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June 2008

An Open Letter from AHEPA Supreme President Ike Gulas

My Fellow Hellenes and Philhellenes,

By the time you read this message, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) will be on the verge of a historical event—the 86th Annual Supreme Convention in Athens, Greece.

It has been 38 years since we convened at the birthplace of Western Civilization for our annual meeting. Simply stated, this event is long overdue. The excitement and enthusiasm for our return to Athens that I have witnessed in the Hellenic American Community on my travels throughout the United States and Canada is unparalleled. This positive energy will be on full display from the moment we arrive.

Athens will provide us with a truly unique experience. It will afford us the opportunity to truly meet on an international scale. In addition to AHEPA Family members participating from the United States and Canada, we will be joined in larger numbers by our brothers and sisters from Australia and New Zealand, and of course, from Greece and Cyprus. Indeed the assistance of a strong AHEPA Family infrastructure in Greece—one that has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years—will allow us to execute a successful convention.

In Athens, we aspire to demonstrate that the entire AHEPA Family (Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles, and Maids of Athena) is a vibrant, strong, and dependable bridge between North America and Greece. We are an organization that contributes positively to relations between North America and Greece with philanthropic, cultural and educational projects and quasi-diplomatic efforts that strengthen the transatlantic bridge.

Moreover, we convene in Athens with an important focus on the future. By having our Supreme Convention in Athens, we aim to meet one of the greatest challenges we face in the United States—the challenge of ensuring that our cultural heritage and identity is passed down from generation to generation. I am confident that the convention will be an event that will bring us all—young and old—back to an appreciation for our Hellenic roots and heritage. However, this is especially true for our youth. Therefore, we view the convention as a historic opportunity for families that may not ordinarily visit Greece to do so and become reacquainted, or in some cases introduced, to their ethnic roots. In fact, I’m pleased that many of our delegates attending the convention are first-time delegates. I contend this indicates that we have met this challenge.

Finally, I wish to extend our gratitude to the Government of the Hellenic Republic, from the various ministries to the Greek Parliament to the Embassy of Greece in Washington, all of which have been extremely supportive of our efforts to host a successful convention in Athens.


Ike Gulas
Supreme President

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