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In Memoriam Prof. Dan Georgakas
The Greek American Community and the American Hellenic Institute deeply mourns the passing of Dan Georgakas. He passed away on November 23, 2021.
Professor Georgakas was the editor of the American Hellenic Institute Foundation’s American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues, a forum for commentary and scholarship on issues of vital importance to Greek Americans. “Its purpose,” Prof. Georgakas stressed, “was to foster creative thinking on political issues that affect Greece, Cyprus, and the Greek diaspora.” To that end he sought the work from authors who have a special interest in promoting discourse in the Hellenic Diaspora and hearing from emerging as well as established scholars and activists.
“We are eternally grateful for Dan’s assistance in AHI Foundation’s work. We also travelled the country together for the annual conferences on the Future of Hellenism in America. Dan’s death is a huge loss to me personally, to AHI’s community as well as to the Greek American community,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis. “He was deeply committed to the issues of social justice and Hellenism. He understood the need for opportunity and inclusion in a democracy and devoted his life to making that happen in the U.S. His legacy is clear: A nation is better for his life and work.”
Professor Georgakas also actively promoted the teaching of Hellenism, Greek culture and language through his writings, poems, and lectures. “We believe key factors in enriching American policies are the activities of the Greek community and its allies, and we seek to empower them in whatever way we can. We think it is especially important to work with Greek Americans still at the onset of their careers. In all our endeavors, we advocate the need for a commitment to the principle of Rule by Law coupled with a commitment to rendering an authentic historic record stripped of ethnocentric bias,” Professor Georgakas wrote in his Introduction of the 2015 Spring issue of the American Journal of Contemporary Hellenic Issues.
Additionally, Professor Georgakas served as the Director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, consulting editor of Cineaste film quarterly, and a biweekly columnist for The National Herald. In 2015, Dan Georgakas: A Diaspora Rebel, a fifty-minute documentary biopic was produced for Greek National Television. It has since been screened in the United States and Europe.
Professor Georgakas will always be remembered fondly by the American Hellenic Institute and its members as an exceptional individual who worked diligently to promote Hellenic ideals and values. His knowledge was extensive and his love for Hellenism was endless. “We were honored to present him with the Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award in 2011,” Larigakis added. “Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his wife and the Georgakas family. May his memory be eternal.”