Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades received the AHEPA Socrates Award, the Order’s highest honor, at the 99th AHEPA Family Supreme Convention Grand Banquet held at the Divani Caravel Hotel, Athens, July 28, 2021.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis forewent some of his prepared remarks and instead spoke from the heart because he was “inspired by what I see in this room.”
“I would like to congratulate the AHEPA organization for all its achievements and for the fact that it has always been there in the good times as well as in the difficult times,” he said. “AHEPA is always present in the fair struggles of Hellenism. We know we can count on you, and you know you can count on us.”
In reference to how many were surprised with how Greece has handled the pandemic, Prime Minister Mitsotakis added he wanted to take the opportunity “to pay tribute and dedicate this special award to our nurses and doctors in the Greek Health System who have worked very hard and relentlessly to tackle this invisible enemy.”
Former Greek Deputy Foreign Minister for Greeks Abroad and Publisher of the Ethnikos Kyrikas/The National Herald Antonis Diamataris introduced the prime minister.
In his acceptance remarks, President Anastasiades stated, “I consider this honor, which I humbly accept with sincere gratitude, as an honor to the country and the people that I represent and as the genuine appreciation to the long-standing struggles of Cypriot Hellenism for freedom, justice, and independence.”
He added, “Today’s honor is of the greatest value if one considers that it is awarded by an Association which has been successfully promoting and defending the ideals, values, and principles of Hellenism for almost a century. Since its establishment in 1922, AHEPA grew over the years from strength to strength and had not only tirelessly preserved the Greek language, identity, and cultural heritage in the United States of America, but has managed to develop a truly inspiring charitable and humanitarian work which has led to a contribution of over one billion US dollars to worthy causes. At the same time, AHEPA has assumed a key role in advancing the strategic partnership between Greece and Cyprus with the United States.”
PSEKA President, Ahepan, and 2019 AHEPA Socrates Award recipient Philip Christopher introduced President Anastasiades.
In response, Supreme President George G. Horiates spoke passionately about AHEPA’s commitment to preserve, protect, and project Hellenism and its ideals.
California Lt. Governor Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, a member of the Daughters of Penelope; US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, and Daughters of Penelope Grand President Celia Kachmarski, also provided remarks.
Special video presentations were made by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla. They received the AHEPA Academy of Achievement Award.
Supreme President George G. Horiates presented two natural disaster relief donations: 159,000 Euro to Evangelismos Hospital AHEPA Wing to complete a burn unit and $50,000 to help restore a park devastated by the California wildfires.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nicholas A. Karacostas served as the Master of Ceremonies.