With the 50th anniversary of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) coinciding with the commemoration of Cyprus’s occupation half a century ago, the stage was set for a truly momentous occasion at the institute’s annual gala in Washington, DC. Amidst heartfelt tributes and commendations, guests gathered to honor fifty years of advocacy, community engagement, and national involvement, reflecting on the enduring significance of Cyprus’s invasion.

Distinguished guests added to the grandeur of the evening as Mike Emanuel, Chief Washington Correspondent from Fox News Channel, skillfully guided the proceedings as the Master of Ceremonies. The stirring strains of the Greek National Anthem, sung by Maria Pearce, echoed through the room, accompanied by the soul-stirring performance of the National Anthem by the Marine Brass Ensemble, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, and the Presentation of the Colors by The Marines of Headquarters Battalion.

Reverend Father Konstantinos A. Pavlakos set a tone of reflection and celebration with a heartfelt Invocation, while Larry Michael’s presentation of the historic video tribute “AHI at 50” provided insight into the institute’s rich legacy. Greetings from Nicholas E. Chimicles Esq., AHI Gala Weekend Chairman, and James H. Lagos, Esq., Chairman of the American Hellenic Institute, underscored the milestone’s significance.

The evening also celebrated the recognition of two distinguished individuals for their exceptional contributions to Hellenic heritage and public service. Caterina Papoulias-Sakellaris received the prestigious Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award. At the same time, Angelo K. Tsakopoulos was bestowed with the esteemed Hellenic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award, acknowledging their unwavering dedication to serving the community and preserving Hellenic cultural heritage.

Chairman Leon Andris and President Nick R. Larigakis inspired attendees with their words, reaffirming the institute’s steadfast dedication to its mission. Georgia Polizos’s introduction of the Master of Ceremonies further heightened the sense of unity and purpose that permeated the evening, leaving guests with a profound appreciation for the American Hellenic Institute’s enduring impact and a sense of anticipation for its continued contributions in the years ahead.