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The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted its 44th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinner at the Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C. AHI honored a distinguished set of awardees based upon their important career achievements and contributions to the Greek American community or community at-large. They were:
- Eleni D. Bousis, Philanthropist;
- Nicholas E. Chimicles, Founder and Chairman, Chimicles, Schwartz, Kriner, & Donaldson-Smith LLP;
- Spiro Spireas, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SigmaPharm Laboratories, LLC; and
- Ambassador Patrick N. Theros, former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and Strategic Advisor, Gulf International Forum.
Larry Michael, “Voice of the Redskins,” and chief content officer and senior vice president, Washington Redskins; was the evening’s master of ceremonies. AHI Vice President James H. Lagos, Esq., introduced Michael.
The Marines of Headquarters Battalion presented the colors and the American and Greek national anthems were performed by Georgios Theodoridis, master chanter and director of Music Arts, St. Sophia Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Reverend Dimitrios J. Antokas, Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Md., offered the invocation. Maria Pierce entertained the audience with a musical interlude. Apollonia provided musical entertainment.
AHI Foundation President Constantine Galanis offered greetings and introduced AHI President Nick R. Larigakis, who reviewed the Institute’s initiatives and programs that are provided to the community.
“Tonight we honor four outstanding members of the Greek American community for setting an example not only of professional excellence but of selfless service to others, which is the ultimate definition of the ideas of Hellenism,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said.
Philanthropist Eleni D. Bousis received the AHI Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in recognition of her faithful service to the vulnerable and marginalized populations across the globe. In acceptance, Bousis stated, “I am very humbled, touched, and grateful to AHI for recognizing my efforts in making a difference for humanity. It is a very gratifying experience.
Renowned Attorney and Legal Scholar Nicholas E. Chimicles received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his contributions to the legal profession and his commitment to justice and the rule of law. Receiving the award, Chimicles, who also serves on the AHI Board of Directors, stated, “I think this is a wonderful organization. AHI is a great spokesperson for Hellenism. I am proud to be a part of AHI. Being here today all started with my parents and education. It is simply a privilege to be here.”
AHI presented Entrepreneur and Scientist Spiro Spireas, Ph.D., with the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his outstanding achievements in the field of pharmaceutical science and for his leadership of, and service to, the Greek American community. “We have to think about Hellenism comprehensively,” Dr. Spireas, who is a former AHI Foundation president, said. “Hellenism is not just for ethnic Greeks, but also Philhellenes. The Greek community should continue to be selfless in giving to good causes. AHI is a good lobbying group. Greek-Americans need to have effective lobbyists. We are giving something to a justified organization such as the American Hellenic Institute, and we need professionals to lobby for Greeks.”
Former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Theros received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Public Service Award for his distinguished public service to the United States and for his tireless pursuit of religious freedom. In acceptance, Ambassador Theros said, “We must never underestimate the contribution of the Greek-American community in every aspect of life in the United States; we have produced great leaders in science, medicine, politics, finance, and academia. We need great organizations like the American Hellenic Institute to make our fellow Americans aware of our presence and importance.”
Special guests attending the event included: Ambassador of Greece to the United States Haris Lalacos, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who attended the reception; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Matthew Palmer; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs David Short.
Other notable guests attending the dinner were: Art Dimopoulos, executive director, National Hellenic Society; Mike Manatos, executive director, Washington OXI Day Foundation; Christos Papoutsis, former Minister of Greece for Citizens Protection and current advisor to the Executive Director at the World Bank; Maria Krithariotis, interim director, Greek National Tourism Organization, USA & Canada; Paul Kotrotsios, publisher, Hellenic News of America and president, Hermes Expo International; and AHI-Athens Chapter Vice President retired Vice Admiral of the Hellenic Navy Vasilis Kyriazis, and AHI-Athens Chapter Members George Mermelas and Katerina Papathanasiou.