WASHINGTON, DC – The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on April 14 virtually hosted its annual Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence and the common democratic ideals shared by Greece and the United States. The event was held in cooperation with the Congressional Hellenic Caucus’s co-sponsors, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
AHI President Nick Larigakis served as moderator and thanked Rep. Bilirakis and Rep. Maloney for their sponsorship of the event.
Special guest speakers included His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandra Papadopoulou, and Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States Marios Lysiotis. Renowned crossover classical singer Anastasia Zannis performed the National Anthems of Greece and the United States.
His Eminence said: “Truly, the Congress of the United States is a perfect partner for this celebration, with the same values of liberty and self-determination inspired both the revolutionaries of 1776 and 1821. It is no accident that the world’s most successful democracy, America, and the world’s first democracy, Greece, should link forever the Greek-American and philhellene communities. The American Hellenic Institute, whose legendary founder Eugene Rossides passed from this life to the next less than one year ago, has not only been a strong advocate for all matters Hellenic, but an important voice in American cultural and political spheres of influence.”
In addition, AHI presented a pre-recorded video from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis highlighting Greece’s Bicentennial. The video was created for widespread distribution throughout the Greek-American community and not solely for the AHI event. Mitsotakis said: “Greece is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Revolution. Our eyes turn not only to Moria, Roumeli or the islands that revolted back then, but also beyond our borders. Towards Ecumenical Hellenism, which flourishes at the ends of the earth, while always holding the baton of the ancestors abroad, who were also protagonists of our national struggle.”
Members of Congress who provided remarks included Rep. Bilirakis, Rep. Maloney, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH).
The speakers emphasized their admiration for the Greek-American community, Hellenic culture, U.S.-Greece bilateral relations, and for the valiant struggle for Greek Independence, achieved 200 years ago. They also expressed their desire for a proper settlement of the Cyprus issue, peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the need to hold regional actors, such as Turkey, accountable.
The event is available for viewing on YouTube: