WASHINGTON, DC— The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, and its affiliated organizations, celebrated the 196th Anniversary of Greek Independence at a White House ceremony held March 24, 2017.  President Donald J. Trump, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, White House Director of the Office of Public Liaison George Sifakis, and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, provided remarks. Vice President Mike Pence also attended.

“We sincerely thank President Trump for issuing a Proclamation that calls on the people of the United States to observe Greek Independence Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities,” Supreme President Andrew C. Zachariades said. “We also commend the president for recognizing Greece’s value as a NATO ally, for expressing ‘deep gratitude’ for Greece’s ‘enduring friendship,’ and for acknowledging the inspiration America’s patriots took from Hellenic principles and the ancient Greeks.”

Supreme President Andrew Zachariades, his wife, Antoinette; Sons of Pericles Supreme President Nick Apostolou, Maids of Athena Grand President Tria Charnas, Supreme Secretary Carl Hollister, Supreme Treasurer Jimmy Kokotas, Board of Directors Vice Chairman Lee J. Millas, AHEPA Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, and Daughters of Penelope Executive Director Elena Saviolakis, represented the AHEPA family. Many other AHEPA family members were also in attendance.

“AHEPA treasures the fact that representatives of the American Hellenic community have been welcome to the White House since AHEPA’s meeting with President Calvin Coolidge in 1924,” Zachariades added. “This recognition demonstrates that the Office of the Presidency has valued the American Hellenic community, its concerns, and its many contributions to the tapestry that is America since the time American Hellenes became organized and mobilized through the vision of AHEPA’s Founders.”

AHEPA is proud to count Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Gerald R. Ford as members.

Dinner at Blair House
Supreme President Andrew C. Zachariades attended a dinner hosted by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at the Blair House on the occasion of Greek Independence and in honor of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, March 23, 2017.  Vice President Mike Pence stopped by to address the guests, which included Greece’s Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos and Cypriot Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides.

Defense Minister Made an Ahepan
AHEPA had a substantive discussion with Greece’s Minister of Defense, Panos Kammenos, March 24, ahead of his meetings in Washington, which included one with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Minister Kammenos also became an AHEPA member, at the invitation of Supreme President Andrew Zachariades. Executive Director Basil Mossaidis presented the minister with a unique membership pin from the 1920s.