientific and medical fields. Christina Bourantas, a

The additional 75 college students qualified to receive the FAITH Scholarship for Excellence in STEM continuation award, bringing the grand total of scholarships FAITH awarded in its sixteenth year to 130. This special scholarship series supports all four years of candidates’ undergraduate studies if they major in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math), maintain a 3.6 minimum GPA and actively continue to participate in organizations related to the Hellenic and Greek Orthodox community throughout their college career.

“Becoming a part of this amazing group of FAITH Scholars is one of the most important achievements in my life. As someone who has a passion for STEM and a deep appreciation for both my Greek roots and Orthodox Christian faith, I am humbled and beyond grateful for this award and am privileged to be a part of something truly amazing,” said George Tsakalakos, a freshman physics major at Emory University who received the FAITH scholarship in 2019. FAITH was founded in 2004 with the core mission to promote an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith, Hellenism and excellence among young people through a series of high quality, innovative educational programs and cultural initiatives. For more information, their website is

by Athena Efter At ju s t 2 8 y e a r s o l d , G e or g e Petrocheilos is already running a private equity firm with over 250M assets under management. With offices in Baltimore and Washington, DC, and now in New York, Catalio Capital Management LP is ready for the next phase of its rapid growth.

George Petrocheilos Spins Catalio Capital Management into Biotech Breakthroughs

President-Elect Joe Biden and George Co-Founder and Managing Partner George Petrocheilos hails from Athens, Greece, and came to the US in 2009 to study at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his degree in Financial Economics. There he served as President of the Johns Hopkins Hellenic Association, where he was active in promoting Hellenism. While he was at Hopkins, George became close with leading Greek-Americans in Baltimore like Aris Melissaratos, a leading executive at Westinghouse C or p or at i on and t he l ate Joh n Paterakis, Sr., the founder of H&S Bakery, Inc. whose mentorship and guidance played an influential role in his professional development. Fresh out of college, George made it to The Baltimore Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list of winners at just the age of 22.

John Catsimatidis Jr. and George Petrocheilos 34


George Petrocheilos, George Tsunis, John P. Angelos

It’s no wonder then that he would continue to rise the ranks to eventually form Catalio Capital Management, as Co-Founder and Managing Partner, along with Dr. R. Jacob Vogelstein who holds a Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Prior to Catalio, both George and Jacob were General Partners at Camden Partners Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm that spun out of T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ: TROW), where they launched its life sciences division.

is their inclusion of an elite group of world-class scientists with p r i m a r y a c a d e m i c appointment in the General Partnership. The y are als o s e r i a l entrepreneurs; each having

George with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen

"It is incredibly rewarding to be able to directly partner with the world’s most successful scientist-entrepreneurs to translate their basic research into commercial ventures that enhance the lives of millions of patients around the globe. We truly believe that investment in the life sciences and biotechnology sectors has never been more critical and we continue to see an incredible opportunity for growth in these businesses.” With science pumping through their veins and a vested interest in life sciences, they joined forces and started their own company devoted to biomedical technology investments that will lead the next wave of breakthrough drugs, devices and diagnostics. The company was launched in 2020 and was conceived with the Greek word for catalyst, Catalio, in mind. A unique aspect of the fund

founded a couple of continue his mission. Finance, science, and biotech companies. New York seem to be the perfect life science match. Catalio's move to New York is the next logical George wants to make an impact on human step for the firm. lives globally. Having been exposed to all the Since its inception, depth of technology and science happening at Catalio has invested Johns Hopkins, he became intrigued by the in 250 high growth idea of financing biomedical technology l i f e s c i e n c e s growth: “Science is making an impact on our companies, and raised over 250 million dollars. This rapid growth prompted the next big move. George knows that there is a lot of talent in New York, and he wants to reach that talent with his firm. New York might be going through a rough patch now, with the Covid 19 pandemic, but that is all the more reason for George to

Catalio Capital Management Co-Founders Dr. Jacob Vogelstein and George Petrocheilos

Christos & Kiki Petrocheilos, George Petrocheilos, Jayne Plank, Aris Melissaratos

lives everyday through new breakthroughs that are needed to improve human lives.” He wants to help make the quality of life better for as many people as possible by investing in the best breakthrough biomedical technology companies that will bring their drugs, devices, and diagnostics to millions of patients around the world. Catalio invests in companies at all stages of development, from company formation to IPO. Investments include liquid biopsy companies Thrive Earlier Detection (that got acquired by EXACT Sciences in October for over 2 billion dollars) and Freenome, drug discovery company Recursion Pharma, COVER STORY

NOV/DEC 2020


Greek-Cypriot businessman and philanthropist, for his friendship and mentorship on many issues affecting Greece and Cyprus by emphasizing advocacy and public policy.

John Catsimatidis Jr., Ted Leonsis, George Petrocheilos, Zach Leonsis

mental health-start up COMPASS Pathways (NASDAQ: CMOS), which went public in S eptember and monoclonal antibody treatment firm AbCelllera (NASDAQ: ABCL), that went public earlier this month.

investment firm of renowned investor Stan Druckenmiller.

George with Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Roula Paterakis and the late John Paterakis, Sr.

Dr. Freda Lewis Hall, recently retired Chief Medical officer and Executive Vice President of Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) also came on board Catalio earlier this month as their newest Venture Partner. George and Dr. Vogelstein remarked that “It is incredibly rewarding to be able to directly partner with the world’s most successful scientist-entrepreneurs to translate their basic research into commercial ventures that enhance the lives of millions of patients around the globe. We truly believe that i nv e s t m e nt i n t h e l i f e s c i e n c e s a n d biotechnology sectors has never been more critical and we continue to see an incredible opportunity for growth in these businesses.”

Archbishop Demetrios and George Petrocheilos upon being inducted into the Leadership 100 Key Members of the leadership team include its Chairman Edward J. Mathias, who played a key role in the founding of The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and a member of its Board of Directors up until his 2019; along with General Partners and investment Committee Members Tom V. Brooks and Dr. Kenan Turnacioglu. Prior to joining Catalio, Tom served as an executive for Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and later as Vice Chairman & Executive Vice President for Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG). Dr. Turnacioglu cofounded long short equity hedge fund PointState Capital, LP in 2011, from which he retired in 2018. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Investments at Duquesne Capital, the 36


When asked about innovation in Greece, George is very optimistic, and emphasized the phenomenal work of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his administration. In his own efforts, George is a member of the board of the Hellenic Innovation Network at MIT’s Enterprise Forum, whose goal is to help connect Greek start-ups in the US. His interest in Hellenic issues is one that also comes with strong civic minded awareness. He is a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), led by Endy Zemenides, whose mission is a commitment to the ideals of democracy, rule of law, and philanthropy. He was very grateful to the late Nikos Mouyiaris, the cofounder of HALC and a prominent

George also serves on the Board of the Trustees for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a Johns Hopkins Medicine affiliate, that focuses on improving the lives of children with neurological disorders and developmental disabilities. His commitment personally and professionally to improving quality of life for patients worldwide, through investing in breakthrough biomedical technolog y companies, is the science of the future. At just 28 years old, with the recent successful fund close, he’s way ahead, racing through the catalyst stage.

Anthony Liveris, George Petrocheilos, John Catsimatidis Jr., Diamantis Xylas

United We Stand: Lera Bracelet Initiative Co-Founders Ellen Efkarpidis and Aphrodite Dimopoulos

by C. Salboudis

Ellen Efkarpidis protesting against racism in Mineola, Long Island A shout-out to Hellenic Young Professionals Ellen Efkarpidis and Aphrodite Dimopoulos for their admirable L.E.R.A. bracelet awareness initiative. The L.E.R.A. (Learn, Educate, Respond and Act) initiative was established in response to the Black Lives Matter activities surrounding the recent George Floyd incident. Since the 1800s, the minority Greek American and African American populations have banded together in solidarity against intolerance and inequality. For decades before the Civil Rights Movement -- and in the many years since the ministries of Archbishop Iakovos of America (1959-1996) and Dr. Martin Luther King (1955-1968) -- we’ve worked towards the common goals of social inclusivity and justice. In the words of NEO Magazine’s very own Demetrios Rhompotis, real life examples of the unity between these two cultural groups have taught us that “tests in school prove our grasp of various subjects; life and its collective challenges prove our valor and dignity as human beings.” Time and again, individual heroes and organizations in our community have reached out to secure and preserve the fundamental principles of equality that are at the heart of the American vision “Liberty and Justice For All.” Each manifestation The L.E.R.A. bracelet of courage that unfolds through initiatives like this one serve as examples to inspire heightened sensitivity and understanding of what active equality looks like today, where the gaps are, and what work we n e e d to j oi n to ge t h e r to accomplish for this and future generations. In the midst of concerns over online instruction and other pandemic-related issues, these young women have taken a stand to identify a positive community-building opportunity and took action to make the world a better place. While decorative, the bracelets also serve as a prompt to search our own internal bias and determine positive steps towards accountability and empathy for all our brothers and sisters both here and around the world. “For those wearing the bracelet it has become a subtle and constant reminder of empathy and compassion towards others, with luck that will continue to grow,” Efkarpidis said. “We also hope the bracelets sparks productive and positive conversations about important issues of what it means to support one another.” 46


Ellen Efkarpidis, News12 Reporter Danielle Campbell and Aphrodite Dimopoulos It is remarkable to see how the social disruption has motivated the young founders of this initiative (Schreiber High School Class of 2021) to establish a fundraising strategy that will lead to better sensitivity training and charitable support of our cultures, which have been united for so long. Proceeds from bracelet sales will be split between Campaign Zero, The Innocence Project and The National Police Accountability Project, each of which has set a goal to reform the criminal justice system and police departments. To get your LERA Bracelet and support this initiative, visit


continues to support endeavors that encourage the creation of startups, COVID-19 has focused its attention on helping existing firms survive the new crisis. Talented, energetic young people with goods and services businesses are now finding themselves cashstarved in the pandemic, and THI has stepped in with material and moral support.

In order to provide immediate economic stimulus to enterprises that are simultaneously creating jobs and helping people on the ground in Greece, the Charles Condes Venture Impact Award (VIA) has been e s t a b l i s h e d by T h e He l l e n i c Initiative, with the support of the Helidoni Foundation and a $500,000 donation from the estate of Charles C. Condes.

The VIA will award annual cash prizes of $25K each to companies producing returns while having a measurable social impact. Harriette Condes Zervakis was motivated to make the donation by her uncle’s deep love for Greece, and her personal concern about the impact of brain drain on Greece. His views were shared by his late, lovely wife Phyllis “It has been alarming to see thousands of bright young Hellenes forced to leave their homeland and to take their talents elsewhere,” she commented. “I was happy to find an organization like THI that is addressing this critical issue.” The awards will be presented at a special online event on December 17, 2020. “Though born and raised in Chicago, Uncle Charles held a special place in his heart for Greek history, culture, and language, along with faith that the Greek people are by nature resilient, innovative, and enterprising. The VIA Awards are in line with his vision.”

Charles C. Condes was the son of Greek immigrants from Laconia and Arcadia. Upon completing his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Charles was drafted, serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a meteorologist who was attached to the Royal Air Force. After the war, Charles worked as a consultant in the private sector and was later recruited for the position of Bridge Design Engineer for the City of Chicago. “He designed the machinery that raised many of the iconic bridges over the Chicago River,” said his niece, Harriette Condes Zervakis. Charles C. Condes served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II as a meteorologist

In addition, he made numerous successful investments, and turned his attention to philanthropic endeavors. His legacy continues to have a positive impact in the United States and Greece. While THI

George P. Stamas, THI Board President said that “THI invested in Greece’s promising startup community during the Greek crisis. The success of those young firms validated our approach and made us proud. Now that they face the COVID, we have doubled down on our support with the VIA. This generous gift from The Charles C. Condes Trust will help bolster promising Greek companies.” Peter J. Poulos, THI’s Executive Director stated: “Since we could not organize physical events this year we decided to create the Venture Impact Award in order to support startups in need of capital who are also making an impact on society. With the gift from the Estate of Charles Condes we will be able to make a real difference”.

Hellenic Relief Foundation Raises Funds for Greece phone center, the multi-hour broadcast presented the stories of the beneficiaries of the H.R.F.'s monthly distributions, the volunteers who ensure the organization's mission is executed on a monthly basis, and shared the messages of support from the former President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and Mrs. Pavlopoulos, noted Greek artists, including Anna Fonsou, Angela Dimitriou, Lefteris Pantazis, Antypas, and Dimitris Kontolazos, as well as the Consuls General of New York of both Greece and Cyprus. The show also presented noted members of the community, from Greek Orthodox priests of various communities and other religious organizations (Philoptochos), to leaders of various cultural organizations (syllogoi) to philanthropic organizations, such as AHEPA, all giving their endorsement of the work that the H.R.F. has done, and will continue to accomplish.

With donations still coming in, the Hellenic Relief Foundation has surpassed the $55,000 mark in support from its first-ever live radiomarathon which aired on Hellas FM and livestreamed worldwide on Thursday, December 3rd. The eight-hour fundraising show, aimed it's efforts to raise money for its vital food distribution program and social services during the COVID-19 pandemic for Over 230 individuals, cultural organizations, the Christmas season and beyond. businesses, and more contributed to the radiomarathon by donating in person, over the With Hellas FM President Nikos Fillas and phone, on the Hellenic Relief website, and on host Dimitris Filippidis at the helm, alongside Facebook. The H.R.F. also wants to thank all H.R.F. board members Kostas Zachariadis the volunteers present that day, as well as all and Dean Efkarpidis in studio, and H.R.F. the Hellas FM team and H.R.F. family who board member Anna Eliopoulos leading the made the day a major success.

Donations are still being accepted at The Hellenic Relief Foundation Inc. is a non profit organization (501(c)3) and was founded in 2012, with the goal of raising funds in the United States to be used towards the purchase of food items, and other basic necessities for the underprivileged in Greece that have increased in numbers due to the current crisis. To date, around 700,000 dollars have been remitted, and with donations within Greece, as well as volunteered saocial and medicinal services, the true value of the aid is roughly 1.5 million dollars. The expenses of the HRF are covered by board members. For more information their website is

Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois Foundation: Continuing the Legacy Celebrating 70-year commitment to education and Hellenism Immediate Past President Vicki Pappas Karl Kapsalis is a third-year student at University of received an award for her service to HBA. “I’m Illinois College of Law and ranks in the top 10% of proud to be part of this organization that’s committed to serving the Greek-American legal community through scholarships, continuing education, and providing legal services for the indigent of our community through Hel.LAS (Hellenic Legal Assistance Services).” The organization awarded six $10,000 awards to deserving Greek-American law students. “The past several years, we have been able to obtain matching donations for every dollar raised, doubling our giving power. The Hellenic Bar is proud to continue this legacy to preserving our commitment to education and Hellenism by helping law students further their education and become the future leaders of our community,” said Fournier. The 2020 HBAF Scholarship Recipients are Eleni Eliopoulos, Haridimos Kouklakis, James Heracklis, Christos Kapsalis, Nicole Mouzakiotis, and Maria Palivos.

Eliopoulos, a second-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Dr. Dimitrios Kyriazopoulos, founder of the United Law School, is also a Nikos Mouyiaris 2030 Hellenic Voters of America with current National Leadership Fellow with the Hellenic American Supreme Chairman Kiki StamAtiou Whitehead, Leadership Council (HALC). As a HALC fellow, received the the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award she has traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress for strong foreign policy with Greece, his class. He’s Articles Editor for the University of Cyprus, and Israel. Illinois Law Review, a participant in the moot Hellenic Bar Association President Koula Alevizos court program, and an intern for the Illinois Fournier (right) presents an award to Immediate Past Attorney General’s office. He has also worked at President Vicki Pappas Karl for her service to the the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau; at organization Meyer Capel, P.C. in Champaign, Ill.; and at the United States District Court for the Northern HBA, one of the largest and most successful ethnic District of Illinois. bar associations in the United States, has a longheld commitment to the legal community. A second-year student at DePaul University Founded in 1951 as a professional and social College of Law, Mouzakiotis also ranks in the top organization, the group quickly evolved into a 10% of her class. She’s a staffer of DePaul Law force for electing Greek-American judges to the Review, a teaching assistant, and vice director of judiciary. One year later, Member James Chelos marketing for the Jaharis Health Law Institute. She became the first elected Greek-American judge in has worked as a legal extern for Walgreens Cook County, Ill. Since then, dozens of their Corporation; a legal intern at Blitt & Gaines Law members have been elected or appointed to the Firm in Wheeling, Ill.; and interned at the Rustjudiciary. At its inception, the greater percentage Oleum Corporation. of their members were solo or small firm practitioners. Today their diverse membership Palivos, a second-year student at DePaul includes attorneys representing all areas of law, in University College of Law, is on the Dean’s List; government, judiciary, and corporations, plus received the highest grade in legal writing; and is small, regional, and international firms. Through on the staff of Loyola University Chicago Law the HBAF, the organization gives back to the Journal. Currently, she’s a law clerk at Romanucci community through annual scholarships for law Well-known businessman, philanthropist, and youth students of Hellenic descent and educational advocate John G. Manos is the 2020 Hellene of the Year & Blandin. She has interned at the Illinois Appellate Court in Chicago and at the United events for both current and future attorneys, including a Law Day Essay Contest for elementary Kouklakis is a third-year law student at DePaul States District Court for the Northern District of school students. University College of Law. As a proud AHEPAn, Illinois with the Honorable Charles P. Kocoras. he co-founded the Sons of Pericles (SOP) According to its president, HBA wanted to do Bloomington, Ind. and founded the Merrillville, As part of the HBAF tradition, each year the event something special to commemorate the event’s Ind. chapters. During his undergrad years, he honors distinguished members of the community. 70th year, to make it memorable. “Basile the served as president and vice president of the “Awards are presented to prominent members of Comedian hosted the event. He attended law Hellenic Student Association. the Greek-American community who embody school, so he has insight into the legal profession. Plus, he relates to the audience,” Fournier said. Third-year student at the Illinois Institute of the unwavering commitment and dedication to Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law supp or t ing and advancing t he Hel lenic The pre-show cocktail hour featured Basile in a Heracklis is the editor for the school’s Journal of community,” added Fournier. live interactive improv comedy that segued into Intellectual Property. He’s involved with the the main event. His Eminence Metropolitan Chicago-Kent IP Clinic, and is president of the John G. Manos is the 2020 Hellene of the Year. Nathanael offered the invocation, then extended Hellenic Law Student Association. He is also a Archon Eutaxias and Archon Co-commander for congratulations to the honorees. Patent Agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark the Metropolis of Chicago, he is a well-known businessman, philanthropist, and youth advocate. Office. 50



In 2020, many organizations canceled events or turned to technology. The Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois (HBA) is no exception. On November 7, their charitable arm, Hellenic Bar Association Foundation by Maria A. (HBAF) hoste d a v ir tu a l Karamitsos* v e r s i o n o f t h e i r a n n u a l Scholarship Ball. “We wanted everyone to still enjoy the event but be able to do so in the comfort of their homes. Our commitment to financially assist law students of Hellenic descent remains steadfast,” said Koula Alevizos Fournier, HBA president.

The United Hellenic Voters of America (UHVA) and Founder Dr. Dimitrios Kyriazopoulos received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. K., as he is known, established UHVA in 1974, as a nonpartisan grassroots political organization serving the Greek-American community in the Chicago metropolitan area. The group is dedicated to addressing issues vital to the GreekAmerican community by actively participating in political and community affairs. Additionally, they strive to forge close relationships with elected officials. Today he serves as its honorary National Supreme Chairman. “Dr. K.’s vision for UHVA brings together GreekAmericans to provide them a platform to be represented,” said Kiki Stamatiou Whitehead, Dr. K.’s stepdaughter and the group’s current National Supreme Chairman. “Our group is unique, as we are nonpartisan. This allows us to choose candidates that best represent our community. We choose people, not parties.” Handbag Designer Annie Diamantis received the 2020 Professional Achievement Award

A retired senior professor at DePaul University where he taught for more than 40 years, Dr. K. has served in leadership positions in the AmericanHellenic Organization, United Hellenic American Congress, and AHEPA. He’s listed in the Who’s Who among Hellenic American Leaders and Hel lenes of t he World.

individuals. Her background as a CPA informs her work. Demeros is among the 2020 Notable Women of Law, named by Crain’s Chicago Business. In 2010, Law Bulletin Publishing Company named her among the “Top Forty Lawyers Under 40 to Watch.” For the past six consecutive years, she’s been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer and in 2014, Chicago Magazine recognized her as a “Five Star Professional” for estate planning. She currently serves as a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the Accounting Department of Loyola University of Chicago. Demeros also serves many community organizations. She’s among the legal advisors to The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and is an inaugural member of the Order of Myrrhbearing Women, a women-led initiative of the Metropolis. “I know that I would not have achieved the professional successes I have achieved without my family and my community. My parents instilled in my siblings and me the love of Hellenism, the Orthodox Faith, the importance of education and hard work. And while this award has my name on it, what it stands for and the road leading to my professional achievements, equally belong to my parents, and I can’t thank them enough for their sacrifices and guidance,” Demeros said.nShe expressed important words of

The for mer president of t he Pancret an Association of America established the PAA Mentorship Program to provide youth guidance and assistance as they apply to and complete their academic studies, to provide access to internships, and lead them to job opportunities. His dedication to youth and education is also evident in his role as trustee of the Pan Hellenic S cholarship 2 0 2 0 Foundation. Manos received the Ellis Island T h e Medal of Honor in 2015. His list of accolades and P r o f e s s i o n a l Achievement awards is numerous. Award recipient is “It is not I who deserves this award for Hellene of Designer Annie the Year, for all I have strived to do is continue and Diamantidis. For mimic the work of my aunt, my parents, and the h e r c o m p a n y , Annie Handbags, she creates h a n d c r a f t e d The Hellenic Bar Association Foundation awarded six $10,000 scholarships to deserving handb ag s ma d e law students. The 2020 scholarship recipients are, L-to-R: Christos Kapsalis, Nicole f rom lu x u r i o u s Mouzakiotis, Eleni Eliopoulos, Maria Palivos, Haridimos Kouklakis, and James Heracklis m at e r i a l s , including exotic crocodile, python, ostrich, and advice for our youth. “To everyone in the next stingray, featuring bold colors and 14K gold generation of Greek-Americans, please always hardware. In homage to her Greek roots, her remember, no matter how successful you become, creations are named after Greek Goddesses. Her never forget your Faith, your family, and your bags have caught the attention of celebrities like Hellenic roots.” Angelina Jolie, and have become “red carpet go-to handbags”. Her collections are sold in luxury Proceeds from the event and the silent auction will boutiques and hotels nationwide. Her handbags apply to next year’s scholarship awards. have been featured on hit TV shows like ‘Billions’ and ‘Gossip Girl’. Recently, she appeared as a For more information about Hellenic Bar handbag expert on the new hit reality TV show, Asso ciation of Illinois, their website is ‘Hardcore Pawn’. She has partnered with several charities including Bear Necessities, which helps fight pediatric cancer; Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation, which aims to discover, develop, and implement effective new treatments *) Maria A. Karamitsos has been a positive voice in for cancer patients; and Save A Mother Greek media since 2002. She was the Founder, Foundation, that helps reduce childhood Publisher, & Editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. The Hellenic Bar Association Lawyer of the Year mortality in the villages it has served. “I’m For 10 years, she served as the Associate Editor & is Georgia Loukas Demeros, a partner at the law firm humbled and honored to be recognized and Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her of Thompson Coburn LLP in Chicago rewarded as a distinguished member of the Greek- work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, American community for preserving Greek The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Greeks who built the Hellenic community in heritage through my work as a handbag designer,” Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, America. It was through their example that I Diamantidis said. “Dream big, know that anything KPHTH magazine, XPAT ATHENS, and more. learned how to support Hellenism. If we want to is possible if you work hard to achieve it.” Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown preserve Hellenism, we all must now take time and Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area do the work to make sure our Faith and culture is Lawyer of the Year is Georgia Loukas Demeros. A Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of instilled in our youth. Now we must step up and partner at the law firm of Thompson Coburn LLP Hellenism Literary Journal. She's working on her 1st pay it forward. Pay it forward to them by in Chicago, she serves as an estate planning novel. Learn more at supporting their studies, goals, and ambitions advisor and personal general counsel to closelywhile keeping them connected and tied to our held businesses, business leaders, and other Greek Orthodox Faith and our rich heritage,” said Manos. NEWS & NOTES

NOV/DEC 2020


The Hellenic Initiative's First-Ever Virtual Gala Raises $1.6M to Aid Greece Greeks from around the world united in fervent support of Greece's economic recovery and provided recordTHI Board President breaking donations for crisis relief at the firstGeorge P. Stamas ever Virtual Gala of The Hellenic Initiative on November 12, 2020. "Phila nthropy, from the Greek root philanthrōpia — in Greek, φιλανθρωπία — was on active and continuous display last night," THI Board P r e s i d e nt G e o r g e P. THI Board Chairman Stamas said, "when the Andrew N. Liveris Greek diaspora came together to raise $1.6 million, a remarkable sum given that our Gala was virtual." THI Board C h a i r m a n Andrew N. Liveris said, “This pandemic is going to be with us for a while, so doing a virtual gala is in our DNA. It is in our DNA to be part of the George Stephanopoulos r e s p o n s e mechanism and show resilience. It is what Hel l e ne s are. A l l ou r anc e stors and predecessors, all the people that are inhabiting the islands and the mainland of Greece today know that we do thrive and survive and make things happen in times of need. Stand tall THI, stand tall philhellenes, stand tall Hellenes. We will get through this and we will come out of it stronger than ever before.” Despite the hurdles inherent in any vir tual fundraiser, Greeks and philhellenes the world over tuned in not only to watch, but to t a k e p a r t b y Sakis Rouvas pledging funds to aid their mother country. Funds raised will provide pandemic relief and help Greek businesses and entrepreneurs who took a huge hit when travel restrictions devastated Greece’s all-important travel industry. Greek tourism, a sector normally recession- and disaster-proof, had just begun recovering 52


from years of financial difficulty when tourism slowed. Prime Minister of the Hellenic R e p u b l i c Ky r i a k o s Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, THI M i t s o t a k i s , addressing the Executive Committee Member global audience, said, “For the last eight years, THI has been at the forefront of helping Hellenes in need and investing in a new Greece and in fantastic job c r e a t i o n pro g r ams , l i ke ReGeneration and t h e Ve n t u r e Imp ac t Award. This gala is, of course, the largest fundraising event Archbishop Elpidophoros i n t h e g l o b a l of America Greek diaspora. But it also helps to build partnership and knowledge, sharing between two communities, separated by geography, but united by identity and history. That help has been invaluable — and unprecedented.”

Co-hosted from Athens by popular Greek singer/ac tor Sakis Rouvas, w ho als o performed, and from New York City by ABC News Chief Anchor & Political Correspondent and Greek American George Ste phanop ou l o s , t he e ve nt i nclu d e d performances and messages from well-known Greeks and Greeks from the d i a s p o r a , i n c lu d i n g R it a Wilson and Christos Mastoras who performed a duet, beloved Greek singer Nana Mouskouri, indie sensation M o n i k a , Nia Vardalos singer/songwriter Marina Satti aka SATTI, and the Greek Youth Symphony Orchestra. THI organize d both luxury and charitable auction items that, particularly this year, focused on giving to those in need. Charitable auction items i n c l u d e d Diane Kochilas programs for hunger relief, health and social welfare support, and vocational training. As in prior years, Greek artists, food and wine purveyors, luxury destinations, and fashion and jewelry designers from around the world also came together to donate items.

THI Executive Director Peter Poulos noted that this year’s event proved challenging yet rewarding. "So many philhellenes and Greeks from around the world heeded the call for support and together we hit a real home run for investment in Greece. Thanks to robust board leadership and a dedicated staff, results exceeded our greatest expectations," Poulos said. "The unseen Founded in 2012, benefit in going THI is a global, virtual was that it nonprofit, secular enabled people institution internationally to mobi lizing t he stream our event. Greek diaspora More over, and philhellene speakers and community to entertainers didn’t s u p p o r t Peter Diamandis, Founder need to be on sustainable and Chairman of the XPrize hand in New York Nana Mouskouri e c o n o m i c Foundation City or London to recovery and participate.” renewal for the Greek people. THI's programs address crisis relief through strong nonprofit Titled “Radiate: The Hellenic Initiative Virtual organizations and build entrepreneurial skills Gala,” the event served as a vibrant call to in a new generation of business leaders. Since action, illuminating innovation as well as the 2012, THI has committed or distributed $5.7 strength, and resiliency of Greece by sharing million in direct crisis relief and $10.1 million the emotional accounts of the challenges i n e c o n o m i c a n d e n t r e p r e n e u r i a l charities are facing on the ground as well as the development. Last year's Gala raised more success stories of startups across different than $2.2 million, making it the most economic sectors for which THI provides key successful fundraising event in the Greek support. diaspora globally. For more information, their website is



Endy Zemenides is the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), a national advocacy organization for the Greek American community. To learn more about HALC, visit

FOOL ME ONCE. . . By Endy Zemenides Almost like clockwork, the Erdogan regime and its enablers in the United States switched from rhetorically assaulting candidate Joe Biden (in August, Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin accused Biden of “ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy” and told him “You will pay the price”) to courting Presidentelect Joe Biden. Perhaps encouraged by the presence of certain individuals with a history of appeasing Turkey on the transition team or by overly diplomatic tweets by Biden advisors that he was “glad to see Turkey signaling an openness to dialogue with the next administration”, Turkey is setting itself up for a fresh start with the Biden Administration.

President Obama’s second term, almost immediately after Erdogan’s 2013 visit to the White House. The Turkish government’s crackdown following Gezi Park and its purge after the 2016 coup occurred with Joe Biden as Vice President and Tony Blinken at the State Department. It was enough for President Obama to decry Erdogan as “a failure and an authoritarian” in his final interview with Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic. Turkey’s crackdown on civil society during the Obama years was enough for the former President – who, during his first term spoke more to Erdogan than to any other world leader – to make this observation in his memoir A Promised Land: “But whenever I listed to [Erdogan] speak. . .I got the strong impression that his commitment to democracy and the rule of law might last only as long as it preserved his own power.”

Ankara is once more employing one of its typical tactics – rolling out Turkey apologists in American op-ed pages. The midDecember Washington Post opinion by Asli Aydintasbas entitled “Trump lost Turkey. Here’s how Biden could restore the crucial Despite this rhetoric, there was no holding relationship” is an egregious example of such Turkey to account for human rights disingenuous spin. violations by the Obama Administration. Aydintasbas notes the efforts of the Trump Aydintasbas is a senior fellow at the European Administration to secure the release of Council on Foreign Relations, a pro-Turkey Andrew Brunson, but fails to mention that hotspot that churns out spin for Ankara from the Obama Administration had started those the likes of Carl Bidlt and Nathalie Tocci. efforts and merely failed to be as forceful as Aydintasbas latest contribution to the ECFR’s Trump, who imposed limited sanctions on poppycock on Turkey includes a particularly Turkey. Unsurprisingly, he completely avoids cynical talking point – one perhaps designed discussion of Obama’s State Department to appeal to the Biden team’s commitment to i g n o r i n g t h e U S C o m m i s s i o n o n fix global relationships damaged during the I n t e r n a t i o n a l R e l i g i o u s F r e e d o m’s Trump years: “If it wasn’t for Trump, I doubt designation of Turkey as a “country of the Turkish leader would have purchased the particular concern” (the designation for the S-400 or so greatly expanded his attacks on worst human rights violators in the world) in 2012. Turkish civil society and human rights.”

signaling from the Trump Administration. It is true that President Trump’s rhetoric on the issue was horrible, and the work of Turkey’s top appeaser in the US government – Ambassador Jim Jeffrey – probably gave Turkey a false sense of security, there were counter vailing signals as well. From Congress you had: the passage of CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act); constant pressure – both in terms of legislation and Congressional rhetoric – for the application of CAATSA s a n c t i o n s . D u r i n g t h e Tr u m p Administration, the Pentagon and the State Department made it clear that activation of the S-400s would never be accepted in Washington. Turkey was ejected from the F35 program. So Aydintasbas’ assertion that there was no pushback during the Trump years is just not credible. The truth is that mixed signaling – and therefore bad signaling – is a bi-partisan tradition in Washington. The gradual “reset” that Aydintasbas argues for will continue that inane and counterproductive tradition. He argues for an “S-400 compromise”; there is no reason to trust Erdogan on any “compromise”. He has demonstrated that he can play for time. The U.S. only stands to lose in any solution short of the S-400s being given back or destroyed.

The US has finally signaled that accountability will be the watchword for Turkish-American relationships rather than accommodation, or worse yet, appeasement. We must be on the lookout for those like Aydintasbas and his colleagues, who resists The latter claim on human rights is Aydintasbas goes on to incorrectly (and holding Turkey accountable. particularly disingenuous. After all, Turkey’s deceptively) lay complete blame for Turkey main assault on that front began during going ahead with the S-400 purchase on bad

Nic Faitos

the magnitude of orders. Five years later, he decided to start his own fulfillment venture in 1991. By the year 2 0 0 0 it g re w to 6 5 e mpl oye e s an d h a s maintained 25 years of solid, sustained growth, and has been ver y successful in all aspects.

Nic Faitos of Starbright: from Finance to Florals Nic Faitos took his years of marketing and advertising experience on Wall Street to stock out of finance and stock up on perennials. In 1991 he ventured out to start his own ad agency, and instead found himself stopping and smelling the roses literally. With friends and clients in the floral industry, Nic decided to start his own fulfillment company in what was primarily still, at that time, an inbound market. For 25 years, Nic and his team have been bringing beautiful, fresh flowers, sourced locally and from afar, to various company lobbies and reception areas throughout New York City. Located in the Chelsea area of NYC’s famed flower district, Starbright Floral Design offers customcurated flowers that are designed with you, your needs, your home, your office, or your event in mind. They offer sameday delivery to NYC and beyond.

Wit h t he C ov i d - 1 9 pandemic the company has had to refocus and rethink its strategy. His son Stephen, who is also his business partner, and other key employees, are taking this time to by Athena Efter consider the future and how they will adapt to the changes taking place as a result of the health crisis. In May, for example, they saw an increase in individual orders for the Mother’s Day holiday, after having been a go-to f lorist for with big institutions and companies throughout the city. With offices closed and many components needed to serve their extensive client base, they were able to sustain themselves through an increase in individual orders.

Home offices are now part of the new normal. Why not make your environment less drab and more colorful with a weekly or monthly delivery of fresh and seasonal floral designs, and a healthy dose of aromatherapy? Many flowers and plants have natural healing properties that could create a healthy environment When Nic, short for for those who work Nicodemus, first started at home, not to his business, he had a mention the couple of friends in the excitement of floral industry. It was receiving a f resh still an inbound market. b o u q u e t o r Outbound marketing arrangement of that included outreach flowers at your door. to hotels and larger One thing is certain. business was very Flowers make limited, so he started to everyone’s day a little cold call companies. He b r i g h t e r. M a n y would speak to human human res ources resources departments departments at and start getting orders of f ices recognize in from companies like now that the future American Express and office is both a Ernst &Young. This was hybrid of home during the time of office and regular b r i e f c a s e s , b i g Stephen Faitos office. They still want cellphones the size of bricks, and all orders placed via fax. His to reward their employees for their hard work business model involved sub-contracting through employee appreciation gifts. Flowers from local florists, but as business grew so did are a great way way to do that. 56


Starbright is used to larger volume orders, so fresh flowers arrive every 48 hours. They have relationships with various vendors and farmers locally and globally to bring you seasonal flowers. Their relationships with small businesses and enterprises helps them give back into the workplace. Nic lives part of the year in Greece and is an active member of the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Greece. He is also very active in the Greek Division of the Ronald McDonald House. One of his charitable contributions is to collect the flowers he provides for events and disperse them around the Ronald McDonald House, and sends flowers to Gilda’s Club, a cancer support community.

Fueled by a passion for the artistry of flowers, quality, and customer service, Nic and his Starbright team strive to bring you the best in floral design, whether it’s your office, a wedding, a birthday gift, an appreciation of thanks, or a “just because”. You can always count on your order arriving on time with the freshest blooms and greens. Their style is cutting edge, modern to elegant, and traditional. They have a versatile style and design team ready to work with your taste and convey feelings that can’t always be adequately expressed through other gifts. In an evolving world that continues to look towards greener ways of sustainability, Starbright also wants to lead the way for eco friendly alternatives in the floral industry here in New York City. Starbright is currently in the planning stages of sustainability to eliminate plastic and offer more biodegradable options. They are teaming up with the Garbage Goddess, whose mission is to turn waste into biodegradable compost, to start this initiative. He hopes to encourage other florists to do the same. Other programs he’s looking to create involve recycling and repurposing vases. With your contribution to this effort you will receive a free bouquet of flowers. For more information on Starbright, their website is

Turkey rejecting the post-Lausanne order means by Dimitris Eleas*

War is coming

opposes the construction of EastMed, the pipeline that will be built jointly by Israel, Cyprus and Greece, and via Italy, it will transport the natural gas to Europe. The agreed pipeline is also a response to the Turkey-Libya provocative deal. Another such response is the other mega project of the electrical interconnection of Crete with Israel via Cyprus. And in the air, things are not better; Turkey's warplanes not only violate Greek airspace, but thrive in the Aegean as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Hellenic Air Force is hitting the air daily –training the Turkish pilots– but Turkey, cunningly with the dogfights, it manages to pass on an innocent mouse and cat game. With so many violations, the Turks are seeking to create a grey zone regime all over the Aegean Sea, something they have been trying to do since the 1996 Imia Crisis. Turks generally do what they can to humiliate their neighbours.

Turkey is a country with a large population and great ambition. Although in recent years, economically speaking it has been marching in the footsteps of Argentina with high inflation and volatile economy.Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done wonders, backed by a large section of the Turkish society. At the same time, is an elected Sultan with "madness of greatness", as Le Monde once wrote. Mr Erdogan is planning the future carefully and from time to time, with such charisma that few politicians have, from balconies blames in speeches for all the misfortunes of Turkey the Greeks! Or, Mr Erdogan sits comfortably in a golden armchair and goes live on Turkish television, in order to give an interview and talk about "Blue Homeland", as this is how Turkey describes its maritime zones. Showing maps too, with revised borders. Modern Turkey in its foreign policy is behaving towards its neighbouring countries as if they were still provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is also known for its confrontations with Israel. It treats the eastern Mediterranean Sea as one private lake inside a zoo. It is attacking Syria and this is a harbinger of other attacks. He converts Hagia Sophia from a museum (1934) to a mosque (2020). But what does modern-day Turkey really pursue? Isn't large enough a country that occupy on the planet 783,000 square kilometres? Turkey in two neighbouring countries is also exercising psychological violence. One country is Greece; the other country is Cyprus (only occupying the southern part of the island, after the Turkish invasion of the northern part in 1974). These countries have weakened political leaderships, and Greece in particular has suffered a lot after the 58


multilateral financial crisis of 2009-2018. Turkey, however is constantly in breach of its limits at sea and in the air. The Turks, too, underestimate the recent statements by U.S. Ambassador to Athens Geoffrey Pyatt, which are clear regarding the inhabited islands: "They have equal rights with the mainland", always based on international law and international practice. And maybe, let's just say, it's not only psychological violence and constant bullying, but the Greeks are directly threatened on a daily basis by Turkey, a NATO ally. Turkish diplomacy, a kind of "anti-diplomacy" in recent decades has repeatedly shown that it does not respect Greece and grossly violates Greece's rights to its own seas. Turkey does not even like to hear about the maritime zones of Greece (a de facto exercise of its sovereign rights). Turkey went into an agreement with the Libyan government on maritime borders without taking into account the islands of Crete, Rhodes, as well as the smaller Greek islands of Kastellorizo and Strongyli. Imagine if one would claim that Hawaii, the UK, and Ireland don't have Exclusive Economic Zone> In essence, Turkey signed (November 28, 2019) an agreement on "imaginary maritime bundary" with Libya, because if one reads the map carefully, he will see this absurdity immediately. Turkey does not respect the maritime zones of Cyprus either, especially after the natural gas deposits discovered there. It also plans, from time to time, to make its own drilling in Cypriot waters, but also in the area that “borders" with Libya. By exercising its military muscle, it wants to impose "co-operation and sharing" as far as it can in the Aegean Sea, in the Cypriot Sea and in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, Turkey

Turkey behaves like a drunk bigot who holds a knife in his hand –to mention the analyst Panagiotis Kondylis, who was studying, day and night, Thuc ydides and Carl von Clausewitz– and lifts it up (so the knife stays in the air). As it holds the knife, it continues to drink, shout, punch and kick right and left. Thus, countries like Greece, Cyprus and Armenia must find ways to stop this behaviour. They are mainly using diplomatic means to appease Turkey, which in turn is not appeased, and the futile policy that they follow is being read by Turkey as green light to continue psychologically blackmailing its neighbours. The United Nations, the United States, the European Union (led sadly by Germany, not France) and the international community must in turn find ways to intervene before it is too late for peace in the region, in the Balkans and in the world at large. One has to stop, the long hand holding the knife in the air, before it goes down and does big damage. Although the scenario of war was unlikely in the past, it is now closer and like a ghost hovering over the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Calming tensions is only a short-term solution since today’s Turkey rejects the post-Lausanne order. The Treaty of Lausanne was signed on July 24, 1923 and enabled decades of stability. The exact day of the anniversary in 2020, Hagia Sophia became a mosque again. The loud symbolism speaks for itself, and so far it is obvious that Turkey has done wonders to bring against her the Americans, the French, the Armenians, the Israelis, the Arabs, the Indians, and above all, the Greeks. The main historical rival of Turkey, Greece must prepare for the coming war w hich will b e anot her B att le of Thermopylae and Salamis. *Dimitris Eleas is a New York City-based writer and political activist. His writings in Greek language have appeared in books, journals and newspapers. You can contact him via his e-mail:

TURKEY: ERDOGAN THREATENS EUROPE by Uzay Bulut* Europe has once again been targeted with Macron added that Islam was "in crisis" and Islamist terror attacks. that he would fight "Islamist separatism" within the country. It was reported hat "the On October 16, Samuel Paty, a history teacher, government would present a bill in December was beheaded in Paris by an 18-year-old to strengthen a 1905 law that officially Chechen Muslim who acquired refugge status separated church and state in France. He in France this past March. The teacher was [Macron] announced stricter oversight of murdered after showing cartoons from schooling and better control over foreign Charlie Hebdo depicting Islam's prophet funding of mosques." Muhammad to his students, during a In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip discussion on freedom of expression. Erdogan remarked "What's the problem of the On October 29, three people were murdered individual called Macron with Islam and with and several others wounded in an Islamist the Muslims?... Macron needs mental knife attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de- treatment." He also called for a boycott of l'Assomption in Nice, France; one victim was French products and was supported in parliament by the ruling Justice and decapitated. Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist After the attack in Nice, France raised its Movement Party (MHP), the secular nationwide terror alert status to the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) "maximum emergency" level. Approximately and the Iyi Party. 4,000 military personnel were deployed to guard schools, churches, and other places of The Turkish government's hostile reaction to Europe is not new. Erdogan has been worship. threatening Europe and the rest of the West for In Vienna, on November 2, four more people several years. The ongoing crisis between were murdered and 22 injured (including a Turkey and Europe appears to stem from deep police officer) in another Islamist terror attack cultural and political differences between the that took place in six locations across the parties involved -- Europe that respects freedoms and Turkey that violates them. Austrian capital. After Paty's murder, French President Emmanuel Macron defended freedom of expression and freedom of religion: "Our compatriot was killed for teaching, for teaching children freedom of speech, freedom to believe, or not to believe. Our compatriot was the victim of a terrorist attack."

press freedom and jailing journalists. "When we wanted a list of those [jailed] journalists... they gave us one... The list includes everyone from murderers to thieves, from child abusers to swindlers. It is only journalists that are missing in the list." Erdogan stated that Turkey was sent a list containing the names of 149 [journalist] prisoners in Turkey and that the list was examined by the government. "144 people in the list are in jail due to terror-related crimes and four due to ordinary crimes." "What do these people have to do with journalism that you send this list to our country?," Erdogan continued. "We are aware of their real intentions. When it is about themselves, they have no problem shelving democracy, rights, freedoms, justice, and prosperity but when it comes to Turkey, they immediately put on a mask. We have also decided to treat those with masks like the bandits that they are. Indeed, if you have nothing to hide, why are you wearing a mask? Come out courageously and say 'I have issues with Turkey; I want it to get divided and fragmented' so everyone can know who is who. "If you open this dangerous road," he went on, "you will be the ones to be exposed to the greatest damage. As Turkey we call on the European countries to respect democracy, human rights and freedoms."

Freedom House lists Turkey as "Not free." According to a November 16 report by the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), at least 86 journalists and media workers are in After the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, the prison in Turkey, either in pre-trial detention authorities' crackdown on journalists critical or serving a sentence. of the regime targeted Western journalists as well, including French journalists Olivier Problems between Turkey and France intensified even more following Turkey's Bertrand and Loup Bureau. invasions of northern Syria: After Macron met Turkey, long a candidate for European Union with Kurdish-Syrian officials (Syrian membership, has often been criticized by Democratic Forces/SDF) at ElysĂŠe Palace in Western governments and international press March 2018, he offered to mediate Turkeyorganizations for its mass incarceration of Kurdish talks. Macron said he hoped "a dialogue can be established between the SDF journalists. and Turkey with help from France and the In March 2017, Erdogan, lashed out at international community." criticisms at an event in which he addressed journalists in Ankara. If Europe continues its Erdogan turned down the offer: "This is a attitude, he said, "no European and no statement that goes beyond the limits and Westerner will be able to walk safely and height of that person [Macron]... Who gave you such a duty? Do not engage in endeavors peacefully in the streets." that exceed your height. We don't need a Erdogan pressed on, saying that Western mediator. Since when has Turkey had a countries always accuse Turkey of violating problem of sitting around a table with terror organizations? Where did you get that from? You can sit at a table with a terrorist organization, but Turkey fights against terrorist organizations as in Afrin [Syria]." Turkey's elected Dictator Recep Tayyip Ergogan

Erdogan evidently forgot to mention that Turkey has been hosting members of the terrorist group Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, while presumably enabling them to set up bases there from which to attack Israel. According to areport in NEWS & NOTES

NOV/DEC 2020


The Times on October 22, Hamas is secretly operating a facility in Turkey where it conducts cyberattacks and counterintelligence operations. Citing Western intelligence sources, The Times said the headquarters was set up two years ago and is overseen by Hamas military leaders in the Gaza Strip. However, Erdogan targeted France after Macron met with Syrian Kurdish officials: "After this attitude, France has no right to complain about any terrorist organization, any terrorist or terror acts. Those who sleep with terrorists and even host terrorists at their palace will sooner or later understand the mistake they have made. Those who so recklessly support these terrorists should also be ready to account for the consequences to the French public. The problems we are experiencing right now might also happen to them any time. I do not know what more we should say or do for them to understand we are not making jokes and do not have the slightest tolerance for this." On April 7, hours after a man ploughed his van into pedestrians in Münster, Germany, Erdogan threatened France again: "France, you are helping terrorism, you support and host the terrorists in the Elysee Palace. You will not be able to account for these things. You see what is happening in Germany, right? The same will happen in France. The West will not be able to get rid of this scourge of terrorism. You will not be able to get rid of this terror scourge. As the West feeds these terrorists, it will sink. " Austrian precautions against radical Islam also seemed to anger Erdogan. In June, 2018, the Austrian government announced it was closing down seven radical mosques and expel 40 foreign-funded imams employed by ATIB (Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation), which is connected to Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). The moves followed the Austrian “Islam Law", passed in 2015, which bans foreign funding of religious groups and made it a duty for Muslim organizations to have "a positive fundamental view towards (Austria's) state and society".

security of Westerners, is unprecedented. Yet, on November 22, Erdogan called on the European Union to "keep your promises" on issues such as the country's membership bid and refugees: "Even if we leave aside the previous history, only the Ottoman Empire had a history of 600 years in Europe. Today, we see ourselves as an integral part of Europe." Erdogan was referring to the centuries-long Ottoman occupation of several European nations such as Cyprus, Hungary and Greece. The presence of the Ottoman Turks in Europe was marked by wars between the Ottoman Empire and Europe dating from the late Middle Ages up through the early 20th century. After destroying the Greek Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor (today's Turkey), Ottoman Turks waged wars against Christian nations in the Balkans, including the Hungarians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Greeks and Serbs. The Ottoman Empire targeted Central Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ottoman-Venetian Wars lasted for four centuries, starting in 1423 and lasting until 1718. Christians in European nations that fell under the Ottoman occupation became dhimmis, second-class, tolerated, subjects of the empire who had to buy their lives and protection by paying a high tax, and were systematically abused by Ottoman authorities. One of the most abusive Ottoman practices was the institution of "devshirme," also known as the "child levy" or "blood tax," with which Christian boys were forcibly abducted from the conquered p opulation, enslaved, converted to Islam and later trained as soldiers. Erdogan evidently sees the Ottoman occupation and abuse of European nations as Turkish "contributions" to Europe.

This current belligerence once again demonstrates major differences between Europe and Erdogan's regime. It is a crisis between a mentality that respects a free press versus a mentality that jails critical journalists. It reveals a mentality that wants to preserve the safety of its citizens versus a mentality that aims to force others to submit to its demands through threats and use of terror. It is a mentality that stubbornly believes in violating "Political Islam's parallel societies and and even trying to invade the territories of its radicalizing tendencies have no place in our neighbors versus one that tries to resolve country," said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian issues through dialogue and negotiation. Kurz. As the president of France, Macron has the Erdogan responded: "The Austrian PM... is responsibility to protect the security and making calculations over closing our mosques freedom of expression of his citizens. It is in Europe. Where is this going? I'm afraid Erdogan's regime who targets the safety and towards a crusade-crescent war; the steps freedoms of Europeans -- as well as taken by this Austrian Prime Minister are Amerinias, Syrians, Iraqis, and many of his leading the world towards it. For this reason, own Turks. the Western world should pull these men together. If they don't, these calculations will T h i s a r t i c l e w a s f i r s t p u b l i s h e d i n be made differently. They say [they are] going Gatestone Institute, a to kick our clergy out. So [you think] you'll do non-partisan, not-for-profit international it and we will stand idle? We will do some policy council and think tank is dedicated to educating the public about what the things too." mainstream media fails to report. That a NATO member and European Union candidate, Turkey, is openly threatening the Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. 60


Greece in a Box: a new online documentary platform Greece in a Box is a freshly built online platform with a unique collection of award-winning documentaries about Greece, available for rent or purchase. Greece in a box was created to allow an international audience to enjoy and share unique Greek stories.

Special focus is given to projects promoting Greek history, identity and culture. From Greece’s most famous musical clan in Crete, to the uplifting story of Greek v i l l a ge r s w h o tackle the world market with o r g a n i c tomatoes, and the human experience of population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922, the platform offers an amazing selection of films that capture the people, stories and events from Greece’s past. Many of the films in the selection are accompanied by educational kits that offer children, families and teachers the chance to delve into important issues connected to Greece. These documentaries are also recommended for screenings within schools, universities, and other educational organizations. The films are intended for private use and are suitable family and educational viewing. For further information about public or educational screenings, you can contact them at


Another planet in his galaxy is the Greek Orthodox church. He’s sung in church choirs since his teens. This grounding experience, he said, not only feeds his creativity, but also his soul.

Art & Science Converge for an Out of this World Odyssey Musician Jason Achilles Mezilis channels his passion for astronomy into a partnership with NASA Musician Jason Achilles Mezilis is a study in contrasts, an artist of many by Maria A. layers and dimensions. Peel aw ay t h o s e l ay e r s a n d Karamitsos* discover a trained classical pianist, a rock guitarist, an orchestral composer, and producer. Find a member of the choir at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. Continue, to reveal at his core, a science enthusiast who’s channeled his creativity into partnerships with NASA. This proud GreekAmerican weaves all his interests into his work, which now catapult him onto an out of this world odyssey. Mezilis is the son of a Greek immigrant father from Elassona, Thessaly; and an American mother. Born in Evanston, Illinois, his family relocated briefly to Michigan, then settled in Cupertino, California, where his father worked in Silicon Valley during the early years of computer development. “We didn’t speak Greek at home. I did go to Greek school, but I didn’t have any Greek friends. Though my family always called me Axilleas, I didn’t begin to realize the influence of my Greek heritage 64


His musical diversity is indeed a study in contrasts, however, there’s yet another layer to Mezilis, like another planet, that’s led him on an exciting new orbit. “I’ve always been interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology. When I attended UC Berkeley, a team there was actively discovering the first extra solar planets. It fueled my curiosity. I did take astronomy courses but they were quite remedial; I got bored and instead concentrated on my music degree.” Years ago, in an interview, he expressed that if he weren’t a musician, he’d be “doing something in the science world. “When I was in Kindergarten, I saw a model of the solar system. It blew my mind. I also recall the first time I saw Jupiter through a telescope. I could see the clouds on the surface. Later, I saw a solar eclipse and became enamored with science fiction. I’ve always loved anything to do with space, but until a few years ago, I never did anything professionally.” He said as time progressed, he felt something missing. “My artistic side was chugging along, but a whole other aspect of me was unfulfilled. It seemed impossible to do something in the space industry without a degree. I studied a lot. I started having these crazy ideas and randomly emailed scientists. Then one day, the microphone idea came along.”

His research revealed that for 20 years, people attempted to develop a microphone that could record sound in space but hadn’t succeeded. As a musician and producer, he knew about and truly embrace it until I was in my 20s. microphones. Adding Achilles to my stage name really brought my heritage to the forefront. It’s hard “The idea bolted through me like an electric to ignore a guy named Achilles, and it’s easier shock. I’d stumbled upon this rare crossroads for folks to remember,” he says. between space and audio. I could leverage my professional life with my interest in the space Like planets in the solar system, his many world.” interests revolve around a smoldering sun of creativity. It began in his youth. Following six months of research, in fall 2016, he contacted NASA. “I was on tour with my Feeling intimidated by his father’s expertise as band on the East Coast when I received a classical guitarist, from the age of eight, NASA’s response. They were interested and Mezilis instead became enamored with and wanted to meet via phone. After a late night studied classical piano. He began listening to performance, while my band was still passed rock music soon after and began teaching out on our buddy’s living room floor, I got up himself all the guitar parts on the piano. “But early that next morning for a call, quickly then hearing Eddie Van Halen changed slamming a coffee to stir my brains. It was one everything. I fell in love with the guitar.” He of the most surreal experiences.” also plays baglama. He’s combined all of these influences into his compositions. Impressed, NASA moved forward on the project with Mezilis as a consultant. He During a career spanning more than two teamed up with Caesar Garcia, a microphone decades, and now touring internationally as designer and engineer. “We clicked right away. an experimental rock multi-instrumentalist, He was equally excited for the project. When he’s played with many diverse musicians. he told me he competed as a 10m diver for the Mezilis also composes for other artists, and U.S. in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and started has written music for film, TV, and video talking about his adventures in Greece, I knew games. we had a good vibe.”

Jason Achilles Mezilis explains testing on the ExoCam

Several months later, they presented their design plan at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. “What an honor to be selected and work with their team. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the budget to develop our custom design, but later with our input, selected an off-the-shelf component. We chose an existing microphone we felt could survive the trip, the conditions, and do the job.” Me zi lis g ives public t a l ks ab out t he microphone’s development and how he came t o w o r k w i t h NA S A . H i s s c i e n t i f i c presentations include IPM2018 Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Research in Berlin, and a lecture on transformative lunar science at Microsymposium 60 in Houston, Texas. “When I present a public lecture to folks about this Mars microphone development, we include music performances before or after, and tie the music into it. It’s a really fun marriage of my interests.”

another application. Rex has b e en involve d in developing cameras for space since the Space Shutt le d ays. He was intrigued; one of the few who said this was not impossible. We started working on it together.””

His inner “little boy science nerd” is still in disbelief. “Presenting to a conference of the leading lunar and planetary scientists is more terrif ying than jumping out of an airplane—and I’ve done both. It’s a tough community of brilliant individuals, but their willingness to hear these kinds of ideas from an outsider is remarkable. NASA has granted me project leadership status, which is mindblowing. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I’m An initiative by President too excited thinking about it.” Trump paved the way. “The President refocused His imagination continues to grow. “When NASA funding for moon you’re five, it’s all about imagination. As a projects, in hoping to teenager, I imagined myself playing on huge achieve a human landing stages. I’ve done that. Imagination is never in on the Moon by 2024. I reformulated the short supply. The difficulty is to force myself to camera proposal for lunar development.” stop dreaming and start doing. I never imagined I could do this.” In early 2019, with Rex’s assistance, Mezilis secured a five-minute presentation spot at a His odyssey on a new course, more ideas lunar and planetary science conference formulate, though Mezilis is primarily focused outside Houston. There, he introduced the on fundraising for the ExoCam project. “We’re idea to the space community. Quickly off to a good start, but we have a long way to go.” momentum began to grow. To date, they’ve received $650,000 in NASA support and joined forces with spacecraft technology developer Honeybee Robotics for systems engineering. Rex’s company, Ecliptic Enterprises Corp., will provide avionics, and Arizona State University is supporting the data and image analysis. Masten Space Systems is the rocket provider, supporting a suborbital test flight scheduled for summer 2021. In addition to fundraising and development, they’re working toward becoming an official part of a moon mission. “NASA creates and supports development of so many exciting things. Their interest in our project stems from the many possible applications in the world of science explorations.”

The Mars Perseverance Rover mission, outfitted with the microphone, launched this past summer. He attended. “Witnessing a rocket launch is awesome. It’s overwhelming, especially that I helped put something on it. I The cornerstone of their funding agreement confess, I got emotional.” with NASA is to help understand the The trip to Mars takes six months. The properties of lunar dust and how that will microphone he contributed to is set to record affect future landing missions. “Imaging the landing sequence in mid-Feb 2021. “Likely technology is important. Following the it will take a few weeks to get the audio back. lessons of the 1986 Challenger disaster, the It’s unclear when we’ll be able to hear it. Space Shuttle program employed more Transmission and bandwidth are at a cameras because in certain situations they found it’s the only way scientists can actually premium, so it will take some time.” see what’s right or wrong. This novel camera Fueled by the experience, Mezilis wanted to view of lunar landings that we’ve developed work with NASA again, but this time, as a will similarly allow engineers to make many project leader. Ideas swirled in his head. One important future design changes, from a lunar day serendipity intervened when, performing perspective.” as a musical guest at an astronomy lecture in Pasadena in late 2018, Mezilis met Rex Mezilis relishes his experience working with Ridenoure, a 40-year veteran of the space NASA and said they’re incredibly supportive. “NASA’s funding program is well-catered to industry. support start-ups and private industry. Our He shared his idea for a novel camera design government has some very cool support he called “ExoCam” (from the Greek word for systems for small businesses, though at first, “outside”) that would remotely capture video they can be difficult to navigate. I have nothing of rockets landing on other worlds. People but good things to say about NASA.” would see something never before witnessed. “I had originally wanted to outfit a camera on He said that this creativity is fueling his other the 2020 Perseverance Rover to Mars. It was a art. “I’ve got a lot of ideas coming and they’re little late for that mission, but we found flowing in all my work.”

Jason Achilles Mezilis in the Studio - Ready to Launch

Always encourage little ones to dream and to follow their passions. We never know where these odysseys will lead. They just might catapult them out of this world. To learn more on Achilles you can check at You can also see a video with Jason Achilles Mezilis testing on the Lunar ExoCam Static Camera, his latest project with NASA, at

*) Maria A. Karamitsos has been a positive voice in Greek media since 2002. She was the Founder, Publisher, & Editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. For 10 years, she served as the Associate Editor & Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, Greek Repor te r, Harlot s S auce Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, KPHTH magazine, XPAT ATHENS, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal. She's working on her 1st novel. Learn more at


NOV/DEC 2020


Mavroudis' Time cover for the 200,000 of Covid in the US

by Kelly Fanarioti

The calendar showed September 21st, 2020, when TIME magazine for the second time in its history – the first was after the September 11 attack - had featured a black border on its cover, designed by the hand of the GreekAmerican graphic designer and one of the most influential and talked-about illustrators, John Mavroudis, paying tribute to the 200,000 dead from Covid-19.

John Mavroudis As the San Francisco-based artist says to NEO, he picked up the numbers from Johns Hopkins University, he drew line after line of Date, Number, and the word “Deaths’’, over and over. Until the page was practically full. He then colored the dates in grey in order to make the death count stand out more. From there it was a matter of expanding some of the lettering so that it formed the number 200,000 while still keeping the type readable on the daily death count. “TIME had only done that once. Coronavirus has killed the same amount of Americans that died on 9/11, but in a 3-day period. EVERY three days. But there was no national outrage. There was no emotional trauma, no video of a plane hitting a building or a building melting before our eyes. This was a catastrophe every day. Quietly, methodically taking lives without the pizazz or flash of an explosive event. The country was growing numb to this true American carnage’’. America’s failure Mavroudis believes that America’s failure to deal with the pandemic was magnified by an 66


John Mardvedriloluustrdatoisr of TIME

The multi-awa

and The New Yorker

incompetent leader who couldn’t display an ‘’I grew up seeing TIME magazine on our table ounce of empathy because he simply has none. every week. My parents subscribed and I was always fascinated by the covers. When I got ‘’The only thing Trump cares about is if older, I started really appreciating The New coronavirus affects him personally, or affects Yorker, as well for the amazing journalism and his re-election chances. He doesn’t even the iconic covers. They’re the pinnacle of give a shit about his own supporters, unless American print media, along with The New it would be a problem to cast a vote for him. York Times and the Washington Post’’, the So he lies about his “hoax” and sneers at Greek – American illustrator says. people wearing masks. To compound matters, his political party is not simply a He admits that making covers is a very cult of yes-men fawning all over his every humbling experience, as many of his ideas that utterance… too fearful that he’ll send an he still thinks would have been perfect covers, angry Tweet their way. It’s pretty pathetic were rejected. and no way to run a country…. But in a crisis like this? A pandemic? It’s a death ‘’I still submit ideas that occur to me, knowing full-well that it’s ALWAYS a long-shot to be sentence for thousands”. accepted. The difficulty doesn’t deter me’’ ‘’Greek relatives gave me the passion for politics’’ As for his awards, he confides in NEO that every time he is distinguished for his work, he He was just a kid when he heard at his feels so elated but also embarrassed by the grandparents’ house his uncle Anastasis attention. and aunt Clio talking about politics. They s u b s c r i b e d t o Nat i on a l L a mp o on ‘’I’ve come to realize that recognition does magazine and they were also making fun of help motivate. I went years turning in work politicians. When he started going to college, without much coming from it, and that can be he was interested in politics and this seemed demoralizing. It makes you question yourself like a perfect place to combine love of art and and your value. But I’ve also learned that politics. So he became the political cartoonist sticking to it and building up a body of work for college’s newspaper. you’ll be proud to show your child is something to strive for. The awards are nice, “It was pretty fun trying to come up with new for sure but the work that can stand the test of ideas. Ever since those days, I’ve always tried time is the true measure’’. to keep my brain busy with idea-generation’’, he says adding that he was also inspired by ‘’Greece was a dream trip for me” Greek Mythology. The highly acclaimed artist has only been in ‘’The visual storytelling involved and the Greece once. His father was a Greek who was simple, yet powerful imagery is something born in Alexandria, Egypt, so he took a trip to that inspires me daily. To be able to combine both countries. ideas and convey them in a way to make people think. I owe a great debt to my Greek ‘’We visited relatives in Athens and Volos and also went to Delphi, Kefalonia, and Poros. I roots’’. loved the historic sites, the food, the people. Blending his drawings with type, Mavroudis My favorite memory is sitting in the café for has been awarded many times for his covers. hours, drinking retsina, eating amazing food, When he was young and reading TIME listening to music, and just talking and magazine, he could not imagine that in a few laughing. I hope to go back very soon. I want years the covers of the emblematic publication to take my wife and my daughter, Athena, to visit this beautiful country’’, he says ending up would have his signature. that he is very proud to be Greek.

Historic Brooklyn Diner Struggles to Survive Another Shutdown by Athena Efter

Irene Siderakis, owner of Brooklyn’s iconic Kellogg’s Diner is tired. She might even say fed up, but she continues to persevere despite the hardships her business is facing. She didn’t sign up for this business. Her husband Chris did, back in 2013. Irene was a stay-at-home mom. Two years later, her husband died unexpectedly, and she was left to take over a business she knew nothing about. It hasn’t been an easy road for Irene. Alone, faced with bills, four children, and a business she inherited, she did what any strong woman would do. She picked herself up by her bootstraps and learned the ropes through trial and error. She may have, at first, been very green at this once well-greased machine, but she learned the hard way, which is often fast and furious. She has been taken advantage of and swindled by others looking for control and an opportunity through her inexperience, whether it’s a fixer upper or buying something for the diner. It cost her thousands of dollars. With tears in her eyes and her voice shaking, she tells me the truth: “You name it. It’s happened to me, because when you are so vulnerable, and at your darkest moment, there are very few good people who won’t take advantage of you, but there are many that come here that will take advantage you and act as if they are helping you, but in reality they are not. They helped me become stronger and learn. Even though it’s been painful, I am grateful to them because I learned the hard way.” She managed to learn and run ship like a pro, so to fail now would be a big tragedy. Irene is the owner of Brooklyn’s iconic Kellogg’s Diner on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg. The diner has been around since 1928, and now, because of the Covid 19 pandemic, has been operating on a limited schedule, after having been shut down in March. The diner is known for its overnight business, as a 24/7 dining operation. After having been pressured by others to sell, Irene decided firsthand to ride out the storm and see for herself what it’s worth, but she’s struggling, like many small business owners and restaurants right now. Diners, especially New York City diners, are known for their round the clock business – breakfast, dinner, lunch, and all that’s in 68


between - including business deals over cups of coffee where you can sit in booths with plenty of refills and privacy. Then there’s the overnight crowd, the throngs of twenty somethings pouring in from the bars and clubs for that hangover prevention breakfast or very late night three course dinner. You name it. You can get it at the diner any time, any day, any hour. Seeing Irene in action I could see she is a woman for all hours.

normal. Things did not return to normal. She eventually had to let many of her employees go with heavy heart. When she reopened on May 1st, she couldn’t hire much of her staff back because business has been further compromised. With her PPP loan, she was able to re-open right away. It was her priority to pay her employees, but that PPP lasted only eight weeks. She still lost 75-80% of business, even with an increase in take-out and delivery. Her rents and notes are all based on a 24-hour business. All she can she can pay right now is payroll and food vendors, and is behind schedule. Her debts are piling up and she is trying to catch up. For the government to shut her down like this, after all the work she put in to save the diner, seems egregiously unfair. She’s not just advocating for herself but for all small business owners. She continued to site the many inconsistencies that she considers to be small business discrimination.

With all the determination that gives her that Brooklyn sass, she poured out all her struggles, in between getting up and greeting customers, and making sure everyone was being compliant with health guidelines. She was courteous and hospitable. Her customers know her. It’s like a home away from home for many people in a big city that can often lend itself to loneliness. Where are you going to go if not the 24-hour diner for company or a bite to eat at 3am after slaving away for hours composing your Broadway masterpiece? At no time did she allow more than the 25% capacity in what is a very big diner, with plenty Her greatest frustration is that they send of space for social distancing. If you were guidelines, but they give you no real plan. She picking up food to go, you had to wait in the shows me the NY Food Safety Plan Template. vestibule area, behind a partition of glass In essence, you have to come up with the plan. S h e h a s P P E doors, at the entrance of everywhere, from hand the diner. Everything felt sanitizers to signage, to safe and well-managed. e mpl oye e s we ar i ng Irene is taking this virus masks and wiping down s e r i o u s l y. W h at s h e tables and seats doesn’t understand, like constantly. She has to many of us, is the pay for any additional hypocrisy and lack of PPE or other needed support for small upgrades mandated by businesses. Her grueling the city as a result of a question remains: “Why global pandemic. must we have a time limit on how late or early businesses can stay The government can’t open?” Taking half of her go to Plan A without a day away creates crowds Plan B, according to that want to come in all at Irene. She pointed out once. She questions why Chris and Irene Siderakis with their that Long Island was the lockdown isn’t fair all children Themis, Billy, Marios and Demetris able to open up at 50% across the board. in the summer, but New York City was still shut down: “There were no Food is an essential business. Supermarkets border controls or temperature checks, so how and other big retail chains are seemingly not did Covid not spread there? We don’t have a bound to a 25% capacity rule, but yet her problem listening to certain rules that they restaurant is not only compliant, but could use think are good for the public, but they can’t the extra hours under her efforts of just shut down a whole economy without compliancy. It still won’t be near enough to helping us first. Things are still running, bills cover her losses. It won’t offer a guarantee that are still running, people’s lives are still going there is no turning off of electricity at 25% on. They need to come up with a plan first. All capacity round the clock, but round the clock they know how to do is shut us down. This is a is better than watching the clock and shutting domino effect that hurts everybody, not just down when you could be generating the me. Landlords need the revenue to pay their needed income to help sustain your business. real estate and property taxes. They have to give a break to everyone. We need relief. This Irene already suffered a loss when she had to was not done because didn’t pay bills. I feel like shut down in March. The initial plan was to I am getting punished for something that was shut down for two weeks, but then she put upon us. The diner cannot sustain another contracted Covid. She shut down her business shutdown. My workers can’t afford it. I can’t for 7 weeks for the safety of her employees, all afford it. It’s not just me. It’s all of us who of whom were grateful for the decision she depend on the businesses that are getting shut made. She is also a mom, and runs her down for our livelihood.” bu s i ne ss l i ke a mom . T he re w a s no compromising their safety, but with promise On Monday, December 14 New York shut to give them their jobs back as things return to down again...

hellenes without borders Silent Partners to Empire: The Greeks and Serbs who helped build the Austrian and Russian Empires History favors the headlines rather than the fine print. Not unlike social media today, what is usually remembered are the posts and tweets rather than the long, complicated, but often far more rewarding reads. In the details, all too often, you find the realities, ones easily overlooked to the point when they are no longer the realities and we are left, instead, with the often rather empty headlines. In the case of the southward expansion of the Austrian and Russian Empires against the heretofore dominant Ottomans, in the hundred years between the Ottomans’ defeat at the gates of Vienna in 1683 and the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 1783, the headlines are indeed few. Most students of history will know that the Russian, and particularly the Austrian, empires were multiethnic and that this would eventually figure prominently in the collapse of both. Few will know, however, that in both empires Greeks and Serbs formed key ethnic elements. This is a story deserving to be told, for any number of reasons. First, because it is true, and it is an example of “silent minorities” forming the backbone of imperial success. Second, because this imperial experience transformed both the empires in question and fostered revolutionary activity in both the Greek and Serbian homelands. Finally, because the fate of these silent minorities is worth considering. The Battle for Central Europe and the Black Sea basin was a long drawn out series of wars to remove the Ottomans from conquests won in the early 1500s, when the Ottoman Empire was at its height and all Europe trembled before them. Even though the Ottomans’ defeat at Vienna was a key turning point, and in the next decade and a half a vast territory would be liberated from Ottoman rule, the see-saw battles and destruction continued. Around the same period, the Russian state also sought to push back the Ottomans who commanded the entire Black Sea littoral, the key Crimean Peninsula, and much of the Ukrainian and Caucasian hinterlands. As in Central Europe, victories went back and forth, and territories changed hands, often resulting in scorched earth and depopulation. Eventually, first on the Austrian frontier and later on the newly Russian Black Sea coast, the borders stabilized as these European states consolidated their gains behind natural barriers, the Danube and Sava Rivers for the Austrians and the Black Sea coast and Caucasus Mountains for the Russians. Much of their new possessions were wastelands, ravaged by fire and sword for decades, with no production or economy. Neither Austria nor 70


Alexander Billinis is a writer and lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family returned to the US after nearly a decade in Greece, the UK, and Serbia. He writes prolifically on Balkan topics. His books, The Eagle has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe, and Hidden Mosaics: An Aegean Tale, are available from

Russia were particularly wealthy states in l a r g e G r e e k s h i p p i n g a n d m e r c h a nt comparison to the Atlantic countries of p o p u l a t i o n , a n d a s t h e U k r a i n i a n Europe. chernozemlya (black soil) began to be plowed up, Greeks played a key role in the grain trade. It might almost be said that the export trade of Enter the “Silent Partners” Black Sea Russia was “subcontracted” to The Orthodox population of the Ottoman Greeks, who, whether subjects of the Tsar or Empire chafed under Turkish rule and viewed not, had the right after the Treaty of Kucuk the advance of Austria towards the Balkans Kaynardji (1774) to fly the Russian flag. favorably, though with a degree of skepticism. Austria was a Roman Catholic power and Greeks and Serbs never forgot about their Catholics were hostile to Orthodoxy, as the h o m e l a n d , e v e n a s t h e y w e r e o f t e n Orthodox Greeks under Venetian rule could phenomenally successful subjects of the attest. As an Orthodox power, Russia held a Hapsburg and Romanov Empires. Though the more natural appeal to Greeks, Serbs, and the Austrians were Catholic, they granted other Balkan Orthodox. For their part, the toleration to their Orthodox subjects, though Russians and Austrians were only too glad to they required that Orthodox Churches use the Balkan Orthodox populations for conform to Austrian baroque styles, which is support in their campaigns against the Turks. why Serbian and Greek Orthodox churches in This included deep Austrian incursions into the former Austrian Empire, including in S e r b i a ’s Vo j v o d i n a the heart of Ottoman held PHOTO: VILMA BILLINIS province, look remarkably Serbia, and an attempt in Western in appearance. the Russo-Turkish war of Greeks and Serbs fostered 1770-1774 to open a cultural and linguistic second front in the education in their Pe l o p o n n e s u s . B o t h communities, and actively attempts failed and endowed institutions back resulted in horrific in their Ottoman Ottoman revenge against homelands, which raised the rebellious Orthodox, the level of cultural prompting many to quit awareness and the desire the Ottoman Empire for the Russian and Austrian The San Nicola Greek Orthodox Church, for Greeks and Serbs to “rejoin Europe” and claim realms. Trieste Waterfront, built 1792 their place at the table. The Since the Treaty of Passarowitz (Pozarevac) in first Greek newspaper was in Vienna, and it 1717, Ottoman citizens could trade and was from Austrian Trieste that Rhigas establish themselves in the Austrian Empire. Pheraios, the first martyr of Greek (and Tens of thousands of Greeks and Serbs Serbian) independence was to set out to fan the answered the call, setting up extraordinarily flames of revolution in the Balkans. A Greek strong merchant colonies in several Austrian betrayed him to the Austrian police, recalling cities, most notably the main Austrian port of the Greek saying that “Where there is a Trieste, where Greeks and Serbs dominated Thermopylae one will find an Ephialtes shipping and commerce. Due to geographical (traitor).” Without the financial, cultural, and proximity, the Serbs were by far the largest moral support of the Austrian or Russian based number of Orthodox immigrants, and they diasporas, there would not have been settled whole villages as farmers and soldiers, successful revolutions in either Greece or policing the Austro-Turkish frontier as loyal Serbia. Habsburg soldiers for two centuries. When the time for action came, these diasporas The Russians also heavily leaned on the were heavily involved in the conflict. The Orthodox of the Ottoman Empire. Here the Secret Society dedicated to Greece’s liberation, Greeks tended to dominate in terms of the Philike Etairia, was founded in Odessa in numbers. Thousands quit the Peloponnesus 1814. The first salvoes of the conflict were fired and other parts of Greece to settle the newly in Romania, by Russo-Greek volunteers, many conquered Black Sea territories, bolstered in of them on a leave of absence from the Russian several waves (up to 1920) by Greeks from the army. Serbians living on the other side of the Black Sea coast of Turkey. Bulgarians also Austrian frontier readily aided their brethren settled heavily in parts of the newly liberated to the south, despite the official hostility of the Russian territory (known then as Novorossiya Austrian (and the Russian) regimes for any “New Russia” and now part of the Ukraine), revolutionary activity. Many Greeks and Serbs where Serbian farmers settled in the interior. returned to the emergent states, some The new port city of Odessa quickly boasted a integrated into the local ruling class, yet others,

the majority, stayed in the Diaspora. They remained dedicated to their Greek and Serbian heritage and fostered business links with the homeland when possible. Yet the slow pace of assimilation continued, particularly in the Russian Empire where they were among coreligionists. It is quite common to find Hungarians or Austrians with Greek and Serbian ancestors, and in Russia, large, cohesive Greek communities have remained to this day, though far more assimilated into the Southern Russian and Ukrainian populations. Greeks and Serbs always answered the call of their adopted countries. What Remains In the former Austria-Hungary, most of the Greek and Serbian communities have largely assimilated, though Vienna remains a huge Serbian Diaspora center, largely recent economic immigrants. A portion of the Serbian migration into the Austrian Empire was absorbed into Yugoslavia in 1918, but with the independence of Croatia in 1991 and the subsequent war, hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forced to flee the homes they inhabited for centuries, as soldiers and farmers defending and building the Hapsburg Empire. The northern Serbian province of Vojvodina remains as a legacy of this community, united with the Serbian motherland yet proud of their distinct culture, which includes an unusual tolerance for the 23 other nationalities resident in a province a bit smaller than Massachusetts. The vast swath of Serbian settlement in today’s Hungary has disappeared. According to a

professor in Budapest’s Nikola Tesla High School, which remains one of the best Serbian high schools anywhere, the Hungarians actively forced assimilation on the Serbs over the past one hundred years, so that a community numbering 300,000 in 1918 is less than 3,000 today, even as there remain about 300,000 Hungarians in Serbia’s Vojvodina province. All over Hungary I have found empty Serbian Orthodox Churches, often ornate with large courtyards, testimony to a prosperous and proud community that helped make the empire possible.

Soviet assimilation. By the 1980s, though there were still about one million recognizable Greeks in the Soviet Union, and no doubt there were millions more with some Greek ancestry. A good portion would then seek to return to Greece via the right of return Greece grants to those of Greek descent. My military unit when I served in the Greek Army was at least fifteen percent born in the ex-Soviet Union. In the 1990s there was some hope that the Greek presence, bolstered by the Greek Merchant Marine and a relative strong Greek economy, might be revived but by and large the region remains depressed and the old glories of the In Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia, the situation Greek maritime diaspora are just memories was somewhat more complicated. The Serbian forgotten even by the Greeks. farmers in the Ukrainian interior quickly assimilated among coreligionists who spoke a This is not to suggest that there is a lack of similar language, with only a few place names academic work on these communities. There to indicate any difference from their neighbors. certainly is, and some of the best Greek, For the Greeks, it was a different matter. Serbian, and Russian historians have compiled Though the vast majority did assimilate into excellent studies. Often enough though history the large Ukrainian and Russian population, is written for other historians, rather than for the density of their settlements, primarily on the public at large. The context is key and often the coasts, with constant inflows of immigrants it is missing, or misled. For me, both as a writer and refugees, and the advanced Greek and as a historian (in training), the role that maritime network meant that the Greeks Greeks and Serbs played in the wider world is remained both distinctive as a community and extremely important. Far too often history is vital to the southern Russian economy. The headlines, and the textual details are forgotten, community was bolsted by wave after wave of to the point where they cease to be details or Pontic Greeks fleeing Turkish genocide. The history at all. To turn around the narrative Greeks also felt autochthonous there; Greeks requires us to know the textual details and to had settled the Black Sea since classical times, turn these into headlines. The history is there, including the Crimea. In spite of, or in Stalin’s it is our history, and it helped to make their bizarre logic, because of their key role, they history. The context—that is up to us. were often sent to Central Asian exile during the Stalinist era, and others still faded into

“The Lame Angel�, a Greek Novel now in the US Harbouri, is now available from booksellers everywhere. The Lame Angel is set in Athens during the Nazi occupation and tells the story of an injured private eye from New York facing difficulties at every turn, but aided by a mysterious gift. It tinges the bleak with the whimsical, a unique mix of gritty history and magical realism. "Truly heartrending pictures of occupied Athens and yet imbued with a discreet, crisp sense of humor," writes Vangelis Hadjivasiliou of Eleftherotypia newspaper.

Author Alexis Panselinos Recital Publishing from Woodstock, NY brings an acclaimed Greek novel to Englishspeaking readers. The Lame Angel by Alexis Panselinos was originally published in Greek by Kedros in 2002. Its only English translation, by Athens-based author/editor Caroline

Alexis Panselinos read Law at the University of Athens and worked as a practicing lawyer. His first book, a collection of stories, appeared in 1982 to great acclaim. In 1985 his novel The Great Procession won the State Prize. His novel Zaida or A Camel in the Snow was nominated for the 1997 European Literary Award. The Dark Inscriptions received the Novel Prize from Diavazo literary magazine in 2012. His latest novel Light Greek Songs won the 2018 Prize of the Athens Academy. His novels have

been widely translated in French, German, Italian, Polish and Romanian. He has received the Great Award for Life Achievement from the eminent literary magazine O Anagnostis (The Reader). He lives in Athens, Greece.

Philoptochos Turns 90 and Expands its Mission “To help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters…” In 2014, the Greek Orthodox L adies Philoptochos Society asked its chapters and stewards to join the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in supporting the historic construction of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine – while still meeting the organization's longtime fundamental mission to serve the needy among us. It was a daunting challenge no doubt, but one that the 25,000 Philoptochos stewards across the United States embraced with faith, energy, and spirited dedication. Since that time, Philoptochos contributed $11,293,921 to brothers and sisters in need, emergencies across the globe and deserving institutions, causes and programs. The women of Philoptochos raised these funds through fundraising events and individual contributions, all the while inspiring their communities by their example of love for Christ and His message.

The following is a partial list of the charitable philanthropy. And so, while feeding more grants of nearly $10 million dollars during this than 4,000,000 meals to the homeless and period: hungry, while offering much needed supplies to underserved schools across the United States, and while developing educational Ÿ Saint Basil Academy initiatives addressing serious problems faced by our communities, the stewards of Ÿ Social Services Philoptochos also opened their hearts and Ÿ Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of contributed $1,665,000 to the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine. Theology For 89 years, the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society has offered generous Ÿ Philanthropies of the Ecumenical and continuous assistance, love and faith wherever and whenever a need arises – not Patriarchate only to our local communities, metropolises and nation – but around the world, as well. Ÿ National Philoptochos Emergency Fund Ÿ

Children’s Medical Fund

The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society is the philanthropic arm of the Greek But that’s not all. As Philoptochos fulfilled its Orthodox Archdiocese of America and their mission, one dollar at a time, their stewards website is als o embraced a return to hands-on Ÿ

Aid to Greece & Cyprus

“Akoma: Songs for Greek America”, a new Album by Stavro

Cosmos FM Phidippides Award Virtual Gala The Greek American Educational Public Information System, Inc. (GAEPIS, Inc.) and its Board of Directors are announcing the recipients of the 25th Annual Phidippides Award. The organization is bestowing the Phidippides Award to the Hellenic Medical Society of New York to recognize their advocacy of Hellenism and their selfless service during the Covid-19 pandemic. This year's Phiddipides Award Gala will take place virtually, on February 11th, 2021, at 7 pm. This year also marks Hellenic Public Radio's, COSMOS FM - the GAEPIS, Inc.'s media outlet - 34th year of service, promoting and preserving our Hellenic Heritage. The Hellenic Medical Society of New York (HMS) has its origins in the Greek-American Medical Fraternity, an organization cofounded by the renowned physician George N. Papanicolaou during the First World War and registered with the New York State authorities in 1920. It has since evolved to a society having as a mission to unite physicians and health care professionals of Hellenic heritage in an effort to foster and support medical, research, educational, and cultural programs of the highest possible standards that will enrich the quality of life of the individual and the greater New York City/TriState Area community.

Greek American singer-songwriter Stavro (Stavros Piperis) released his new album, “Akoma: Songs for Greek America”, on Friday, Dec. 11. Stavro was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and is a member of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Parish. The ten-track GreekEnglish fusion project was recorded and produced by Ben Brodin at the esteemed ARC Studios, the internationally sought-after recording studio which has welcomed artists like Jason Mraz, Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes and She & Him.

Hellenic Public Radio – COSMOS FM (HPR) broadcasts under the aegis of the Greek American Educational Public Information System, Inc. (GAEPIS) – a not-for-profit media, educational organization, founded in 1987 to meet the needs of Greek Americans, serving the Hellenic-American community in all its diversity.

Akoma is the follow-up to last year’s Chances, which Stavro also enlisted Brodin to produce. The duo reunited this summer in quarantine for a new challenge: fusing Stavro’s acoustic-pop sound with the music of Greece. Stavro has been penning songs in English and composing for half a decade, but began to weave Greek into his lyrics this year. He also added a new instrument to his repertoire: the Cretan lute. “I told Ben that I’d been experimenting with Greek lyrics, rhythms, melodies… I wanted to make a record out of it. I had no idea where to begin, or how he would respond to the idea,” Stavro said. Brodin’s response? “I love a challenge.”

COSMOS FM is the only daily, bilingual non-commercial Greek radio program in the New York Metropolitan Area. It has over 5,000 supporting members and reaches over 200,000 Hellenic and nonHellenic listeners each week. COSMOS FM provides 13 hours of programming per week for 676 annual hours of broadcasting time. It features 20-plus different programs in Greek and English, including local, national and international news; news from Greece and Cyprus; and programs on politics, science, social issues, religion, health, finance, music, the arts, sports, and community affairs, produced mainly by volunteers.

The two began work on ten songs that cover a wide expanse of Hellenic musical tradition. “Greek Americans are moved by both Hellenic and American music—we even weave the two languages together when we speak—but we need music that expresses that dual character,” Stavro said. “We deserve art that mirrors our unique identity, that honors our story. This album is not a final word, but a first step.”

Since 1994, the Board of Directors of GAEPIS and Cosmos FM, have presented the Phidippides Award to a person or an organization in recognition of their efforts in the advocacy of Hellenism. The award was inspired by the Athenian herald named Phidippides (Ηµεροδρόµος Κήρυξ). According to Herodotus, Phidippides was dispatched by Miltiades in 490 B.C. to request the Spartans' aid in defending Athens from the Persians, who had landed at Marathon. Phidippides is said to have accomplished an incredible feat, as he ran 200 kilometers in two days to reach Sparta.

Akoma: Songs for Greek America: Streaming everywhere Dec. 11, 2020. “Stay (An M’agapas)” and “Zeibekiko Tis Nemeas” stre aming e ver y w here. i Tu n e s / A p p l e M u s i c : /artist/stavro/1260373528 Spotify: L i k e . F o l l o w. S h a r e Instagram: @stavromusic , 82


Recipients of the Phidippides Award have dedicated themselves to sustaining Hellenism's boundless culture, tradition, and civilization. Previous recipients of the award include Jules Dassin and the Melina Mercouri Foundation, Mikis Theodorakis, Gianna AngelopoulosDaskalaki, Dimitrios and Georgia Kaloidis, Michael Cacoyiannis, John and Margo Catsimatides, Dennis Mehiel, A. S. Onassis Foundation, Prof. Edmund Keely, Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, Dr.John Brademas, Socrates Kokkalis, Dr. Konstantinos Papadakis, Ted Spyropoulos, Yannis Markopoulos, Mario Frangoulis, Nikos Mouyiaris. Merkourios Angeliadis, Michael Psarros and His Emminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.

Fat no More: Hold the Eggs, Skip the Bacon

Many people struggle with weight loss and weight gain. Putting it on and putting it off is just as easy as putting it back on. So, how do you keep it off, without putting it back on, eating what you want, and not necessarily having to go to the gym obsessively, or at all, for that matter? Stavros Mastrogiannis, a fitness and weight loss professional, has developed a system on how this can be done, designed with the non-fitness person in mind. His book, Fat No More: How To Lose Weight So It Stays Off For Life, provides the seven steps needed to motivate you and help you set your happy weight for life. After speaking with Stavros about his weight loss philosophy, I realized that I have been following this regimen, somewhat, all along. I often skip breakfast and eat one meal a day. It’s not just genetics that keep me in shape. In fact, Stavros will tell you that it’s less about genetics, and that sustainable weight loss is achievable. In order to eliminate the problem, you have to get to the root cause of the problem. According to Stavros, no one has a weight problem but a behavior problem. Changing your behaviors can change your weight concerns. You can change even more than just your weight. The way you think is important for weight loss, and a happy and healthy lifestyle. Raised in Greece, Stavros came to the United States in the late 1980s and started taking nutrition classes. He saw many contradictions with what he understood in Greece. Healthy regions around the world had more in common than what he was taught in class. He went on to say that eating breakfast goes against human nature. There are studies that 90


show that eating breakfast makes no real your body, take care of it, and make junk food significant difference. Let’s explore this a special treat, rather than a consistent habit. further. He is a staunch proponent of cutting down meat consumption and increasing your fruit Stavros emphasized that one of the drawbacks and vegetable portions. to eating breakfast is that rest is important for digestion. People don’t normally rest after I asked Stavros walking counts and he said yes breakfast, especially if they are racing off to – walking or any kind of physical activity work. Stress compromises digestion. Your along with consistent eating habits. cortisol level is elevated in the morning and its function is to get the body ready for action. Most weight loss programs apply a motivation When it goes up it releases energy from the fat technique. His system also applies a cells. The worst thing you can do is eat because motivation technique to keep you going, and it interferes with insulin. You have more once it becomes a habit, you don’t need it energy in the morning after digestion. Many anymore. He’s not selling a product, as many studies that support breakfast are also ot h e r we i g ht l o s s pro g r ams d o, but s upp or t e d by c e re a l c omp an i e s an d information and a solution to help you companies selling pork and dairy products, so maintain a healthy weight, and save money high protein diets of bacon and eggs were too. touted as healthy and an important part of your morning routine. This is not necessarily While Stavros is not disqualifying other true. A person can be content with one meal a weight loss systems and other methods day with the right approach. This does not learned in traditional nutrition, health, and mean you should starve yourself. He suggests fitness classes, his philosophy focuses on a a light lunch, with lots of fruits and vegetables, disciplined approach to eating and sustainable and a heavier dinner. This way, your body weight loss. His study explores why 95% of becomes more efficient at burning fat, which people who lose weight end up regaining it. gets stored, and is fuel for the day. His weight His research led him to discover that, over the management philosophy is to eat twice a day. past 30 years, we have doubled the amount of After doing this consistently, he discovered money spent on weight loss products and that he wasn’t as hungry. He services, yet the obesity derived more pleasure from Stavros Mastrogiannis, a fitness rate has increased, almost eating that one meal because he and weight loss professional tripled. In this book you wasn’t eating as much. will receive a practical, science-backed solution that actually works in the Let’s investigate this even more real world and delivers c l o s e l y. I n m a ny c u l t u r e s sustainable results. No throughout the world, fasting is a more counting calories, big part of their lifestyle, whether points, measuring your it’s done for religious reasons or food portions, or health reasons. It works. It’s a spending all your free form of purging and cleansing. time working out. Using The body goes through a process this book as your guide, of autophagy during a fast, where can help your body look the body gets rid of mutated and and feel the way nature dysfunctional cells. Fasting can intended. You will also get rid of the carcinogens that learn how to debunk 10 cause many health issues, mental popular weight loss and physical. How you eat is just myths. Through his book as important as what you eat. In and in-person classes, Greece, for example, meat was traditionally eaten once or twice a week and Stavros has been able to help his clients reach included more fruits and vegetables. Studies their goals by helping them apply a stress free have shown that in areas where animal approach, and one that includes people who products and animal byproducts were heavily don’t like to diet or exercise. consumed, cancers and heart disease also went up. In areas where there was more fruit With the Covid-19 restrictions, Stavros is and vegetable intake, these diseases were preparing the launch of his online course and lower. workshop, which will be available early next year. His book Fat No More: How To Lose Does this mean you can’t eat junk? Yes, you Weight So It Stays Off For Life, can be can, upon occasion. He decided to conduct the purchased as a paperback on Amazon or supersize experiment, where he ate junk food Kindle. If you would like Stavros to speak at from fast food restaurants once a day. He y o u r e v e n t , h e c a n b e e m a i l e d a t actually discovered that his cholesterol went Write “Speak” down by 10%. This does not mean you should in the subject line. eat junk everyday, but it’s important to listen to

“A great tree has fallen”… That was the phrase South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa used from his native language upon announcing the news that George Bizos, a Greek immigrant and champion for human rights who was also Nelson Mandela's lawyer and friend, had died. The same exact phrase came to my mind when I was informed about Senator Paul (Panayotis) S. Sarbanes’ passing. “A great tree has fallen”, one that like the centuries- old olive trees in Laconia, from where the Sarbanes family hails from, produced fruits galore and sheltered many, especially from Maryland's poorer areas, under its imposing shadow. Paul Sarbanes was a modern giant, for the Greek American community and the country. He lived a full life, not only in terms of length but also of the accomplishments and the efforts he undertook the many years that he served as a legislator in both houses of Congress. His name is already synonymous with the American Statesman, as it should be, a measure of integrity, ethics, hard work and hope that things can always become better. He was also a champion of Greece's and Cyprus' causes in Congress, leading the way even when not many were eager to follow. His work on that front, starting with the brutal Turkish invasion in Cyprus, was monumental. I had the honor to meet and talk to Senator Sarbanes numerous times over the years and he always imparted his wisdom generously. He also attended one of NEO's earliest events in Manhattan and, since, each time I would see him, he would ask me “how the magazine is doing”. And each time I thanked him for his interest in the project, as I'm doing once more now. “A great tree has fallen” this December, but its memory, contribution and impact will always remain erect, becoming a beacon that lights up the night and helps straying boats to avoid hitting the rocks… Our cover this time is George Petrocheilos, a young entrepreneur, who at 28, has already accomplished what would take others the better part of their lives. I met George at Johns Hopkins when I went to a Greek student event. I was immediately impressed by his qualities, his wit, his character, his ability to connect with people and the fact that, like me, he doesn't mince his words. We kept in touch and today I'm proudly happy to share his story and accomplishments with you. And I'm sure that we will see much more in the future from this uneasy and brilliant fellow... And since it's the season to be jolly, Merry Christmas to all! Thanks in abundance to our supporters, past and new ones, who despite the gloom and uncertainty of our Covid times, showed up and made this issue possible. Enjoy with your families and people you love and Have a beautiful, Covid free New Year!

Move Over Rockefeller, Astoria Gets Its Star!

Members of the Athens Square Tree Committee. Back Row: Luca Di Ciero, NY Space Finders, Andrew Latos, Rock, Health, Fitness, Tonino Sacco, Sacco & Fillas, LLP, Kirk Karabelas, Alma Bank, Gus Antonopoulos, Farenga Funeral Home, Anastasios Mentis, Mentis Photography. Front Row: Maria Markou, Markou Global Legal Group, Gus Lambropoulos, Committee Chair, and Agora Asset Management (AAM), Elias Fillas Committee Co-Chair, Sacco & Fillas LLP, Ari Tsatsaronis, Rock, Health, Fitness, and George Delis

importantly the unity of all the various diverse and ethnic backgrounds that exist here in Astoria. Our goal is to bring joy and hope to this c o m m u n i t y, which, like most of the rest of the w o r l d h a s experienced a year filled with sadness, fear and loss. It is ver y gratifying to see all the faces here, and it gives us hope that there are better days to come.”

Maria Markou led a moment of silence for all the people that were lost during Covid, and for those lives and businesses that continue to suffer during the pandemic. The tree lighting ceremony was preceded by a countdown to the lighting and closing thoughts by Jospeh Di Pietro, President of the Italian American Federation, on what the tree symbolizes: “In the spirit of the holidays, to promote peace and love throughout the community, to honor the healthcare and frontline workers in their fight against Covid, in memory of those who we have lost, and to inspire hope. We thank you all for coming to express your support.” Also present were the 30th Ave Business Association, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Community Board 1, AHEPA District 6 Governor Lou Katsos, City Artists, George Alexiou, VP of Athens Square Inc., Bishop Apostolos who lead a prayer service, and Rita Syntilas, the wife of the late Stamatios Lykos who designed the park. The ceremony was followed by music, singing, and dance performance of holiday classics by the artistic team of Cyprus New York Productions, led by Phyto Stratis, who is also the Artistic and Music Director of the Pancyprian Choir. Performances were given by Louis Panayiotou, Ariadne Panagopoulou, Aggeliki Psoni, Demetris Michael, and Phyto Stratis.

With the support of George Delis, President of by Athena Efter PHOTO: ANASTASSIOS MENTIS Athens S quare Inc., they Co-Chair Gus We aren’t comparing Rockefellers to Astors a p p r o a c h e d K i r k K a r a b e l a s , Lambropoulos here, but if the spirit of John Jacob Astor were Chairman of Alma Bank, and other summed it up floating through Athens Square Park, we m e m b e r s o f t h e c o m m u n i t y best: “It’s the could say that Astoria, the Queens community i n c l u d i n g C o s t a s ( G u s tree of Hope. named after the famed wealthy businessman, Antonopoulos) of Farenga Funeral Astoria finally has gained a very big star. It takes a village. In Home, Luca Di Ciero of NY Space got its star.” He this case, it took a lot of love for community Finders, Maria Markou, President of credits his wife and a very big tree to put this historical tree Markou Global Legal Group LLC, Ari Maria Markou lighting ceremony together on Tuesday, Tsatsaronis and Andrew Latos of for t he December 2 at 6:00pm at Athens Square Park. Rock Health and Fitness, and Tonino inspiration to Sacco, Managing The Norway Spruce, born move forward Partner of Sacco + and bred in Pennsylvania, with this Fillas LP to make is the same breed as the beautiful event this first event Rockefeller Center tree, but t h at b r o u g ht happen, and give about half the size. It stands much needed us a little taste of at 30 feet tall and 16 inches hope to a “Christmas wide. It is still a very big tree community that Spectacular” with which became the king of h a s b e e n fewer crowds and Elias Fillas, Co-Chair and queens that night. hearing the more community Gus Lambropoulos, Chair of Athens Square Tree Committee sirens of spirit. This project was the despair, with a brainchild of Elias Fillas of Kirk Karabelas, Master of spike in Covid, a lot more often. Athens Sacco Fillas LP and Gus Ceremony, offered a few Square Park and the tree are located a block Lambropoulos of Agora words of hope: “I hope that away from Mt. Sinai Hospital. Asset Management, both t h e m i s s i o n i s with roots in Astoria. accomplished that this tree Gus and Elias look forward to bigger and Together they formed the spreads happiness and greater things to come in the future, born out A t h e n s S q u a r e Tr e e hope and it allows people of this newly established tradition in Astoria. Committee as Co-Chairs in to feel a sense of normalcy We are looking forward to next year’s an effort to bring hope and in their lives until we can festivities. unity to our community. get back to normal again.” Elias Fillas noted that this tree is especially significant now with the He gave a special shout out and welcome to St. Uptick Multimedia videotaped the project Covid pandemic: “The importance of this tree Basil’s Academy and St. Michael’s Home who and tree lighting ceremony, from inception to completion, and George Malonoukos oversaw is a symbol of community and more were watching the event virtually. security. 94