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Oxi Day Foundation in DC Honors Modern Day Heroes George Sakellaris Wins 2017 Corfu Challenge

EMMANUEL E. VELIVASAKIS:

2017

$4.95

Sergeants' Benevolent Association Fires it Up for Charity Al Gore Goes to Houston, TX Ekaterina Botziou, a 21st Century Vlogger

The Internationally-Renowned Structural Engineer Now Building a Cultural Legacy


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My oldest daughter recently got married at a beautiful venue in Brooklyn that overlooked New York Harbor and all its fabled sights: the Statue of Liberty lit up across the water, the Freedom Tower lit up to the right, the Verrazano Bridge lit up to the left. People would take a break from the festivities to stroll outside and stand in wonder at the sight of Miss Liberty with all her history, at the Freedom Tower with all the history it represents, at the Verrazano and the entrance to New York Harbor which for millions was the start of a new life in a new world. New York remains the very symbol of what the immigrant journey was and is to America, but there are countless other places. I remember countless relatives who got off the ships in New Orleans (certainly not legally) and even others who made it to America through San Francisco and even the far ports of Alaska, which has a thriving Greek community. Years ago I spoke to the young priest assigned to the Greek church there and to some of his parishioners, some from Greece by way of the mainland, many in his church a polyglot of nationalities and races from Greek, to Russian, to native Alaskans of many tribes. How did you get there? I asked one elderly man who had been a longtime resident. How didn’t I get here? he said. He got on a ship in Greece, went through the Suez Canal, wound up stranded in Haifa, took a ship to the South Seas and Indonesia, took another ship to San Francisco, migrated through many

jobs all the way up to Alaska, went back to Greece, liked that you could get land in Alaska for practically nothing in those days and went back there, and decided to stay and become one of the patriarchs of the community. What’s life all about? he said. Life is a journey. The recent popularity of DNA testing proves just one thing: Greeks don’t have a monopoly in being mongrels (since we’re been conquered so many times). Practically everybody in the world is a mongrel and even so-called white supremacists are discovering they have African or Semite blood, which we probably all have, since they are among the founding blood lines of history. So to people who tremble at the very thought of immigrants entering our pristine shores to pollute it with their foreign blood, the foreign blood you condemn might be your own. And yes, the wedding was wonderful, and we got to dance both Greek and Italian (the groom is Italian) and everybody loved those dances the most and flooded the dance floor where we mingled shamelessly in an immigrant paradise that must be repeated endlessly throughout the beautiful tapestry of countless ethnicities that is the United States.

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Greek American Students Launched Inaugural Convention in Atlanta

The National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA) of North America, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, hosted their first bi-annual convention in the South in Atlanta, GA, this past October. The conference theme focused on energy and the environment, and included panel discussions followed by workshops detailing the role of leadership in business and society in promoting environmental sustainability. Attendees also spent time networking and bonding over several NHSA sponsored activities during the convention weekend.

President, Mr. Alexander Thomopulos. Mr. Hellenic Weekend ended on Sunday with a Konstantine Ouranitsas, NHSA Chairman, group picture in front of the Order of AHEPA moderated the panel discussion on leadership monument as attendees made their way to the and corporate responsibility and the World of Coca-Cola. environment that included Mr. Jim Logothetis, Partner at Ernst & Young; Mr. Jerry Couvaras, CEO and President of Atlanta Bread Co. and B a k e O n e ; a n d D r. R o m Papadopoulos, Managing Partner at Intuitus Group LLC. Mr. Costas Simoglou, Director of the Center of Innovation for Energy Technology at the Georgia Department of E c o n o m i c From left: Maria Sharp, President, Lykion Ton Ellinidon Atlanta, D e v e l o p m e n t Dr. Rom Papadopoulos, Managing Partner, Intuitus Group LLP a n d M s . A l l y & Intuitus Capital LLC, Jerry Couvaras, CEO & President, Atlanta Kelly, Executive Bread Company & Bake One, Alexander Thomopulos, President, Director of The National Hellenic Student Association, Jim Logothetis, Partner, R a y l a t e r Assurance Services, Ernst & Young and Konstantine Ouranitsas, p r e s e n t e d Chairman, National Hellenic Student Association inspiring new initiatives developed by the The NHSA Executive Board would like to thank Ray to create a regenerative our participants who traveled from near and far, highway ecosystem during as well as the special guests, speakers, mentors, t h e e n e r g y a n d and sponsors for continuously supporting our environment panel. After organization in our mission to unite the t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n s , Hellenic and Cypriot diaspora through educational, professional and social platforms. attendees enjoyed a The convention kicked off at The Marriott Marquis hotel where the NHSA Executive Board lunch provided by Athens Pizza. greeted attendees with Georgetown Cupcakes during check-in. A welcome dinner followed by The convention concluded with Greek dancing at Plaka Taverna made it a fun Mr. Kostapanos Miliaresis, Conight for attendees to meet at the onset of the founder of Ethelon, who conducted a motivating convention. workshop about finding one’s The following morning, attendees enjoyed passions and making a social breakfast at the beautiful campus of Georgia impact for the greater good. Institute of Technology, before the conference A t t e n d e e s t h e n h a d t h e began. The NHSA Director of Public Relations opportunity to explore the city and Recruitment, Ms. Tamika Tompoulidis, before heading to Taverna Plaka served as the emcee for the conference while one last time for the Greek opening remarks were given by NHSA Night with DJ Disco Hristo. The 14

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EMMANUEL E. VELIVASAKIS:

The Internationally-Renowned Structural Engineer Now Building a Cultural Legacy by Chris Salboudis

Cultural Crete USA is a nonprofit foundation established by the internationally-renowned Civil Engineer Emmanuel E. Velivasakis and his wife Orsa approximately seven years ago to preserve and promote the culture and traditions of their native Island of Crete – including the music, dance, people, etc. – via a series of educational print and media publications, seminars, performances and cultural activities. The foundation hosts and sponsors Cretan events and initiatives across the world to help promote a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Cretan culture and heritage.

of Lyra, the λεβεντιά of the Cretan people and the pride of Crete. This is our very special Cretan Heritage!… During these rather difficult times that we live in, with wars, severe economic difficulties and political leaders who seem to lead us to nowhere, we have a duty to keep our Cretan & Hellenic Spirit alive. We must not allow for our Culture, our Music, our Dances and our Humanity to become assimilated during this era of globalization. Are we ready to face this challenge? My wife and I have taken up this challenge head on, and establish and fund Cultural Crete USA.”

In January 2016, Mr. Velivasakis prepared an inspirational call to action, stating: “Many of us are indeed privileged to be of Hellenic descent and to have roots from the island of Crete, a dear and unique place, where one discovers the codes and cultural values it bears from the depths of the centuries. A place where the sun always shines with goodhearted and proud people who over the centuries have generously tasted both glory and death. Crete is the Manny and Orsa perfume and the flavor of tsikoudia, the sound Velivasakis have 20

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been married for 37 years. They have two sons: Lefteris, who lives in Florida with his wife Sophia, daughter Melina and son Manolis, and George, who lives in New York. Cultural Crete is fundamentally a family-run organization headed by the collaborative efforts of the Velivasakis family as well as Manny’s longstanding Executive Assistant from Thornton Tomasetti, Georgia Kokkinidou, who serves as Secretary of the foundation, and Professor Maria Hnarakis, Musicologist, who is heavily involved in the research and development aspects of all of their projects.


Moreover, the Velivasakis family has faithfully served their local Parishes in New York and Florida and supported countless national activities hosted through the Pancretan Association of America and other Greek and Cretan communities world-wide.

Kamariotis village in Heraklion, Crete, he shared the story of his humble beginnings in the U.S. and his progressive trials and advancement, which formed the journey towards innovation and remarkable success as a leader in his field, primarily as an Engineer (and ultimately as Vice President and a major In an exclusive interview with NEO, Mr. shareholder) at Thornton-Tomasetti, with Velivasakis explains that he and his family are which he has been affiliated since 1975. Hosting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and dedicated to serving various Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios of America at Ground Zero and Cretan organizations out of a deep-seated Projects managed and/or completed under Mr. after the Sept. 11 attack affection and appreciation Velivasakis’ supervision He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Structural for the island of his birth, for include the 1000m Engineering at the Institute of Design & its culture and music and the Kingdom Tower in Construction, where he teaches graduate-level rich legacy it represents. Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), courses to Architects and other Construction “Kazantzakis said that being the 520m Financial professionals. He has also served as an Adjunct Cretan is a big responsibility, C e n t e r i n Ta i p e i Professor of Architectural Engineering at New and he was right, but many (Twain), the structural York Institute of Technology and as a guest don’t take it seriously. Crete analysis and restoration lecturer at various universities including Pratt is part of the vast the mosaic of the Capitol of Greece and each of us has d o m e i n Inspecting the Steel Dome Wa s h i n g t o n the right to place our little of the St Nicholas Shrine stone in that mosaic. Today’s D.C., and the society focuses much more on money and life restoration of the Empire State and the whole idea of a unique culture has been Building and Ground Zero, at World diluted to a great degree. With all the focus on Trade Center. media and communication in today’s society it’s extremely difficult to preserve a unique Mr. Velivasakis was in charge of the culture. Crete is blending with the rest of the structural design for the seismic world, perhaps as part of the problem of what modernization of the Ataturk airport in comes with globalism. There’s nothing wrong Constaninople, Turkey. While in the with globalism, but there is clearly a need to City, during the aftermath of the 1999 Gold Cross of the Order of the Phenix, bestowed on behalf preserve our values and heritage in a world quake, he had visited at the Ecumenical of President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stefanopoulos where everything is changing and diverging Patriarchate and several of the Greek by Consul General Catherine Bouras in NYC Orthodox Churches in the region, where he Institute, Columbia University and California Polytechnic Institute. Since 2005, he has been volunteered his professional on the Advisory Board of the services for seismic damage CCNY School of Engineering, evaluation. advising the Dean on academic curriculum and industryAn award-winning article on related issues. the Structural Analysis and Evaluation of the U.S. Over the past 30 years, Mr. Capitol Dome, based on the Velivasakis has been actively forensic research and involved with the Parish structural development of Council at Our Savior in Rye the Velivasakis’ team, was New York, where he was featured on the cover-page elected to the positions of of the prestigious Civil The Velivasakises with Archbishop Demetrios of America Engineering magazine in Chatting with New York Governor President and Chairman of the Hellenic School and 1999. Andrew Cuomo regarding the St. Nicholas Shrine at the Archon occasionally served as an from the past, where we are in danger of losing Awards Reception. amateur Cantor. He has been the past and might ultimately talk about it as a In the wake of the September awarded several honors during this time in 11th tragedy, the Velivasakis’ team was again mere history. It’s important to preserve the recognition of his faithful dedication to called upon to lead in efforts to provide thoughts and messages relayed in our music, philanthropic leadership and stewardship in informational and technical support in the dance, writing and art, to promote it to our the Greek Orthodox church. These honors search and rescue efforts, at which time he people here in the US and worldwide – and include his induction as an Archon of the personally directed a multi-unit team especially in Crete – who are in jeopardy of Ecumenical Patriarchate of America (bestowed consisting of 300 engineers in those critical forgetting their roots. We especially want this by Patriarch Bartholomew in 2001), the Gold weeks following the terrorist attack. preserved and made available to the youth.” Cross of the Order of the Phoenix (2004) by the In his Keynote address at Philo4Thought’s 2014 Beyond the creative and strategic vision that Hellenic Republic, and the Gold Cross of the Spring Conference on Entrepreneurial enabled him to design a broad range of cutting- Order of the St. Mark (bestowed by the Innovation, Mr. Velivasakis, an internationally- edge commercial, educational and religious Patriarch and Pope of Alexandria and all Africa, renowned civil engineer, shared one of his facilities, Mr. Velivasakis is even more well- Theodore II. in 2009). favorite catch phrases: “If it ain’t broken, break known for building, supporting and preserving it then make it better.” Born and raised in communities, which is, in fact, his global legacy. COVER STORY

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University Press; DIAS summer-courses; internships and seminars for Greek-American youth; and the Botanical Park for the Preservation of the Flora and Fauna. Mr. Velivasakis Chaired the PEF for 8 years and served as Executive Vice President and President of the Hellenic American National Council, an umbrella organization for over 35 associations of which the Hellenic American Omogenia is comprised. Manny with grandchildren Melina & Manolis

He has also earned accolades for his impeccable technical and strategic expertise in the face of major disaster relief and community revitalization projects and for the outstanding support he has offered his global community. These awards include The Silver Medal of the Foundation for Research and Technology of Crete for helping to establish Crete University Press (1998), The Gold Medal of the Polytechnic University of Crete (1999), the Diamond Award of the US Consulting Engineers Council (2001 & 2002), an New York City Certificate of Appreciation for his service at Ground Zero (2002), the Eupalinos Award from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (2010), and New York State Certificate of Lifetime Achievement for his service to Hellenic Young Professionals and the Greek American community at large (2014). Mr. Velivasakis has juggled multiple professional, civic and academic schedules since his early college days while working tirelessly to preserve the exceptional family and cultural values that are, in fact, the heart and soul of the Cultural Crete initiative. He has been actively involved with various Cretan-American organizations at the local and national levels, notable as President of the Pancretan Association of America (2005-2009), leading a particularly exciting exploration of Alexandria

The Velivasakis Family: from left, their son Lefteris with his daughter Melina, Lefteris’ wife Sophia with son Manolis, Orsa & Manny and their George

(Egypt) in their 2009 Convention. He has also been heavily involved with the Pancretan Endowment Fund (PEF) for the various universities of Crete since 1986. Programs supported by the PEF include the establishment and maintenance of Crete 22

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says, “We have reached where we couldn’t reach as Kazantzakis would say…. And there are always more projects brewing. There’s one we took up a month ago about the old music of Greece. I don’t have much information yet, but

When asked about his vision for Cultural Crete, Mr. Velivasakis says, “My first idea was to sponsor a few projects. From there the concept blossomed into the support of major projects like the preservation of the local unknown musicians who are largely unpublished but Having received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor carry the authentic music of Crete, especially of the old musicians, recorded by amateurs. it will be again a volume and music from various parts of Greece.”

4

With Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani at a Leadership 100 reception

At present, Cultural Crete has been discovering, researching and publishing information on the various influences on Cretan musicians, particularly those in the US…. There’s a strong influence from the blues music of the 1920s and 30s and from Asia minor as well.” The book Milie Mou Kriti Ap’ta Palia (Crete, Tell Me About Your Old Songs) and its corresponding 8-CD compilation is based on the work of musical archivists in Crete, Athens, Constaninople, and throughout the US (New York, Salt Lake City, Colorado Mines, Chicago) preserved in the form of records dating back to the 1900s-1920s. “We’ve republished Café Aman Amerika, a compilation of songs from Greek Americans back in the 20s and 30s performed in a unique Greek-American lingo, which was so successful that we used it for fundraising purposes. It’s part of a world we should not lose.”

There’s a great deal of influence from around the world – some good, some not – and the music has evolved, as it should, from one person sitting at the center and playing. We want to showcase the originals, the positive Another ongoing project involves the research evolution of the Repertorio….” and preservation of various Rizitika songs, traditionally sung His ultimate vision for the in a capella in Chania, Crete. foundation is to establish a Professor Hnaraki offers the cyber museum of Cretan music following description: “The and culture where scholars and History of RIZITIKA SONGS musicians can record, report, project has been undertaken by a and store thousands of group of dedicated Rizitika recordings of Crete’s cultural Singers and Musicologists visiting legacy. “We’d provide the various mountainous villages in promotional support and fund Western Crete to record local the research, offering a small variations of the RIZITIKA Songs. stipend to volunteers who know The ultimate purpose is to how to preserve and present the record, catalog and preserve as material in a format that the With traditional Cretan attire many songs and tunes as possible current world will understand for prosperity.” and appreciate, which is also essential to the success of our efforts. The truth is that you can write a book about anything, but if it just sits on Mr. Velivasakis explains the vital importance of the shelves, what good is it?” This project is this particular project: “We’re planning to come currently in its conceptual stages, but the team up with a volume of recordings of that genre, is confident that it will take shape in the very which is sung mostly in the mountain region. Next, we will apply to the UN for recognition of near future. this project as a cultural heritage initiative, When asked about the span of the research which should open the door for future continued to page 45 being covered at the foundation, Mr. Velivasakis funding.”


Remembering Oxi Day in Washington D.C. by Honoring People of Courage and Service to Humanity The Washington Oxi Day Foundation held its 7th Annual Celebration of Oxi courage, past and present, in Washington, DC on October 25-27, 2017. At the main event, North Korean defector Ji Seng-ho and leading voice against Islamist extremism Ayaan Hirshi Ali received the Oxi Courage Award for their David-vs-Golliath courage against the great evils of today, in the spirit of what the Greeks did in WWII. Leading humanitarian Bruce Mosler received the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award for his efforts to fight antisemitism and discrimination. US Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin introduced Mosler, historymaking US Olympic Gold Medalist Helen Maroulis introduced Hirsi Ali and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman introduced Seong-ho.

L to R: National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, Oxi Day Foundation Board Member Jim Chanos, Oxi Courage Award recipient Ji Seong-ho, Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award recipient Bruce Mosler, Foundation President Andy Manatos

Washington Oxi Day Foundation Board Members Jim Chanos and Nicholas Logothetis, as well as Foundation President Andy Manatos also delivered remarks. Earlier in the day, at the National World War II Memorial, the Foundation honored a Greek, an American and a GreekAmerican WWII veteran with its Greatest Generation Award: Greek-American George Possas, former US Senator Daniel Inouye and Eleftherios Smyrniotopoulos. The Jaharis Service Award was presented to Peter Vlachos for his service in the Korean War and, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis, his service to the Greek-American community, our country and the world. Activities began with a reception at the Greek Ambassador’s residence on October 25 and ended with a wreath laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetary’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on October 27 in honor of those who lost their lives in WWII when Greece said OXI to surrender.

L to R: Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos, Jim Chanos, US Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, Bruce Mosler, Andy Manatos, Helen Maroulis

WWII veteran George Possas and his daughter Denise Possas Bocchicchio 28

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Foundation Executive Director Mike Manatos, Ji Seong-ho, Jaharis Service Award recipient Peter Vlachos, US Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos


Peter J. Pappas in Memoriam

Pe t e r J . P a p p a s , t h e entrepreneur and philanthropist passed away in Oyster Bay, New York on Thangsgiving Day. He was marride to Catherine Pappas whom he met at the St. Eleftherios Church, in Manhattan and is survived by their three children and nine grandchildren. Peter ser ved as the Chairman at P. J. Mechanical Corp. for almost half a century. He was also a Prime Real Estate Developer and investor around the country. He served as Chairman of the Board of 3doo, Inc. and P.J.M. Holding Group, consisting of P.J. Mechanical Corp. A noted philanthropist, Pappas was the National Chairman of the Cyprus Children's Fund, a Director at BioVest International, Inc. since March 2003, a Director of Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C and he was a Member of the B o a r d o f T h e Cyprus/American Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Board of Directors of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, The Michael Wolk Heart Foundation - Cornell University Hospital, on the Archdiocesan National Council of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and was Trustee of the privileged Leadership 100 Endowment trust. He was also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople.

Chrysler Building, Park Avenue Atrium, Citicorp Building, the Time Warner Center, and two new stadiums, Citifield and Yankee Stadium. Pappas was recently involved in film production, becoming executive producer of the 2016 film “Swing Away”, which tells the story of a Greek-American professional golfer who travels to her grandparents’ village in Greece following a professional meltdown. An avid golfer, he initiated an effort into making the sport more popular in Greece and bring international players there. In a cover story for NEO magazine, November 2011, Peter reminisced sharing the field with Telly Savalas. “We played from sunup to sundown,” he said.“We’d play golf all day long, eat, drink, and play more golf. It was very competitive: there w a s a l w a y s a w a g e r, because I think that makes it more focused. There are a lot of social golfers that just go out and hit the ball, and Peter J. Pappas had received many awards then there are others who need to compete, from various Greek communities, among like Greeks. I think it makes the difference. It them the Hellenic Heritage Award and the keeps you focused and you play better.” Honorary Gold Medal of the Republic of A unawavering Republican and founder of Cyprus. the Hellenic American Republican Through his various companies he was Association, he helped and participated in responsible for renovations on many of New many campaigns and he also played golf with York’s signature buildings, including the George Bush senior up in Kennebunkport.

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FIRING UP FOR CHARITY by Athena Efter

SBA Board Members, from left Anthony Borelli, Ed Conroy, Ed Geary, Bill Craven, Gary DeRosa, Jim Gatto, and Joe Ricotta

Ferguson 5k Walk, Run, and Crawl, and a variety of other social events throughout the year, along with the support of private and corporate donations. The SBA always remembers and never forgets. Their annual Heroism Awards Dinner is held each year in honor of the four sergeants, John G. Coughlin, Michael S. Curtain, Rodney C. Gillis, and Timothy A. Roy, who lost their lives on 9/11. The SBA is also a great supporter of the Metro New York Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, a not-for-profit organization that provides resources and support to surviving families of police officers who lost their The NYC SBA dates back to 1899, and has been lives while in service. “semper fidelis” since, in service to its brothers and sisters who, as the SBA maintains, “have the At the fundraiser, I toughest job in the world”. It’s also an was able to meet and honorable one. To carry out your duties as a t a l k t o m a n y sergeant means to display attributes of m e m b e r s o f l a w integrity, leadership, experience, objectivity, enforcement. They confidence, physical conditioning, motivation, poignantly expressed promptness, and consistency. These qualities their camaraderie to create a brother and sisterhood that take care of each other and the families and each other. In remembrance of a families they serve. fallen member, the SBA Fund provides Various chapters of assistance to a variety of events and causes, such t h e S B A w e r e as a summer camp, gifts to children at the represented. James annual holiday party, a scholarship fund, a car Gatto, Staten Island raffle, the annual Sgt. Thomas Keith A. Director, made it a The NYC Sergeants’ Benevolent Association (SBA), led by its President Edward Mullins, held a “Cigar Night” fundraiser at Katch, a local brewery, in Astoria, Queens. The event was spearheaded by Gus Tsiavos, a longtime friend and supporter of the SBA, and Cliff Thieleke, SBA’s Manhattan North Director. Several members of NYC’s finest and law enforcement officials throughout the tri-state area came together to fire up the grill, buy raffles, and light up cigars in support of the SBA’s not-for-profit Care Fund which provides for widows and children of NYC sergeants who passed away in performance of their duties or of other causes.

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point to tell me that, in the spirit of brotherhood, “We don’t forget. We are still honoring families of 9/11 and SBA doesn’t forget them, bringing gifts and presents into their lives. The police force is like a family and we never forget them. They will always be our family.” Also joining him were Joe Ricotta, Director of SBA Detective Bureau; Anthony Borelli, Health and Welfare Secretary, Gary DeRosa, Financial Secretary, Eddie Conroy, Queens North Director, and Billy Craven, Housing Director. They all expressed the same sentiments. It was all hands on deck as they and several volunteers took turns at the raffle table assembling and arranging baskets, collecting raffles, and making sure that all ran smoothly in an effort to support the families they serve. So just how far does this camaraderie go? As far as New Jersey and upstate NY. Folks from Cancer Call-Out 58 NJM06, which was started in honor of SWAT Team Commander, Nick Magos, came all the way from Somerset County in NJ. The dates in the organization’s title represent the birth year and year of passing of Mr. Magos who died of kidney cancer. Their primary mission is to raise money for First Responder families stricken from cancer. They are in their seventh year of raising money to over 30 families stricken with life-threatening illnesses, and not just cancer. Also present were Miguel Bermudez, Chief of Police in Freeport, LI and Keven Edell, a Lieutenant with the Freeport police. They met Gus Tsiavos 6 months ago. For Gus, organizing this event and supporting the SBA and his friends in law enforcement, is a labor of love. He worked at diners for many years. The police officers were always coming in to tell him to be on alert for robberies, and generally looking out for him and the community. Gus was living in New Jersey at the time, and that’s how he met his friends at Cancer Call Out who came to show their support.

Event organizer Gus Tsiavos with Athena Efter


Peggy Tsiavos with Cillian Corbett

Everyone who knows Gus knows he likes cigars. Gus was able to rally the support of several sponsors to make this event a fun and fitting tribute to his friends in law enforcement. While not all smoke cigars, lighting up cigars and firing up grills is certainly a great way to gather up the men and women who keep New York City safe, and to never forget those who have fallen in the line of duty. Among the sponsors and raffle donors were NY Ice Cream, Crosstown Diner, Stefanos Furs, NY Smiles, Northshore Farms, Christina’s Epicure, Southdown Marketplace, Commerce Electric,

Cellar 53 Wine Cellar, Christo Fifth Avenue Hair Salon, Nature Friendly Pest Control, International Meat Market, Interstate Foods, Efthymiou Produce, Mediterranean Foods, and Mac Doughnut Corporation. Cigars were donated anonymously, but whether or not you are a cigar aficionado makes no difference to the SBA. Your support does.

tremendous paternal organization, made up of good, solid men who take care of each other and their community, and I’m very proud to call them friends.” Cliff Thieleke could not agree more: “It’s important to us to support our fallen brothers and their widows and children. We are part of a larger family.” Indeed it is a larger family. To my pleasant surprise, I ran into my friend Joey Deo, also a NYC Sergeant. It was an As Michael O’Sullivan of the New York State honor and a pleasure to meet several members Police so proudly expressed: “I’ve been friends of New York’s finest putting forth their finest. with Cliff and have formed a relationship with the SBA for the past three years. It’s a


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hellenes without borders

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 Amazon.com.

THE CASE FOR CULTURAL LITERACY On Sunday, October 29, 2017 I had the singular pleasure of addressing members of the Hellenic Cultural Association of Salt Lake City, Utah. For a Utah Greek boy long away from his home community, this was a great honor to talk about my latest book, but in the context of knowing both our personal and ethnic history.

lectures or reading my articles. The interest is not just for a cursory examination of Greek history, but for a deeper dive into the totality of this vast and complicated inheritance. “I never thought about it this way . . .” is a common refrain, or “This discussion put the role of Byzantium in our heritage in perspective.”

Macedonians, and Romanians share our faith, our culture, and we have so much common history. These ties are important and should be fostered, as it strengthens our “numbers” here at home and helps to foster those same ties “back home” where Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia have very strong political, cultural, economic, and, in the face of the Turkish threat, military ties. Even the Turkish legacy is far from understood, except in highly negative terms. Most Greeks know—or want to know—little about this era, yet this nearly half millennium is vital to an understanding of Greece today, and it too merits attention and study beyond just a universal condemnation. We risk coming off as biased and uniformed if we do not understand our history as a totality rather than just one of soundbites and headlines.

Alex Billinis at Hellenic Cultural Association of Salt Lake City, Utah, October 29, 2017. Photo by Barbara Colessides I applaud the efforts of my friends at the Hellenic Cultural Association and other similar minded entities throughout the US, Greece, and elsewhere in the Greek Diaspora. I had the honor of serving as a Board Member for Hellenic Link-Midwest in Chicago, and I presented lectures at Chicago’s incomparable National Hellenic Museum. There are several other excellent organizations I know of or have worked with in the US and Greece, and all are dedicated in some way to promoting cultural literacy within our community.

The importance of cultural literacy goes beyond intellectual curiosity. As we are further removed from Greece, the accoutrements of history, culture, and traditions serve as key markers for our identity. The vastness of Greek history and culture literally has something in it for everyone, but I would suggest that the millennium-plus legacy of Byzantium is the most relevant and profound part of our history. Particularly for converts to Orthodoxy, the immense absorptive power of Byzantium, which took in Levantines, Slavs, Romanians, Italians, and even Anglo-Saxons (such as the Varangian Guard) should be, if anything, the tie that binds. As I look at our new parish, in Greenville, South Carolina, it is full of converted Americans, Levantine Arabs, Romanians, and Russians. Byzantium is surely more of a bond than ancient Greece.

I believe strongly that now is the time for a bottom up initiative dedicated to expanding the cultural knowledge base of Greek Americans. Our community is large, diverse, well-educated and sophisticated, and includes so many people who are well removed from Greece or have assimilated Greek culture peripherally via marriage or partial ancestry. I have witnessed a The Byzantine legacy ties us to the other Balkan great deal of interest from people watching my countries in particular; Serbs, Bulgarians, Slav 38

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This sounds complicated, and who has time for such study? Fair point, and yes, the material is vast and complicated. At the same time, many of the finer points can be distilled in a few slides, articles, and lectures. The point is to build awareness, to start conversations currently not being had. What was the role of Byzantium? Why do we never hear about the Byzantines? What happened during the Turkokratia (the Turkish occupation)? Why are these things relevant to us today, either in Greece or abroad? From there, we need to rely on an engaged audience, a literate one, which will follow up with their own study to draw their own conclusions. Our community is well educated and in my experience, eager to learn about the totality of Hellenic history. In fact, if anything, the more removed the person from Greece, the more often there is this need to connect, at least intellectually, with Greece’s history and heritage. Most of us in the Diaspora have Hellenism in our hearts, it is time to bolster the Hellenism in our minds. Cultural literacy programs set the ball in motion, and from there, an erudite and literate crowd will do the rest.


Al Gore Visits Hurricane Harvey Victim: Houston, Texas Two months after hurricane Harvey inundated Houston with 51 inches of rain, former Vice President Al Gore returned to a packed Rice University basketball arena to empathize with Houstonians impacted, share his climate analysis on what made Harvey unlike prior hurricanes, and chart a path forward for the global community. Houstonian James Cargas was there. Cargas, who worked in the Clinton-Gore White House at the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, said “I have always admired Vice President Gore’s persistence and dedication to halting and reversing climate change – a great challenge that appears unsolvable, but really can be achieved.”

the other arm disgorged that water indiscriminately on Texans. “I regret to say that these conditions are becoming the new norm,” Gore warned. “There will be more Harveys in the future as the Gulf warms up. It doesn’t take a large temperature difference to make a big impact.”

Cargas explained to NEO, “Houston has enjoyed great economic and James Cargas, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou and Vice population growth but the U.S. Corps of Engineers have not significantly President Al Gore; photo courtesy of James Cargas in attendance. “Hearing that temperatures improved flood control measures since the 1950’s.” Cargas is the City of reached 129 degrees Fahrenheit in Iraq this Houston’s energy lawyer and a candidate for summer did not really register until Al Gore Texas’ Seventh Congressional District where showed us how asphalt roads melted and shoes Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 much of the repeat flooding is happening. got stuck in the gooey liquid pavement,” for his work to raise awareness of man-made “Climate change is exasperating Houston’s Papageorgiou exclaimed. climate change and to counteract its impact. He vulnerabilities,” he added. is also Chairman of the Climate Reality Project. "I regret to say that these conditions are becoming After walking through the the new norm. There will be more Harveys in the Gore opened with devastating pictures and science and depressing the future as the Gulf warms up. It doesn’t take a large videos of Texas neighborhoods the audience crowd that came to see him temperature difference to make a big impact.” recognized immediately. For several of these on a Monday evening, Gore Al Gore neighborhoods it was their third “500-year s a i d , “ i t ’ s h a p p e n i n g flood” in three years. They were flooded in the everywhere.” He showed Memorial Day Flood of 2015, again in the Tax that Houston is not alone The former Vice President also reminded the Day Flood of 2016, and again by hurricane and that other communities in the United crowd that temperatures hit a record 111° F Harvey in 2017. Harvey flooded thousands of States, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Greenland, (43° C) in Athens, Greece this past summer. homes that were previously considered safe. Europe, and Middle East are all experiencing more extreme weather and Just when the audience was convinced we are greater precipitation. He all heading towards global extinction, Gore pointed to the resulting offered options for reversing course. The one crop failures, refugee that earned cheers from Houstonians was how movements, disease and the deployment of renewable energies would wars as all being the direct drastically cut carbon and other emissions. result of climate change u p e n d i n g s o c i e t i e s , “Markets are reacting and rewarding clean economies and agriculture. energy generation and storage, and digitally empowered energy efficiency and waste reduction.” Gore continued, “A world powered by clean energy is possible and within reach. We “It’s no coincidence that must be the drivers of progress.” 1.5 million Syrians moved to already crowded cities Cargas, the energy lawyer, was thrilled to hear Harvey was different and more devastating than after 60% of Syria’s fertile land became desert Gore challenge the World’s Energy Capital to previous storms, Gore explained, because it which created social pressures and civil war,” lead our planet’s future with renewable energy gained tremendous strength from above Gore gave as one example. deployment here and around the globe. average water temperatures deep in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. It was the first time a “Gore made a passionate case for the need to In 2000, experts predicted the world would Gulf storm increased in intensity prior to change our impact on the thin layer of Earth’s have 30 gigawatts (GW ) of wind energy making land fall. Normally when a storm atmosphere we live in, and he backed it all up installed. But with the cost of wind turbines churns up the Gulf ’s waters, the deeper cold with hard solid science,” Cargas who is married falling dramatically every year, the technology water weakens the storm. In 2017, however, to a scientist said. has taken off. “That prediction was very wrong,” this deep water was significantly warmer and Gore declared, “the reality is that by 2016, the acted like an accelerator, not a brake. Harvey That scientist, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, a world had sixteen times that amount.” Of the also moved unusually slowly along the Texas neuroscientist at the nearby Texas Medical 480 GW of global wind production installed, coast with one arm reloading with water while Center, was also there among the 4,000 people the United States accounts for 84 GW. 40

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The state leading this rapid deployment? Texas, of course! Today, Texas has 21 GW of wind power capacity which is more than any other state. By the end of 2018, Texas will produce more electricity from wind than coal. Gore then showed how the story is the same for solar power. In 1976, it cost $79.49 per watt for solar generation. In 2016, that cost has plummeted to 41¢ per watt. “Solar energy jobs are growing 17 times faster than the overall economy,” Gore shared with an audience who has seen thousands of fossil energy jobs eliminated since the price of oil fell.

"Houston has enjoyed great economic and population growth but the U.S. Corps of Engineers have not significantly improved flood control measures since the 1950’s.” James Cargas, City of Houston Energy Lawyer

Cargas was part of the Mayor’s team that brought a 50 megawatt (MW ) solar power plant on-line that will supply the City’s meters with affordable energy for 20-years. The City of Houston is the 8th largest purchaser of renewable energy in America according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Like wind power, the rapid deployment of solar technology has seen total US solar generation shoot to 44.7 GW. While the majority of electricity is still produced with fossil energy, renewables are closing the gap. Seventy percent of all new power generation construction in the United States is either wind or solar.

James Cargas and Al Gore campaigning in Dallas in 2000

The most drastic gains, h o w e v e r, r e m a i n elsewhere. Developing nations are leap-frogging into new renewable technologies just like they did during the cellular phone technology boom. In Chile, renewable energy went from 11 MW in 2013, to 402 MW in 2014, and then 848 MW in 2015. In 2017, Chile now has 13,300 MW approved or under construction.

While wind and solar generation are being rapidly deployed around the world, hundreds of carbon emitting power plants running on coal are being retired. This includes the United States where old and inefficient coal plants can no longer compete with cheaper renewable energy. In addition to cleaner air, 2.6 million Americans now work in the solar, wind, and energy efficiency sectors. The smallest sector, solar, now accounts for two times the number of jobs as the coal industry. In his concluding remarks, Gore showed that the rapid and ongoing renewable energy boom is working, “global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have stayed flat three years in a row. The first time in 40 years without the presence of an economic crisis.” “The story of climate action is one of hope and progress, not despair,” Gore said, “This is our road forward.”


Ekaterina Botziou: Myths & Legends of a 21st-Century Vlogger by Chris Salboudis

Ekaterina Botziou is a rising star dedicated to putting Greek culture and heritage on the map through a variety of professional and philanthropic projects and publications. Her work has been celebrated in various publications since 2014, including the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author /ekaterina-botziou) and Philo4Thought’s Hellenic Mentoring Initiative (http://www.philo4thought.org/botziou_e). More recently, she has been nominated as an award recipient in the “Reader’s Choice Category” of the Brit Mums Brilliance in Blogging Awards (http://www.britmums.com/awards) for her blog, Ekaterina’s Greek Expectations. “Just being nominated felt like such an achievement in itself and has given me that extra motivation to carry on and make the blog bigger and better!” Ekaterina’s journey begins with her initial pursuit of a career as a criminal barrister, during which time she wrote articles for a series of student publications. After earning her Law degree (specializing in Medical Law and Criminology), she continued her theatrical training at various institutes – including the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – while conducting administrative work in legal and financial sectors. In 2012, Ekaterina was offered a permanent post in a top financial firm in London. She also met her husband during this time and was married shortly thereafter, which led to the inception of her first blog project, The Greek Wives Club. Freelance writing fulfills her combined creative and professional ambitions. “There are so many paths a person can take in life, but right now I feel that I’ve tested the waters and am moving in the right direction… My attempts to do something worthwhile and spread good cheer are reflected through my community blogs and publications…” She founded The Greek Wives Club (http://thegreekwivesclub.com) in 2012 after marrying into a Greek Cypriot family and writing her first book, Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing (http://www.ekaterinabotziou.com/ greek1a.html). The concept of the group was based on one of her favorite comedies – The First Wives Club – and with a plan to create a space for Greek women, women who live in Greece and Cyprus, and women who have married into Greek families to share their more comical life experiences. “Despite being half Greek myself I still wasn’t completely prepared for the onslaught of a Greek 42

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marriage, and so the Club began as sort of a refuge for women suffering the same fate! In 2015, I launched The Greek Wives Club website to make the group more official and place all our areas of interest in one online platform where people can find us easily. In a nutshell, The GWC aims to educate, empower and inspire women (and any men!) teetering on the edge of Mount Olympus by providing information on Greek marriage, traditions, language, health and much more. Whether you are looking to start up your own business, write your own book, plan a holiday to the Greek islands or just learn more about the Greek culture, we have dedicated sections on our website to help. You don’t have to be Greek to join, but you do need to have a sense of humor!” In creating The GWC website, Ekaterina enlisted the help of various professional women with expertise in different Greek fields. “The digital team is here to advise and direct anyone who wants to get out of the Greek kitchen and start smashing some plates. The team includes Greek language specialists, travel experts, chefs, wedding planners and more. Our goal is to help provide our readers with useful information. We also invite others to promote GWC initiatives on their own platforms.” The initiative, which started out as a platform on which Ekaterina shared her own short stories, soon grew into a vast community network of bloggers and authors that touches upon important sociological themes including living with cultural differences and finding resources for family support. Today, The GWC offers a broad network of contacts and connections to help educate, support and entertain women from all walks of life. The aim remains to reach out to and show support to women, other clubs, groups, restaurants, writers, artists and communities all over the world who want to share anything related to life amongst the Greek community. The business section provides advertising opportunities, sponsored posts and a business directory for any brands or companies looking to expand their online presence. In addition to creating this novel international women’s network, Ekaterina also “Inspired and frustrated by the madness of my own Big Fat semi-Greek Life, I decided to chronicle my Hellenic dramas on the blog at the same time as writing my first book, Greek Expectations: The Last Moussaka Standing. What started out as a hobby soon became a platform for the expression of my literary, philosophical and social goals (http://www.ekaterinasgreekexpectations .com), which helped pave the way for my book, which I self-published in 2013. Part memoir, part rant, part-survival guide, Greek Expectations lends humorous insight into the trials and tribulations of being a modern woman faced with the demands of age-old Greek traditions and how to cope!” When asked about how she manages the specific challenges of the publication industry, Ekaterina says, “When looking for a publisher, on the whole, feedback was very positive, but I was told by several literary agents that the book was too short, or that it wouldn’t appeal to the masses. One even wanted me to change the entire story. Rejection is commonplace in both the literary and acting world, and it can be very frustrating when an idea you think will be a success is torn apart


and turned into something completely different. While of course it is important to consider constructive criticism and be able to adapt if the need suits, you should never lose sight of your initial aim. I knew what the aim of my book was and I wanted it to have a unique twist on the average ‘growing up with a crazy family’ tale. In the end, my decision to self publish proved to be the right one. I didn’t have the recognition of a well known publishing PR team, or the advantage of a top cover designer, but I knew my own creative and marketing strengths were good enough and I was able to create the book exactly as I wanted.” In 2014, Ekaterina published her second book, Theseus & the Mother-in-Law and other Myths & Legends (http://www.ekaterinasgreek expectations.com/theseus-the-mother-in-law). The book is refreshingly humorous parody that lends a modern-day perspective to a variety of classical Greek myths and legends from the tale of Hercules’ Twelve Labors to that of Theseus and the Cretan Minotaur. In addition to her personal writing, Ekaterina also contributes to a variety of magazines. She writes a monthly segment for Cypriot newsletter The Oroklini News (www.facebook.com/ TheOrokliniNews) and the Prestige Publications’ high end production, Status Magazine (www.facebook.com/StatusMagazine.eu). Shortly before the birth of her first son in 2015, Ekaterina published her first (non-Greek) short story, “Seraphina” (ekaterinabotziou.com/ greek2b.html) a fantasy tale about a young girl who is tragically affected by a despotic regime and forced to overcome all odds to avenge her parents’ death. She has also gradually branched out onto YouTube to expand her online presence, using her new vlogs to drive more traffic towards her various publications. “You can find so many inspiring YouTubers out there who create fun, uplifting and useful content! I find parenting vlogs particularly helpful at this stage in my life and I hope that my videos will, in turn, help, amuse and inspire viewers too!” Today – the proud mother of two young boys – Ekaterina is still running strong with her writing projects and is preparing a series of children’s books, returning to her main theme of Greek mythology once again. When asked if there were ever any moments of doubt or potential failure, Ekaterina says, “If you truly believe in something you have to pick yourself up and come back stronger…. I always have lots of projects on the go whether it is a short film that I’m involved with, or an article that I’m writing. You have to be prepared for things to go off course sometimes – I had to cancel a short music video I was making as several of my cast dropped out at the last minute. Instead, my camera man and I lined up another project and used the weekend to put together a voice over. There is always a silver lining.”

topic, even today. Some people find it absolutely abhorrent that any mother would contemplate ‘leaving her baby behind’ to pursue her career. Others welcome the dual life as a type of escapism. In reality, most parents have no choice. Working to support one’s family is a basic necessity of our time. In my opinion, no one should ever question a woman’s right to decide whether or not to return to work. It’s a private choice.” Of all the hats she wears and titles she has held over the years, Ekaterina’s favorite title is definitely “Mama”! She explains that she returned to her full-time job in the financial industry after having her first child. “I did it purely for financial reasons and I found it heartbreaking. However, the leap from one child to two (or more) is huge, and I do not intend to return to a full-time job now that I have had my second son.” Instead of dwelling on the reasons that her full-time employer denied her request to work at a part-time capacity, Ekaterina smiles and maintains a positive attitude. “I have taken this as a sign to focus on my writing and other entrepreneurial endeavors. Now I can work around my children’s schedules. They have and always will be my first priority. I have always enjoyed working and it definitely to be in a thriving, professional environment but looking after my children is the most rewarding (and most difficult) job I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, when it comes to parenting there is no Yearly Review to see how I’m doing!” Ekaterina maintains a strong standard for work ethics in all her professional and philanthropic endeavors. In work and in life she maintains an amazing combination of creativity, compassion and discipline for which she primarily credits her grandmother. “My grandmother… was a fine example of someone with fantastic fortitude and dignity. She was an incredibly strong, highly intelligent woman whose wit and zest for life shone through even in her final moments. I felt that it was only right to dedicate my debut novel to the woman who always encouraged and nurtured my love of the written word and taught me that no matter what, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.”

All-in-all, blogging has allowed Ekaterina to meet wonderful people, many in the international Hellenic community, and to collaborate with other authors, bloggers and The twenty-first century is definitely an era in community groups which both parents are expected to contribute to around the world to the financial and sociological stability of their Ekaterina with husband Soto and their boys Andreas and Dimitrios promote activities related home and children. We asked Ekaterina how she to work, life, Greek manages to juggle her civic engagement projects along with her writing and culture and charitable giving. She is happiest, however, when she is with her family responsibilities. “I think it is extremely difficult to balance work and family family. “Nothing is as precious as spending quality time and having a good laugh life when you are a mom, especially if you have young children. Support from with those who are closest to you.” family is vital. Returning to work after having a baby seems to be a controversial NEWS & NOTES

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"And so it's Christmas ..." It's the time of the year when our readers express their support to this heroic project, well in its 13th year, by conveying their wishes to the community through its pages. Once more they are generous and we feel grateful for that. Despite the astronomical cost of producing a quality publication on a constant basis, we have managed with your help to make "the impossible possible", as the famous Greek song says. The struggle is to continue and so is our fundraising effort. This year we are producing two holiday issues, one for Christmas, this one that is, and one for New Year's, like we used to do. So, those of you who forgot or didn't have the time to respond to our appeal in this issue, you have the chance to make it up in the next one which will come out before New Year's. You can also tell your friends to help, there are many choices and we'll be more than happy to include you in our gloriously long list of supporters. Having another issue to close in a very short period of time, I won't keep you longer. Merry Christmas to you and yours and thanks for the support, love and encouragement all these years. Together we established another tradition in the community, hosting many of the particular stories that constitute our shared history in this part of the world ....

by Demetrios Rhompotis

dondemetrio@neomagazine.com

continued from page 22

Cultural Crete also prepares and distributes free educational packets and publications to the Cretan community to help raise awareness and appreciation for our history and culture. For example, a collector’s art-package of Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), recently published by the National Gallery in Athens, complete with amazing lithographs for recipients to exhibit in their homes, was shared to commemorate the famous Cretan’s 400th Anniversary. Cultural Crete also supported creative recitations and enactments of Kazantzakis’ work at the Greek Cultural Center, with a much larger performance of the same in Rethimno, Crete, which drew over 2,000 attendees! At present, the foundation continues to sponsor the preservation, production and distribution of multiple literary and musical performances both locally and globally. Cultural Crete has preserved a CD of the work of Professor Grigoris Maninakis (Engineering, SUNY Stony Brook), a world-renowned singer of 40 years who hosts a show on Cosmos FM on Monday nights. The foundation is also the partial sponsor of a multi-faceted musical project with the famous Xylouris family, which goes back 100 years to composer and musician Giorgos Xylouris.

Cultural Crete often pushes beyond the musical ties to investigate, document and share the signs of the times and the more intricate historical ties to Crete. “Another Hellen”, was written by an American, George Horton who served as Consul General in Constantinople in the 1900s and he documented the destruction of Smyrna. He spent some time in Crete in the 1860s and 1870s and documented the life of Cretans under the Ottoman occupation. Though the story itself is fiction it serves as a historical documentary of Crete and how people lived in that period. “Horton’s daughter, who lives in Athens, gave us the rights to publish the book,” he explains. Towards the ongoing fulfillment of increasing awareness of historical as well as creative contributions, Mr. Velivasakis recently gave a special historical lecture on the heroes of Crete based on Cultural Crete’s DVD, 1866 Arkadi Monastery Holocaust, at the Minos Cretan House in Astoria New York.

These are a few of over 20 ongoing projects that are in the works at the foundation, which are being preserved as books and/or CD/DVD compilations and offered, for the most part, in both English and Greek. Mr. Velivasakis concludes the interview for NEO Magazine with a reverence to excerpts from a touching book review of The Voice of the People: Mantinades of Crete, written by Prof. Stylianos Spyridakis from the Center for Byzantine & Modern Greek Studies at CUNY Queens College (Pella Publishing, NY, June 2012). The review begins: “The mantinades, sung at all social occasions, from weddings to funerals, are deeply embedded in the Cretan psyche and express the spirit, values, moral physiognomy and instinctual vitality of the people…. The book starts with a brief treatise on Cretan mantinades and continues with a quite large selection of them…. Prof. Spyridakis provides an absolutely wonderful English translation for each of the mantinades… in poetic rhymed verse… one of the few [that] truly expresses the spirit and poetic value of each of the original verses! Here are some representative examples for your enjoyment: ‘…Liberty was asked once what mother gave you birth; Its Cretan blood, responded she, that brought me to this earth!’”

Cultural Crete, along with the Department of Music at Columbia University, the Metropolitan Opera and the Council of the Arts, is sponsoring a musical symposium being in New York City on For more information on current initiatives and December 15th-17th. how to get involved, their website is CulturalCrete-USA.org. periXscope

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GEORGE SAKELLARIS AND TEAM PROTEUS WIN THE 2017 CORFU CHALLENGE “What has made the Corfu Challenge different than any other regatta is the heart, passion, and warm generosity of everyone who came together,” said Cathy Sakellaris, who thanked everyone involved and especially mentioned the organizing committee. “From day one, committee members continued to give and asked for nothing other than to promote the sport we are all passionate about,” she said. George and Cathy Sakellaris are longtime members of Leadership 100. Cathy is a member of the Board of Trustees.

historical roots. The key was finding the right location—one that would deliver an experience of new waters, good winds, new challenges, and a new discovery of sailing’s ancient mythology. “What about Corfu?” suggested Sakellaris, pointing out Corfu’s scenic setting as a new adventure for sailing with its high mountains and unpredictable and challenging wind patterns.

The 2017 Corfu Challenge was organized by the Marina Gouvia Sailing Club, with the cooperation of the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Maxi 72 Class. As an officially sanctioned event, the Corfu Challenge not only inspired the sport to explore its historical grounding in the ancient Hellenic spirit and traditions of sailing, but at the same Awards were given at the Museum time helped to bring Greece into the future as a of Asian Art at the beautiful Palace key new host of top class yacht racing. of St. Michael and St. George in the heart of Corfu. Along with the This story was first published in The Leader magazine. hand crafted George Sakellaris with trophy is congratulated by his wife, Cathy. f i r s t George Sakellaris and Team Proteus were the p l a c e t r o p h y , a winners of the 2017 Corfu Challenge, which ran perpetual trophy was from July 3 to 8. The event was exceptional introduced in honor G e o r g e because of the challenging sailing conditions o f for both the coastal race and windward leeward Coumantaros. This courses; racing in between Corfu and Albania year it was given to all Corfu Challenge Maxi was a photographer’s dream. 72 owners to signify the high level international racing s h o w c a s e d throughout the week. The world’s top, state-of-the-art Maxi 72 class racing yachts vied for victory in the inaugural Corfu Challenge. The concept of the race was inspired by a group of Maxi owners searching for a way to bring new challenges to the sport—new experiences that would at the same time reconnect sailing to its oldest

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NEO magazine - December 2017  
NEO magazine - December 2017  

Every issue will feature profiles of prominent Greek Americans and what they’ve done this year, what they’ve done in their lives, what polit...

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