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A Night at the Biltmore with the American Hellenic Council of California

By on May 19, 2015

The American Hellenic Council (AHC) of California held its Annual Awards Gala this past April, honoring four distinguished Greek individuals for their service to Hellenism and their excellence in their respective fields and expertise. Chairman, CEO and Global Co-CIO of Calamos Investments, John Calamos, and Owner and Founder of Felix BNI, Peter Economides were honored with the Aristeion Award for their extraordinary accomplishments. Former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary, Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis was honored with the Pericles Award for her advocacy of peace, democracy, and justice and her support of the issues that concern the Hellenic-American community. Author of “Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness”, Gene Rossides was honored with the Theodore Saloutos Award for his exemplary work at the American Hellenic Institute and for bringing the plight of Cyprus and the Rule of Law to the head of our political action efforts.

    The event, which attracted over 350 attendees, was held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Demetrios Boutris, the President and CEO of Boutris Group, a Real Estate, Business & Policy Consulting Firm, was the Master of Ceremonies. Musical entertainment was provided by the Takis Kokotas Band, as well as opera singer Diana Tash and pianist Cathy Miller.

    John P. Calamos, Sr., who received the Aristeion Award, is Chairman, CEO and Global Co-CIO of Calamos investments, a firm he founded in 1977. The firm is headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area with additional offices in London and New York. Mr. Calamos has established research and investment processes centered around a team-based approach designed to deliver superior risk-adjusted strategies including equity, fixed income, convertible and alternative investments. He has written two books: “Investing in Convertible Securities: Your Complete Guide to the Risks and Rewards” and “Convertible Securities: The Latest Instruments, Portfolio Strategies, and Valuation Analysis”. John Calamos received his B.A. in Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

    Peter Economides, who was also honored with the Aristeion Award, is the owner and founder of global brand strategy consultancy, Felix BNI, based in Athens. He is a former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Director of Client Services at global advertising agency, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, and Head of Global Clients at TBWA\Worldwide. Born in South Africa, but a true globalist, Peter has lived in Hong Kong, Athens, Mexico City and New York.  He shot to prominence for his work on Rebranding Greece which has become a source of inspiration and hope through the Greek crisis. Peter is a volunteer strategist to the Benaki Museum, a Trustee of SAHETI, the well known South African Hellenic Educational institute, and Board Chair of leading global charity, Make-A-Wish International.

    Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, who was honored with the Pericles Award, was the United States Ambassador to Hungary from January 2010-July 2013. Before accepting President Obama’s nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Tsakopoulos Kounalakis was president of AKT Development Corporation, one of California’s largest land development firms. Ambassador Kounalakis served for nearly ten years as a Trustee of the World Council of Religions for Peace. In recognition for her work with the WCRP, she was awarded the medal of St. Paul, the Greek Orthodox Church of America’s highest honor. Ambassador Kounalakis earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business. In 2011, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the American College of Greece.

    Gene Rossides, who received the Theodore Saloutos Award, served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1969 to 1973, during the first term of the Nixon Administration. Henry Kissinger was National Security Adviser during this time. Rossides supervised the U.S. Customs Service, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He also served as the U.S. representative to INTERPOL. From 1958 to 1961, he was in the Eisenhower Administration and is a founding director of the Eisenhower Institute. In 1974, following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, he founded the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and in 1975, the AHI Foundation (AHIF). Mr. Rossides is also the author of the book, “Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness”. He graduated from Columbia College and Columbia Law School.

    Last year’s AHC Honorees include Dean Metropoulos, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of C. Dean Metropoulos and Company; Dr. Maria Pantelia, Professor of Classics at the University of California, Irvine; and Congressman John Sarbanes, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 3rd congressional district. The American Hellenic Council will hold its 42nd Annual Awards Gala in the spring of 2016.

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