Honoring Those Who Advocate for Hellenism – the American Hellenic Council’s Annual Awards Dinner
The American Hellenic Council (AHC) of California held its Annual Awards Gala. The organization honored three distinguished Philhellenes for their service to Hellenism and their excellence in their respective fields of expertise.
US Ambassador to Greece, Hon. Geoffrey R. Pyatt received the Athena Award, Professor Sharon E. J. Gerstel the Theodore Saloutos Award and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a new member of the Hellenic Caucus, the Pericles Award.
The event, which attracted over 380 attendees, was held at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Musical entertainment was provided by the Takis Kokotas Band and SoCal native, Nia Matty. The Master of Ceremonies was Demetrios Boutris, the President and CEO of Boutris Group, a Real Estate, Business & Policy Consulting Firm.
This year’s Gala was the first event since the passing of AHC’s founder and long-time leader, Aris Anagnos. In honor of his memory, a Memorial Olive Tree, filled with notes from members of the AHC general community, was planted in Aris and Carolyn Anagnos Peace Center Foundation’s garden.
“It’s a great honor to be part of the AHC Gala; to honor those that we are particularly grateful for, the recipients that work for Hellenism, work for our causes, work for education, for achievement and something that we all can respect and look forward to. To also honor our Council. A Council that has been here from the very beginning, from that very first invasion on July 20, 1974,” said AHC President & Chairman, Dr. Jim Dimitriou. “It’s a very special time for me, I was tutored by the best, I had advisors that had started the Council from the beginning, who meant a lot to me. For Aris Anagnos, it was, ‘You are a long term fighter. Remember what you fought for and be true to your character.’ And those were his last words to me. Peter Caloyeras, who told me, ‘always be mindful of all the aggression that takes place. Take nothing for granted and stay with one purpose.’ And this along with Theodore Saloutos was something that meant something to me from the very beginning. Dr. Saloutos was my mentor and academic advisor going back to before Cyprus invasion and my research there. He was the guiding force for me and the early Council ‘to always respect the rule of law and speak as Americans of Hellenic descent.”
The American Hellenic Council is a non-partisan political advocacy organization. Their goal is to promote democracy, human rights, peace, and stability in Southern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on Greece and Cyprus, by informing the American public and the government about on-going issues and conflicts in the area.
Since its inception, the American Hellenic Council has been the focal point of political activities of Greek Americans in California. The AHC has become an effective and respected political lobbying group whose sole purpose is to advocate to the U.S. Congress for the protection and promotion of Greek-American interests. During its existence, the American Hellenic Council has supported numerous Hellenic Issues, has made political donations, and raised significant contributions for members of Congress who support Hellenic Issues.
The Council has successfully organized the thirty-one congressional districts of Southern California and is expanding its advocacy activities to the northern part of the state. Through the AHC’s Congressional District Committees, the community has reached out to Representatives and Senators through meetings, written correspondence, telephone calls, and emails to communicate the importance of Hellenic issues and ask for support when these issues come for a vote as bills or resolutions before Congress.