HELLENIC AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
370 Lexington Ave.
New York, New York 10017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stamatis Gikas, Executive Director
May 19, 2016
Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce
Holds Annual Elections
The Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce held its annual membership meeting on May 18, 2016, at the law offices of Norton Rose Fulbright in New York, NY. The meeting is held each year for the purpose of reviewing the Chamber’s activities and electing officers and directors for the coming year.
President Nancy Papaioannou, who also serves as president of Atlantic Bank, addressed the gathering, and reviewed the Chamber’s events for the past year. Highlights included the 67th Annual Dinner Dance honoring Andreas C. Dracopoulos of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the 22st Annual Joint Shipping Conference, numerous Development, Design and Construction Committee events, a retrospective fashion show tribute to Peter Stavropoulos put together by the Fashion Art and Design Committee, the 9th Annual Greek Film Festival and networking mixers for young professionals. Other events included various cultural lectures and receptions.
The meeting proceeded to elections. John C. Stratakis of Poles, Tublin, Stratakis and Gonzalez, LLP served as chairman of the meeting, and a slate of 10 directors were re-elected to their positions for three year terms 2016-2019. Following the membership meeting, the Board of Directors met to elect officers for the year term 2016-17. Officers elected were Chairman Nancy Papaionannou of Atlantic Bank, President Brian Devine of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, Executive Vice President Markos Drakotos of M&N Management Corp, Vice President George Zapantis, Treasurer Athas Ioannou of Constantine Design & Builders and Secretary Hara Gisholt of LISCR, LLC.
The Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1947, to cultivate, foster and develop commercial and trade relations between the United States of America and Greece, and to promote and strengthen the economic and cultural ties between the two countries. It also provides a network and forum for its members to meet, interact, and exchange ideas. For more information, contact the Chamber’s Executive Director Stamatis Ghikas at 212-629-6380.
THE HELLENIC AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 960 Avenue of the Americas New York, New York 10001 212-629-6380
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE UPDATED VERSION
www.hellenicamerican.cc Contact: Stamatis Gikas, Executive Director
February 18, 2016
Michael E. Jaharis, Businessman and Seminal Greek American Philanthropist, Passes Away
The Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce mourns the loss of the great businessman and seminal Greek American philanthropist Michael E. Jaharis, who died this week at age 87. Mr. Jaharis trained as a lawyer, but ultimately reached his great success as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry, most notably as the founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals, which developed cholesterol-fighting drugs.
In the Hellenic American community, however, he was even better known for his stunning and precedent-setting philanthropy. He and his wife and life partner, Mary Spyros Jaharis, established the gold standard for giving in our community. Among their innumerable charitable works were the establishment of the Ancient Greek and Byzantine Art Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, generous donations to Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary in Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Chicago, and the Jaharis Home for the Aged in Mr. Jaharis’s ancestral home of Lesvos, Greece. He also was a founder of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund and the Faith Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. He served for many years as the chief lay adviser to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and his guiding hand could be seen behind many important actions in support of both Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
Mr. Jaharis was a strong supporter of many Chamber initiatives over the years, including the Greek Film Festival and the annual Dinner Dance. Chamber President Nancy Papaioannou joined with other Greek American leaders in expressing her sorry at the loss of Mr. Jaharis. “His passing leaves a deep hole in the heart of our community, for he was a wildly successful businessman who became a wildly successful philanthropist. In these challenging times for our community, Mr. Jaharis is the exemplar of all that is good in our world. On behalf of the Chamber, I extend deep condolences to his wife, Mary, his children and grandchildren.” May his memory be eternal.
By Constantine S. Sirigos
NEW YORK – Amb. Loucas Tsilas was the keynote speaker of the 10th Annual Demetrios Contos Memorial Program in Celebration of the “OXI DAY” – October 28th 1940” that was held in the ballroom of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on October 27.
President of HACC Nancy Papaioannou welcomed the guest to the celebration “of one of the bravest and brightest pages in modern Greek history” and the memory of its beloved Board member Contos. She then invited Cathedral Dean Fr. John Vlahos to the podium and he offered prayers “for the repose of the souls of all who offered their lives for faith and country and for Demetrios Contos.”
Amb. George Iliopoulos, who introduced Tsilas, took a moment to praise the co-sponsoring organizations and said “We all hope to see more of this kind of cooperation in the future.”
The event was held under the auspices of the Greek Consulate, co-sponsored by the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC), HMS, AGAPW, AHEPA’s Delphi Chapter 25, HLA, Holy Trinity Cathedral, and the Contos family.
Amb, Iliopoulos proceeded to place Tsilas’ speech about the noble moment called Oxi Day in the context of Greece’s long history.
“Our people, with its thousands of years of history has lived moments of brilliant glory as well as periods of decline,” their contributions to mankind will always be sources of pride, he said, but noted that abandonment of national values lead to decline and destruction.
Calling Greece’s current situation a crisis of values, he said that among Oxi day’s lessons for its youth is the value of unity and love of country.”
Citing the community’s long relationship with Amb. Tsilas, Iliopoulos said “you don’t need me to make an introduction, allow me, however, to tell you, that in the Greek diplomatic service, Amb. Tsilas is a legend…he is one of the very few that years after leaving the service, people still talk about them in admiration.”
Tsilas responded saying of Iliopoulos introduction “whatever exaggerated comments he made with regard to my person, I assure you they will be surpassed amply by him.”
He also preceded his speech by noting – citing recent commentary in The National Herald by Demetrios Tsakas – that a Greek minority remains in the land of southern Albania that is the final resting place of so many of the heroes of 1940-41, and urged the EU and the international community to support its rights.
Tsilas, who now teaches contemporary European history at Queens College, began by elaborating on the title of his talk: “Historical Events in Hindsight: The Paradigm of the OXI DAY.”
“What is hindsight,” he asked, and then he queried “what is history?”
He said the Greek word, ”istoria” is derived from the idea of a credible witness, but that is the easy part he said, and moved on to hindsight. “It is the examination of past events,” he said their analysis and assessment, “but this is a dynamic process. Every generation, society, group, and individual when they go back to examine what happened in 1940 will do it through the lenses of his or her time.”
He continued enigmatically, “because if we know what history is, he may be able – tonight – to make history.”
Tsilas then asked the inevitable question: Is there such a thing as objective history?
“For me, the answer is ‘no. Absolutely not.’” he said.
A prime example is the assessments of one of the two protagonists, Ioannis Metaxas, the then Prime Minister.
“Among you are people who were told that Metaxas was a hero, a great leader… but there are others – like me – that were told that Metaxas was a dictator, and led Greece into political apathy, and that he was dragged into the Oxi by the valiant, brave attitude of the Greek people.”
He then challenged the audience: “Now, what is the truth? The truth is what we will decide tonight: who really made this epos – this epic page of Greek history,” Metaxas or the Greek people?”
At three o’clock in the morning the bell of Metaxas’ private residence in Kifissia rang and he was awakened by his chief of security who said the French Ambassador wanted to see him.
It was in fact the Italian Ambassador who came to hurl an ultimatum at the pajama-clad Prime Minister.
Metaxas’ actual response to the choice between either surrendering Greece or to have it taken by Mussolini’s armed forces was “alors, c’est la guerre” but it amounted to the same thing: Oxi – No!
Tsilas then shined the spotlight on the fact that Metaxas was alone. “He does not ask for a Minister to come, he does not ask his government or members of Parliament ,” for advice. “He didn’t ask anybody. He just said “No!”
He called that “a typical example of leadership, a leader who leads from the front.”
Metaxas had prepared his country for that eventuality, preparing Greece’s defenses as much as he could. Tsilas said criticisms that he did not do enough are irrelevant: the Greek army repelled the Italian forces and stormed into Albania.
“He was expecting the Italians to attack and played it cool.”
And after “alos, c’est la guerre” he went to work with his staff and the representatives of the allies.
“When word spread that there was war with Italy, Greeks by the thousands stormed Syntagma Square, and when they saw Metaxas, they lifted him up in triumph,” said Tsilas. He noted the man was not popular among Greeks, that he had never connected with the people, but at that moment, the people forgot everything an embraced him and he uncharacteristically responded in kind “and the rest is history.”
From one perspective. The other one focuses on the behavior of the Greek people.
Tsilas then turned Socratic: “How does one influence people,” and then, “how do people respond to events, with their stomachs, their material needs…or with their hearts, their emotions?”
A third choice was presented, which Tsilas said is now backed up by psychological and social research. After the initial excitement and emotions that are evoked – “how long can they last,” he asked, “a few months” – people undertake rational analysis and chose their actions intelligently, contrary to analysts who say people are not really persuaded intellectually.
Tsillas believes that the people of Greece did not respond to the need to defend their honor either with their stomach or their heart. “They responded with their brain.”
Brave people are not those who are not afraid of hurling themselves into the fire, he said. “The brave people are the ones who are afraid, but he or she makes an assessment of what is important, valuable, priceless, and then goes out to meet what is to come.”
That is what the Greek people did, Tsilas said, knowing full well there would be hardship, famine, suffering, and that they were fighting against a far superior enemy… ruthless people.”
“The people made a very conscious, cerebral, intellectual decision: ‘we are going to defend the honor of our country. If we will cede territory, it is not going to be given by us – it will be taken by force.”
There is another twist to the story. When the tragic moment came to surrender to the superior force of the Germans, the latter demanded the Greeks surrender to the Italians. But even though it would put at risk thousands soldiers and hundreds of officers who would imminently become prisoners of the nazis, the Greeks response was: “No, we will not surrender to those whom we defeated.”
“So, what happened,” the Ambassador asked, then noted, “There were two protagonists.” One was the leader, Ioannis Metaxas, who made the decision alone, but the second [element] was the reaction of the Greek people.
“The Greek people, in the truest possible, Periclean sense of bravery – deciding with their mind, not their heart or their stomachs – said they would not surrender any territory,” Tsilas said, and noted he and the audience had just “made” history. Their assessment is now part of the historical record.
He added, about the history made during WWII, that it was not only the people inside Greece who responded. Many Greek-Americans made the decision to leave their families and businesses to fight for Greece.
What was coming, for all concerned, were losses and suffering “but also a great victory. They won!”
The discourse finally came round to the present. He declared that “there are today national issues that people should think about neither with their stomachs or their hearts. The have to think in a brave way. And we also need leaders who will lead, who will go up front, who will say something and do something” about the challenges their country faces.
With a wry smile the ambassador concluded by alluding to his earlier disclaimer that his comments should not be construed as criticism of any particular politician or party, and he concluded with “all I want to say is that certainly Greece needs this.”
Dr. George Liakeas, President of HMS and son-in-law of Demetrios Contos, placed an exclamation point on the event as an vital exercise in remembrance. “The most effective way to destroy a people,” said author George Orwell, “is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history,” he said.
Liakeas thanked Tsilas and all in attendance and the organizers on behalf of the Contos family. “Mimis used to have an open house on his name day every year. This has become his open house.”
Carol Contos told TNH after the event, “My husband loved America, his adopted country, and he was a very devoted Greek and Orthodox Christian…an Archon…This is his party. This is how we celebrate him.”
Article source: National Herald
New York.- Vicki James Yiannias
“On October 28 we celebrate and honor our compatriots patriots who fought the good cause, but also to draw our essence from the power of unity and the power of passion for something noble, for the πατριδα that we should be honored to call our own,” said Ambassador Georgios Iliopoulos, Consul General of Greece in New York, thanking those attending the Demetrios Contos Memorial Program commemorating OXI Day for honoring “this great page in history”.
The commemoration was held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Ballroom on October 27, a day before the anniversary of the 75th anniversary of the day that changed the course of WWII.
In his invocation, the Very Rev. John Vlachos, Dean of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in New York prayed for “the souls of our martyred brethren, those who have fallen in war, those who were slaughtered, and those who died in captivity and exile.”
Introducing the evening’s program, Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce president Nancy Papaioannou said she was proud that the HACC was acknowledging this important day in Hellenic history for yet another year. “For the last ten years our OXI Day Celebration has been directed to honoring the memory of a longtime HACC board member, Demetrios (Mimis) Contos, who was an avid supporter of cultural activities.”
Ms. Papaioannou said that she was “extremely delighted that the evening’s event brought together so many friends and supporters, making this another successful event marking this best and brightest day in Hellenic history.”
Ambassador Iliopoulos and Ms. Papaioannou both thanked the organizations that hosted the event in conjunction with the HACC and the family of the late Demetrios Contos: The Hellenic American Bankers Association, The Hellenic Lawyers Association, The Hellenic Medical Society of New York, the Manhattan Chapter of AHEPA (Delphi 25), The Association of Greek American Professional Women (AGAPW), the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Ms. Papaioannou stressed that it is important that these professional associations continue to present events together, “not only to mark important events but also to promote Greek and American business networking.” Ambassador Iliopoulos, too, as well as expressing appreciation to the hosts, commended the organizations for collaborating so successfully working together so successfully for this presentation, saying, “We all hope to see this more of this cooperation in the future.”
“Our country, with its history of thousands of years and its contributions to humanity– which are great relative to Greece’s small size–has experienced brilliant glory but also moments of decline.” The legacies Greece gave humanity, however, were unique, both in value and in the influence they had. For all of this we should all be proud,” said Ambassador Iliopoulos. Virtues like faith, love for the homeland, freedom, equality, and respect lead the way to florescence, but departure from these values leads to decline and national disasters. The crisis Greece is living today, he said, is in large part a result of a decline in these values.
Introducing Keynote Speaker, Ambassador Loucas Tsilas, Ambassador Iliopoulos spoke of Ambassador Tsilas’s high-level, 35-year diplomatic career, his Executive Directorship of the Onassis Cultural Center, and the university course he is currently teaching at Queens College of the City University of New York titled, “Historical Transitions in the Late Twentieth Century”. Ambassador Iliopoulos described Ambassador Tsilas as “a legend in the Greek Diplomatic Service” about whom “people still speak with admiration.”
Taking the podium, Ambassador Tsilas returned the compliment. Quoting the phrase “And we will become much better” in Doric Greek, he stressed that he is sure that Ambassador Iliopoulos “will surpass amply” any praise Iliopoulos directed to him.
One of the five-member Bid Committee for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ambassador Tsilas wore the gold pin of the Games in his lapel that night “to bring a note of optimism.” He recalled watching the Olympics on television with Mrs. Tsilas while in Peru. “Greece in majestic terms. This is what we did, and what we will do again,” he said to great applause.
Everyone has his or her métier, but Ambassador Tsilas’s innovative approach to bringing the events and meaning of OXI Day to life in a way that made it something you won’t forget made it clear that his strengths are more than one. As he must do in his university course, Tsilas prompted a deeper understanding of history and change, by building excitement and a sense of exploration and discovery into his analyses.
Tsilas began his presentation, “Historical Events in Hindsight: The Paradigm of OXI DAY”, with the questions “What is Hindsight, and what is History? If we think of what the word ‘History’ means, ” he said, introducing the premise of his talk, “we might be able to make history tonight.”
“Historical Events in Hindsight: The Paradigm of OXI DAY” will be discussed in a forthcoming article.
Ambassador Tsilas praised the family of Demetrios Contos for their yearly memorial, quoting the phrase, “Those who have departed will die if we remember them”. “You have done this for ten years for reasons that relate to you; they also relate to us. Your husband Mimis was prototypical. He was a businessman, a churchman, a wonderful man, worthy to be remembered by you and worthy to be remembered by us.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history,” said Dr. John Liakeas, quoting George Orwell. Liakeas, son-in-law of the Demetrios Contos, is president of The Hellenic Medical Society of New York. “Tonight is a perfect example of the things we do to keep our history intact. Ambassador Tsilas, thank you for that wonderful, heartfelt, and educational talk that makes us all proud to be Greek and to be involved in things like this where we promote our heritage and our unity.”
“Mimi Contos had an open house on his name day every year, and this has become our open house,” he said, “There’s a little bit of Mimi in all of us, and we encourage you to find that and celebrate your heritage and your Hellenic pride.” Liakeas especially thanked Stamatis Ghikas, Executive Director of The Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce.
In a tribute to his brother-in-law, Jimmy DeMetro told the GN that Demetrios Contos was a man who enjoyed life. He was devoted to his family and his friends. His home was open to all, and his parties are still remembered by those who used to attend them. He loved to dance and sing, and share good times with the people he cared about. As I think of him today, I realize what an astute judge of character he was. He knew how to separate the wheat from the chaff! He was a successful businessman who was comfortable with people from any background or economic level; people were either worthy of his attention or not.”
We end with Nancy Papaioannou’s recitation of famous quotes “that reflect the magnitude of the heroism of the day when the Greeks stood against the big powers together, denying to surrender, saying, ‘No. OXI’.” President Roosevelt: “When the entire world has lost all hope, the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster rising against the proud spirit of freedom”. Churchill: “Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks”.
Article source: Greek News
by Anastasios Papapostolou – Apr 18, 2015 Greek Reporter
The Education and Culture Committee of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, in association with HellenicGenealogyGeek.com, is pleased to announce the first National Hellenic American Genealogy Conference to be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Ballroom, 337 East 74th Street, New York, New York 10021.
The event is the first-ever family history conference devoted to Greek genealogy and is expected to be of great interest to the Greek community.
Speakers include Dr. Marietta Minotos of the General State Archives of Greece; George D. Tselos, Chief Archivist of Ellis Island; Georgia Stryker Keilman, founder of HellenicGenealogyGeek.com; Dr. Peter C. Moskos, Sociology Professor and author; and others.
“Topics will address the records available and the research skills required to search Greek lineage, both in the U.S. and in Greece,” said New York-based attorney Taso Pardalis who is co-chairing the event.
By Real Estate Weekly APRIL 1, 2015
By Dan Orlando
AvalonBay is considering a 60,000 s/f retail flagship for the base of its newest Midtown apartment tower.
The builder paid $300 million for 1865 Broadway in February and announced plans for a 300,000 s/f tower.
Speaking at a panel hosted by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce last week, Martin Piazzola, senior vice president of development at AvalonBay Communities, said the retail concept made the most financial sense.
“If it’s on 5th Avenue,” said Piazzola. “The first thing that comes to mind is the retail value. Clearly that’s probably the most expensive real estate with the highest rental rates in the world is on Fifth Avenue in the upper 50’s. For us to make any sense of that, we’d have to leverage up on the retail component.”
“That’s really something that we’re doing at West 61st Street at our site,” Piazzola continued. “We would look to create a box of maybe three or four levels of retail which would help subsidize what would be a very expensive price per s/f, probably north of a $1,000 a foot.”
The comments came as part of a discussion focused on development in Midtown Manhattan moderated by Louis Katsos, president of Jekmar Associates.
At a time where major entities such as Time Warner and Time Inc. are choosing to abandon the general Midtown area, the panel was asked how they would work together to design, construct and allocate new development in the neighborhood.
|L-R: Martin Piazzola, AvalonBay Communities; Jay Badame Tishman Construction; Faith Hope Consol, Douglas Elliman; Louis Katsos; and Chuck Olivieri, Jr. Edward J Minskoff Equities.|
The panelists — who included Jay Badame, president and COO of Tishman Construction, Faith Hope Consolso, retail chairman at Douglas ELliman, Carols R. Olivieri, Jr., senior vice president at Edward J. Minskoff Equities — were almost unanimous in their support of retail.
“This is Fifth Avenue,” said Consolo. “There’s only one Fifth Avenue. It’s the most famous shopping street in the world; it’s the most sought after street. We are in a city where I hope this year we’ll see maybe 58 million tourists. This is a city where brands are made. This is one retail corridor that maintains the value even during the downturn.” added Consolo.
“So there is no issue to attract not only retailers that are well capitalized, but you would really almost have a bidding war. With that type of platform you could do one or two retailers you could have one big specialty store, you could divide up the ground floor.”
“Fifth Avenue is a flagship location, especially in the 50’s,” Consolo said. “Not just flagships but it’s been the place where bigger is better. The interesting thing is that it’s all types of retail. I call it from denim to diamonds.”
Piazollo added, “We wouldn’t take on a million s/f of rental product there, so we would probably take it up, bring in a condo investor for the top of the building.
“Where they can get, pick a number $3, $4, $5 thousand a foot and then maybe even a hotel component because a million s/f, that’s still a lot of square footage.”
Olivieri agreed that the north end of Midtown was a prime location to invest in high-end retail, but said it should not automatically be viewed as a priority over a project’s other tenants.
“We don’t like renting our retail until we have our commercial tenants in place. Why is that? Because we’re concerned that if we bring in a retailer first, we may damage the possibility of getting a bigger office tenant.”
“The last thing we want to have, for example, is an IBM renting office space and then we rent stuff to Apple. They might not be happy about that. We’re very careful to make sure that we take care of commercial tenants first and then the last thing we rent, as we did at 51 Astor Place, is the retail.”
Olivieri said Minskoff is employing the same strategy at its newest purchase, 590 Madison Avenue.
Of the theoretical development the panelists were asked to consider, he added, “Our slice will be a commercial office building slice at the bottom. We would love to have the condos on top of the building and that would help us get the financing for the project also.”
Jay Badame, president and COO of Tishman Construction, suggested that the benefits of investing in either residential /hotel space or Olivieri’s suggested office allocations are greatly impacted by the price of materials at a given moment in time.
“If it’s an office building, it’s going to be steel. If it’s residential, it’s going to be concrete,” said Badame.
“Steel is coming down, but labor is going up. A million feet? I would automatically say it’s going to be union,” Badame said, suggesting that the price of the union labor may preclude choosing one material over the other.
“We’ll actually start with structural steel on a retail base and convert to concrete especially on a couple of projects,” responded Olivieri. “That works very, very nicely.”
“The issue that we’re facing today is that it’s going to go union,” he continued.
The panel agreed that should they choose to include a retail component in their development, bringing on a name brand architect is likely wise, despite the increase in costs.
“We have all these buildings being designed with very elaborate exteriors,” said Consolo. “The retailers today are much more sophisticated.
“Retailers want one thing. They want visibility and at these numbers at these rents they want to be sure that their store can be seen.”
Τα Ελληνοαμερικανικά Επιμελητήρια Αθήνας και Νέας Υόρκης συντονίζουν τις προσπάθειές τους. Τριήμερες επαφές για επέκταση ελληνικών κατασκευαστικών εταιρειών στη Νέα Υόρκη
MARCH 31, 2015 BY GREEK NEWS Νέα Υόρκη.- Του Πανίκου Παναγιώτου/ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ Φωτογραφίες: Δημήτρης Πανάγος
Ελληνικές κατασκευαστικές εταιρείες επιδιώκουν να εισχωρήσουν στην αμερικανική αγορά. Με τη συνεργασία των Ελληνοαμερικανικών Επιμελητηρίων Αθήνας και Νέας Υόρκης πραγματοποιήθηκαν τριήμερες συναντήσεις στην αμερικανική πρωτεύουσα.«Διαπιστώσαμε ότι παρουσιάζεται μία πολύ μεγάλη ευκαιρία για τις ελληνικές εταιρείες» δήλωσε ο πρόεδρος του Ελληνοαμερικανικού Εμπορικού Επιμελητηρίου Αθήνας, Σίμος Αναστασόπουλος, κατά τη διάρκεια συνέντευξης Τύπου, στο Μανχάταν, που διοργάνωσε το Γραφείο Τύπου και Επικοινωνίας της Ελλάδας στη Νέα Υόρκη.
Ο κ. Αναστασόπουλος ανέφερε ότι «το Ελληνοαμερικανικό Επιμελητήριο της Αθήνας, που είναι ένα από τα παλιά διμερή επιμελητήρια στην Ελλάδα, 85 ετών, δεν ασχολείται μόνο με την προώθηση των εμπορικών σχέσεων μεταξύ Ελλάδας και ΗΠΑ ή με την προσέλκυση επενδύσεων. Εδώ και πάρα πολύ καιρό, έχουμε υπερβεί αυτή την αποστολή και μέσω των επιτροπών που δημιουργήσαμε, προσπαθούμε και εμείς από την πλευρά μας για να αλλάξει το επιχειρηματικό περιβάλλον της Ελλάδας».
Επίσης, επεσήμανε ότι «επειδή η χώρα μας εξακολουθεί να βρίσκεται σε μία πάρα πολύ δύσκολη και κρίσιμη στιγμή, θα πρέπει όλοι να βοηθήσουμε ακόμη περισσότερο για να αλλάξει το μοντέλο που κάναμε δουλειές στην Ελλάδα, αλλά και να στραφούμε προς την εξωστρέφεια. Η Ελλάδα απέτυχε με το προηγούμενο μοντέλο, που στηριζόταν σε εισαγωγές και σε κατανάλωση με δανεικά. Σήμερα, χρειάζεται να βρει τον δρόμο της με ένα καινούριο μοντέλο, με την παραγωγή, διεθνώς, ανταγωνιστικών προϊόντων. Και τίποτα από αυτά δεν μπορεί να γίνει αν δεν προχωρήσουν οι μεταρρυθμίσεις. Χρειαζόμαστε μία καλύτερη δημόσια διοίκηση, που να μπορεί να ανταποκριθεί σε αυτόν τον ρόλο, χρειαζόμαστε ταχύτερη δικαιοσύνη και καλύτερη εκπαίδευση. Και το Επιμελητήριό μας ασχολείται με όλα αυτά».
Στη συνέχεια, τόνισε: «Εδώ και αρκετά χρόνια συνεργαζόμαστε με το Ελληνοαμερικανικό Εμπορικό Επιμελητήριο της Νέας Υόρκης, όπου μέσα από αυτήν τη συνεργασία προσπαθούμε να προωθήσουμε τις εξαγωγές της Ελλάδας στις ΗΠΑ, αλλά και να διαμορφώσουμε ένα καλύτερο περιβάλλον. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, λοιπόν, ο υπεύθυνος του κατασκευαστικού τομέα στο Επιμελητήριο της Νέας Υόρκης, Λούις Κάτσος, είχε έρθει τον Νοέμβριο στην Αθήνα, όπου οργανώσαμε μία διάλεξη, πολύ στοχευμένη, για την κατασκευαστική αγορά της Νέας Υόρκης. Εκεί διαπιστώσαμε πως υπάρχουν σημαντικές ευκαιρίες για ελληνικές κατασκευαστικές εταιρίες στην αμερικανική αγορά. Και έτσι, σε συνεργασία με το εδώ Ελληνοαμερικανικό Επιμελητήριο και με την πρωτοβουλία του κ. Κάτσου, ο οποίος είναι από τους πιο δυνατούς παράγοντες στην κατασκευαστική αγορά της Νέας Υόρκης, συμμετείχαμε στο ετήσιο συνέδριο που διοργανώνει στο Μανχάταν. Και όχι μόνο μάς κάλεσε, αλλά μάς οργάνωσε μία σειρά σημαντικών επαφών. Για τρεις ημέρες είχαμε τη μεγάλη χαρά να έχουμε πάνω από 70 συναντήσεις ελληνικών κατασκευαστικών εταιρειών με αντίστοιχες στη Νέα Υόρκη. Διαπιστώσαμε ότι παρουσιάζεται μία πολύ μεγάλη ευκαιρία για τις ελληνικές εταιρείες».
Τέλος, ο κ. Αναστασόπουλος σημείωσε ότι «μία από τις βασικές επιδιώξεις μας είναι η κινητοποίηση της ομογένειας και η αξιοποίηση των δυνατοτήτων της, ώστε να βοηθήσει περαιτέρω την Ελλάδα. Η χώρα χρειάζεται ακόμη περισσότερο τη βοήθεια της ελληνοαμερικανικής κοινότητας και έτσι θα συνεχίσουμε να εργαζόμαστε προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση, όχι με λόγια και υποσχέσεις, αλλά με συγκεκριμένα προγράμματα. Είναι απαραίτητο να δημιουργήσουμε τις ευκαιρίες που θα δώσουν, επιτέλους, δουλειά στους Έλληνες και θα δημιουργηθούν πειστικές συνθήκες ανάπτυξης στη χώρα μας».
Η πρόεδρος του Ελληνοαμερικανικού Εμπορικού Επιμελητηρίου Νέας Υόρκης, Νάνσυ Παπαϊωάννου, η οποία είναι, επίσης, η πρώτη γυναίκα πρόεδρος της Τράπεζας Ατλάντικ, της τέως θυγατρικής της Εθνικής Τράπεζας της Ελλάδας, δήλωσε ότι το Επιμελητήριο που εκπροσωπεί «έχει ιστορία πάνω από 70 χρόνια και ιδρύθηκε για να δημιουργήσει τις προϋποθέσεις συνεργασίας μεταξύ Ελλάδας και ΗΠΑ, ξεκινώντας από τον τομέα της ναυτιλίας».
Η κ. Παπαϊωάννου, η οποία είναι γεννημένη και μεγαλωμένη στην Αθήνα, υποστήριξε: «Στόχος μας είναι η προώθηση της συνεργασίας μεταξύ εταιρειών, οργανισμών και ιδιωτών από τις ΗΠΑ και την Ελλάδα, δημιουργώντας ειδικά προγράμματα, όπως αυτό για τις κατασκευαστικές εταιρείες». «Ειδικά αυτές τις μέρες, θέλουμε να κάνουμε ό,τι μπορούμε, να ενισχύουμε όλες τις προσπάθειες για να βοηθηθεί η Ελλάδα, να αντιμετωπιστεί το μεγάλο πρόβλημα της ανεργίας και να δημιουργηθούν σωστές συνθήκες, ώστε να υπάρξουν επενδύσεις και ανάπτυξη» πρόσθεσε.
Στη συνέντευξη Τύπου μίλησε και ο αντιπρόεδρος του Ελληνοαμερικανικού Εμπορικού Επιμελητηρίου Αθήνας, Νικόλαος Μπακατσέλος, ο οποίος υπογράμμισε: «Η αποστολή μας αυτή στηρίζει την ιδέα να δοθεί τέλος στη μιζέρια μας. Είναι η ώρα να σταματήσει η ενδοσκόπηση και να προχωρήσουμε στην ανάπτυξη. Νομίζω ότι το δείγμα των εταιρειών που ακολούθησαν την αποστολή είναι εταιρείες εξωστρεφείς, που θέλουν να μεγαλώσουν και εκτός Ελλάδας, εκτός Ευρώπης. Και οι ελληνικές επιχειρήσεις πρέπει να ξεφύγουν από τα στερεότυπα στην εξαγωγή προϊόντων, ελαιόλαδο, τρόφιμα κ.λπ., όπου είμαστε πάρα πολύ καλοί. Πρέπει, όμως, να αποδείξουμε πως είμαστε εξίσου καλοί και σε άλλους τομείς, όπως στις κατασκευαστικές-παραγωγικές εταιρείες. Η αμερικανική αγορά είναι τεράστια. Επομένως, γιατί και μία ελληνική επιχείρηση να μην ενδιαφερθεί;».
Ο κ. Μπακατσέλος τόνισε ότι «αυτό που μας εντυπωσίασε είναι πόσο ανοικτά μυαλά είναι οι Νεοϋορκέζοι κατασκευαστές. Σε γενικές γραμμές, μας είπαν ότι “εφόσον μπορείτε να ανταποκριθείτε σε αυτά που ζητά η αγορά μας, είστε ευπρόσδεκτοι”. Βέβαια, την ίδια στιγμή, διαπιστώσαμε ότι όταν λέμε επαγγελματισμός εννοούμε επαγγελματισμό. Όταν λες, για παράδειγμα, ότι θα παραδώσεις κάτι σε συγκεκριμένη ποιότητα, ποσότητα και χρόνο που έχεις υποσχεθεί, πρέπει να κρατήσεις την υπόσχεσή σου. Και οι ελληνικές επιχειρήσεις που συμμετείχαν σε αυτή την αποστολή αυτό κάνουν. Κρατάμε τις υποσχέσεις μας και γι’ αυτό μεγαλώνουμε, και γι’ αυτό πιστεύω ότι έχουμε τη δυνατότητα να δραστηριοποιηθούμε και στην αγορά της Νέας Υόρκης».
Για το ξεκίνημα αυτής της προσπάθειας μίλησε ο υπεύθυνος του κατασκευαστικού τομέα στον Ελληνοαμερικανικό Εμπορικό Επιμελητήριο Νέας Υόρκης και μέλος του συμβουλίου του, Λούις Κάτσος, σημειώνοντας ότι «υπάρχει μία εξαιρετικά καλή συγκυρία στην αγορά κατασκευαστικού κλάδου της Νέας Υόρκης για όσους τηρούν τις προδιαγραφές και μπορούν να ολοκληρώσουν και να παραδώσουν στο συμφωνηθέντα χρόνο το έργο που έχουν αναλάβει».
Όπως υποστήριξε ο κ. Κάτσος, «η συνέπεια και η ποιότητα των υλικών αποτελούν τα σημαντικότερα εφόδια σε μία σκληρή κατασκευαστική αγορά, που είναι αυτή της Νέας Υόρκης και που προσφέρει σημαντικές ευκαιρίες. Για τον κατασκευαστικό τομέα διατίθενται περίπου 36 δισεκατομμύρια δολάρια κάθε χρόνο στη Νέα Υόρκη. Το ένα τρίτο αφορά δημόσια έργα, το άλλο κατοικίες και το τελευταίο τρίτο εμπορικές κατασκευές». Τους ομιλητές παρουσίασε, εκ μέρους του Γραφείου Τύπου της Μόνιμης Αντιπροσωπείας της Ελλάδας στον ΟΗΕ, ο Λάμπρος Κάζης, ο ο οποίος επεσήμανε: «Βοηθούμε σε μία ουσιώδη προσπάθεια, που σκοπό έχει να αποφέρει δουλειές και επενδύσεις για την Ελλάδα».
Μετά τη συνέντευξη Τύπου, διοργανώθηκε εκδήλωση στην κοινοτική αίθουσα του καθεδρικού ναού της Αγίας Τριάδας, όπου τα στελέχη του Ελληνοαμερικανικού Επιμελητηρίου Αθήνας και επιχειρηματίες από την Ελλάδα, που δραστηριοποιούνται στις οικοδομές και στις εξαγωγές κατασκευαστικών και οικοδομικών προϊόντων, μίλησαν για τους αναπτυξιακούς στόχους τους μπροστά σε ένα εξειδικευμένο, κυρίως, ελληνοαμερικανικό κοινό.
NEW YORK CITY GREEK FILM FESTIVAL HELLENIC AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 370 Lexington Avenue (27th floor), New York, NY 10017 www.nycgreekfilmfestival.com
CORINTH FILMS ACQUIRES ‘LITTLE ENGLAND’ FOR U.S./CANADIAN DISTRIBUTION
LITTLE ENGLAND, the award-winning Greek film, has been acquired by Corinth Films for distribution in all media in the United States and Canada. The film was shown in the eighth annual New York City Greek Film Festival (NYCGFF) last October.
“The New York City Greek Film Festival gave the film its first major theatrical exhibition in the United States,” said Gregory A. Sioris, a lawyer representing Corinth Films. “The festival’s sold-out performance at the 1,100 seat Ziegfeld Theater gave the film the kind of attention it needed to attract industry professionals and kick start the film’s distribution process. Hopefully, other Greek producers will now be encouraged to work on gaining wide distribution for their films.”
“We are delighted that our film will reach a wider audience ,” said Katerina Helioti of the production company Mikra Agglia SA. “Wherever LITTLE ENGLAND has played, audiences have responded to it enthusiastically. We are certain that American and Canadian audiences as well will embrace our film.”
Immediate plans call for LITTLE ENGLAND to be shown at various festivals, including Greek film festivals in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year. Theatrical distribution in major cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto will follow. Eventually the film will move to cable/broadcast television, video on demand and DVD.
LITTLE ENGLAND, a major box office hit in Greece, was directed by master filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris from a script by his wife Ioanna Karystiani. Stunningly photographed and superbly acted, the film is the story of two sisters of a shipping family on the island of Andros in the 1930s, who fall in love with the same man.
“We are very pleased that this wonderful film will now reach a large audience in the U.S. and Canada and are particularly proud that our festival played a part in getting distribution for the film,” said James DeMetro, Director of the NYCGFF. “Greek filmmakers are turning out world-class films that are virtually unknown in the US. The acquisition of LITTLE ENGLAND by Corinth Films opens the door a little wider for other filmmakers.”
A spokesperson for Corinth Films (www.corinthfilms.com) said that the company’s mission is to increase the flow of quality films to theaters and home video and everything in between. “We look for high caliber films with unforgettable stories and characters,” he said.
March 30, 2014, by Greek News
New York.- Vicki James Yiannias
Secretary of State for Gender Equality Vaso Kollia’s reference two weeks ago to “the first rays of light” in a Greece that she said is “now closer to the end of the tunnel” have so far amplified the festive mood of this year’s Greek Independence Day celebrations in New York.
Up from the Ashes – March 25, 1821: “We All Are Greeks”, a program at the Holy Trinity Cathedral ballroom on March 25 commemorated the Greek War for Independence with three talks that dealt with major historical aspects of the war titled “The Orlov Revolt: Prequel to the Greek War of Independence?”; Ali Pascha and His Influence on the Greek War of Independence”, and “The Cause of Suffering Humanity: American Relief Efforts During the Greek War for Independence”
Michael Theodorobeakos, President of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, and The Honorable Georgios Iliopoulos, Consul General of Greece (whose schedule that evening included a reception for the public at the Consulate), opened the program and Moderator Louis Katsos took over, introducing the three speakers and adding commentary. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios closed the program
Vasilis W. Molos, Ph.D, Doctoral Fellow, Remarque Institute, New York University, spoke with the GN about his talk, The Orlov Revolt: Prequel to the Greek War of Independence?”
GN: The War of Independence has been thought to be a “new beginning” for Greece by some; what are other perspectives?
VWM: While many historians of modern Greece have portrayed the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1821 as the dawn of modern Greek history, my work suggests that it is more accurate to portray the failed Orlov Revolt as the dawn of modern Greek history.
VWM: It was during the Orlov Revolt that the idea of national self-determination was first introduced into the Greek world. It was in The Orlov moment that the uprisings in the Peloponnese, Aitoloakarnania, the Ionian Islands, Crete, and elsewhere gave rise to an image of a Greek nation trying to liberate itself politically.
And it was after the failure of the Orlov Revolt and the failure of the diplomatic settlement of 1774 to improve the political status of the Romioi that Greek intellectuals began reorienting themselves away from the Orthodox Christian east towards the enlightened European west.
The Orlov Revolt marks the beginning of modern Greek history because it inspired a range of new political possibilities, which assumed that the Romioi possessed a right to national self-determination.”
GN: What was stated in the 1774 Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca?
VWM: “The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca compelled the Ottomans to make significant territorial concessions in the Black Sea region and elsewhere. From the Greek perspective, a couple of items are of importance: the treaty included an article that permitted Greek merchants to fly the Russian flag on the masts of their ships, and many historians have suggested that the growth in Greek merchant shipping in the late eighteenth century was tied to this condition of the treaty.
However, more recent scholarship undertaken by Gelina Harlaftis and a team of maritime history researchers has uncovered that Greek shipping developed between 1750 and 1821 with merchants primarily using the Ottoman flag. More importantly, at least in my view, was Article 3, within which the Russians and the Ottomans acknowledged the Tartar peoples as free and independent nations, with the right to be governed in accordance with their own laws. It revealed a willingness to recognize the right of some peoples to national self-determination, but also Catherine’s unwillingness to recognize the right of the Romioi to national self-determination.”
GN: Please talk about Iosipos Moisiodax, Dimitrios Katartzis.
Novel ways of discussing the Greeks’ political condition arose in the aftermath of the diplomatic settlement of 1774, as many eminent Greeks abandoned the idea that the elevation of the Greeks would be achieved by having a foreign patron liberate them. For instance, the enigmatic scholar, Iosipos Moisiodax, introduced liberal ideas into the Greek world, arguing that the elevation of the genos could be engendered by having the Greeks governed by rulers amenable to liberal reform. From his perspective, Greek cultural regeneration would be enabled from the bottom up. For Moisiodax, rulers were to maintain order and provide scholars with the intellectual freedom to introduce European ideas into the Greek world, while merchants with patriotic modernist sensibilities were to provide funds to facilitate this process. After the diplomatic settlement of 1774, Moisiodax’s writings reveal a scholar convinced that imperial subjects could make demands upon their rulers to maintain order and ensure toleration and equality within their realms. His belief that rulers must be accountable to their subjects’ will constituted a marked departure in Greek thought.
Others like Dimitrios Katartzis, a high-ranking Phanariot in Bucharest, portrayed the Greeks as an autonomous people, writing that the Romioi who comprised the millet-i-Rum formed a self-determining nation – albeit not a sovereign nation. His communitarian sensibilities led him to argue that the development – and indeed the preservation – of Greek society was dependent upon nurturing the bonds that united the Greeks through the production of books in vernacular Greek. From Katartzis’ perspective, the transmission of knowledge from elites to the masses would assure the development and future prosperity of the Romioi”.
GN: What was The Orlov Revolt’s significance in the Greek War for Independence?
VWM: For many, the Orlov Revolt is regarded as a ‘prequel’ to the Greek War of Independence; a failed first effort at achieving national sovereignty. From my perspective, few – if any – of the Romioi who participated in the uprisings had national sovereignty in mind as a goal in 1770. In that light, the Orlov Revolt’s significance to the Greek War of Independence five decades later stems from the influence that its failure had upon Greek culture. The failure of the Orlov Revolt and the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca to effect meaningful change to the political status of the Romioi was experienced as a shock for many Greek commentators. It challenged the veracity of both the Russian expectation and the prophetic literature that foresaw the resurrection of the genos (race). At the same time, it signaled to all that the Ottoman Empire was now in decline. After the diplomatic settlement of 1774, the Romioi had to figure out how they fit into this new world – if not as clients of the Russians and subjects of the Ottomans.
Looking back at the period, one can see that the revolutionaries of 1821 were essentially answering the questions posed by Greeks in the aftermath of the Orlov moment, and using the political language and political models introduced by the French Revolution to do so.
GN: What was the background of the Orlov Revolt? Who instigated it?
VWM: The Orlov Revolt was the product of years of planning by covert operatives acting in the interests of Imperial Russia, and operating largely within the Italian States and the Ottoman Empire. The specific plan to foment a revolt in the Balkans was initially broached to Catherine by her lover and confidant, Grigory Orlov, prior to the coup that ousted her husband. Grigory had first learned of this idea during his time in the military. It was during this period that he developed a close relationship with Georgios Papazolis, a fellow officer who had grown up in the Balkans. It is alleged that Papazolis informed Grigory that the Orthodox Christian inhabitants of Ottoman Europe were desperate to oust the Ottomans, and that they were sure to take up arms if Russian forces appeared in the Mediterranean. Eager to pursue this endeavor, Grigory sent covert operatives into the region in 1763 to gauge whether these communities were in fact interested in rebelling against their rulers.
Emmanuel Sarros, a Greek merchant who operated in St. Petersburg, was among the first of the covert operatives sent into the Balkans. Between 1763 and 1764, he, Papazolis, and several others traveled extensively throughout Roumeli and the Peloponnese, establishing contacts with powerful clan leaders and other men of regional importance. Upon returning to the Russian capital in 1765, Sarros reported that there existed a strong willingness to revolt among the Orthodox Christian population of the region. He proposed sending a small fleet of “ten Russian warships with sufficient cannon” to the Mediterranean, which he deemed to be sufficient to inspire a large-scale anti-Ottoman uprising.
With the outbreak of war, the conspiracy to foment revolution in Ottoman Europe took on a new urgency in Russian court circles. Russian archival records reveal that at the first meeting of the Imperial War Council, Grigory Orlov unexpectedly proposed a naval expedition into the Mediterranean, which was intended to serve as a diversion. While many in the council were surprised by the proposal, it was apparent that it had the full approval of the Empress.”
GN: What was the narrative the Romioi subscribed to in the lead-up to the Orlov Revolt?
VWM: In 1770, most Romioi seemed to accept some variant of the ‘Russian expectation,’ the idea that the Greeks were to be liberated from the Ottomans by the Russian Empire; however, participants in the revolt differed widely when it came to what sort of “liberation” they anticipated. Many hoped to see the Balkans incorporated into the Russian Empire; some desired a degree of regional autonomy (within the Russian Empire), while others desired a religious war that would see them liberated from the Muslim Ottomans. At the same time, many were motivated to participate in the uprising out of a desire for revenge against the self-aggrandizing class of kotzabazides, while others were motivated to participate out of a desire for plunder.”
GN: What was happening in the Peloponessos?
VWM: When the covert operatives visited the Peloponnese, they determined that it was an ideal location for fomenting an anti-Ottoman uprising. For one, the local magnates (kotzabasides), who had seen their sociopolitical influence increase considerably after the expulsion of the Venetians in 1715, provided the Russians with a politically frustrated class that could be mobilized fairly easily. Moreover, the political instability of the 1760s had already divided the population of the province into different factions that were competing for political power. Thirdly, the multitude of harbors and seamen in the Peloponnese, combined with the relative absence of Ottoman oversight after 1715, provided the Russians with the means of defeating the Ottoman navy and cutting off shipments of grain to Constantinople from Egypt.”
GN: Was the Revolt successful?
VWM: In the first month and a half of the uprising the insurgents established the upper hand in the conflict, as the Ottomans were ill prepared for an uprising in the Peloponnese, but the uprisings were quickly suppressed in a matter of months. The Ottoman forces sent to suppress the insurrections then embarked upon a decade-long pillaging spree throughout the region before the rule of law was finally restored over a severely depopulated Peloponnese. By most standards, the Orlov Revolt is regarded as a failure, which is why it has inspired scant interest even among scholars interested in the period.
GN: What were the reactions of Eugenios Voulgaris, of the poet Kaisarios Dapontes?
VWM: Some like the scholar and cleric, Eugenios Voulgaris, took the opportunity to rejoice in the Russians’ great victory, while many others lamented the failure. For instance, the famed poet Kaisarios Dapontes’ disappointment was captured in an excerpt from his Geographic History. Unpublished during his lifetime, this short reflection on the Orlov Revolt was highly critical of the Russians exclaiming: “It is for the Russians to lament now for the wretched Romioi, their brothers, who remain slaves and again ruined!”
Up from the Ashes – March 25, 1821: “We All Are Greeks”, was presented under the auspices of The Consulate General of the Republic of Greece by The American Chamber of Commerce, The Educational and Cultural Committee, The Hellenic-American Bankers Association, The Hellenic Lawyers Association, and the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
In next week’s issue: “Ali Pascha and His Influence on the Greek War of Independence”, by Dr. Katherine E. Fleming, Deputy Provost; Vice Chancellor, Europe and Alexander S. Onassis Professor of Hellenic Culture and Civilization, New York University, and “The Cause of Suffering Humanity: American Relief Efforts During the Greek War for Independence”, by Dr. Angelo Repoussis, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Temple University and West Chester University.
HELLENIC-AMERICAN / NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE 20th Annual Joint Shipping Conference
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014 ● THE WALDORF-ASTORIA STARLIGHT ROOF ● 301 PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY
February 4th, 2014 marked 20th Annual Joint Chamber Shipping Conference in New York City. Hellenic American/Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce Conference examined: “Today’s Vision…Tomorrow’s Reality”. Maritime TV was there to cover selected presentations.