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The American Hellenic Council Holds 44th Annual Gala in Los Angeles
On March 31st, the American Hellenic Council held its 44th Annual Awards Gala. This year, the Council honored two distinguished Greek-Americans and one Philhellene for their outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions to Hellenism. The event, which attracted over 400 attendees, was held at the Omni 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.
The evening began with opening remarks by AHC Chairman Dr. Menas Kafatos, as well as several dignitaries including the Greek Ambassador to the United States, Haris Lalacos, Supreme President of AHEPA, Carl Hollister, and former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Eleni Kounalakis, before proceeding to the night’s award ceremony. Each honoree received, not only their prestigious AHC award but also proclamations from California Congressman Brad Sherman, and Congresswoman Judy Chu, both of which were in attendance.
Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products was honored with the Aristeion Award in Business. Under Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks’ leadership, EFP has achieved the unprecedented “trifecta” of sustainable manufacturing: carbon neutrality, water neutrality, and Zero Waste Platinum certification. During her acceptance speech, Vlahakis-Hanks’ announced the opening of a new production line in Greece, which will service not only the Greek market, but also Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The night’s second honoree, Prof. John Camp, received the prestigious Theodore Saloutos Award, which honors members of the Greek-American community and philhellenes for their extraordinary devotion to Hellenism. John McKesson Camp II is the Professor of Archaeology with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Classics with the Randolph-Macon College. Since 1994, he has been the director of excavations at the Athenian Agora.
Breaking with custom, the Council honored its third and final honoree, Aris Anagnos, for the second time with the first ever AHC Lifetime achievement award. A founding member of the Save Cyprus Council (today’s American Hellenic Council), Aris Anagnos has been a pillar of Hellenic Advocacy for over 40 years. A successful Real Estate Developer, political activist, and philanthropist. Anagnos has been a champion of human rights, civil rights, equal rights, civil liberties and the Peace Movement for decades.
As is tradition, the Council also announced the winners of its annual Scholarship Awards. This year, the Council recognized two amazing Greek-American students for their academic and personal accomplishments. Named in honor of two of the Council’s longtime supporters, the Van Vlahakis Scholarship was awarded to Namie Fotion, and the Dr. and Mrs. James Kallins Scholarship to Georgia Kouros.
Now that the festivities is over, the Council is looking forward to channeling the Gala’s success into another year of passionate advocacy work in order to counter the growing threat of Turkish aggression throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. In hopes of deescalating tensions in the region, the Council will be organizing a series of congressional meetings to inform members of Congress of the dangers posed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
As the largest Greek-American Advocacy organization on the West Coast, the AHC will be participating in the upcoming April 24th March for Justice organized by the Armenian Genocide Committee, as well as the first annual Accelerate Greece Innovation Night, hosted by Ergo Capital and The Hellenic Initiative. The American Hellenic Council will hold its 45th Annual Awards Gala in the spring of 2019.