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AHI Hosts Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day


The American Hellenic Institute hosted its annual “Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day” to celebrate the 203rd Anniversary of Greek Independence on March 20th, 2024. AHI held the event in cooperation with the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues’ co-chairs, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH).

The celebration featured remarks from the Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Katerina Nassika, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Evangelos Savva, and Members of Congress, including Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).

Written remarks were also provided by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD).

The event highlighted the democratic ideals shared between the American Revolution and the Greek Revolution, the increasingly strong relationship between the U.S. and Greece, and the importance of the Greek American community. Over 100 guests, including members of the Greek American community, congressional staff, and other government and non-profit organizations, were in attendance.

AHI President Nick Larigakis served as the event’s moderator. He thanked the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and the ambassadors for their support of the event.

“Today, we celebrate the 1821 Revolution, true to its spirit and ideals, true to our partners and allies in the United States, in Europe and around the world”, noted Ambassador Katerina Nassika adding that today “Greece is a member of the European Union and NATO. Our democratic institutions are strong. We have overcome the financial crisis. The Economist magazine has selected Greece as the Country of year for 2023”.

The Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. thanked AHI for holding this annual celebration for over 15 years while acknowledging the Co-chairmen of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Chris Pappas “for their part in this celebration and for their valuable support in promoting the just causes of Greece and of the Greek American community, of which we are very proud”.

“The Greek revolution reminded everybody that people wanted freedom, and people will fight for freedom, and people will die in the quest for freedom, and that’s the spirit of the Greek Revolution. Cypriots themselves fought in the war of Greek independence in mainland Greece until the dream of an independent Greek state came to fruition”, stated Ambassador Evangelos Savva.

“There could not be a more crucial time to stand with allies like Greece and stand strong against the authoritarian regimes and those who are enemies of freedom and democracy. The relations between Greece and the United States have never been more vital — and never as string— as it is today”, said Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH), thanking all for “being here to celebrate Greek Independence Day” and AHI for “hosting this event and all you do to strengthen the United states’ relationship with Greece and its neighbors”.

“We will make sure that Greece and Cyprus are protected. We are still working on the issue of Cyprus – we will not rest until the residents of Cyprus, the true residents of Cyprus, have the opportunity to go back to their land in the occupied area”, stressed Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and he exclaimed “Zito Ellada”, “Zito Amerikí” and “Zito Kýpros”.

“When it comes to justice for Cyprus, they will never let us forget why that has to be a priority, and they very skillfully communicated that to Members of Congress over a long period of time”, stated Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD), thanking AHI President Nick Larigakis and his team for everything they have done.

The United States and Greece have been beacons of democratic values around the world and I look forward to the continued growth of our partnership”, said Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), noting how proud she is as a member of the Hellenic Caucus and a Greek-American.

“Today we celebrate the Greek people’s fight for independence and the powerful bond between Greece and the United States. The United States and Greece have shared a long and storied relationship, and I am pleased to have seen in only grow stronger in recent years”, said Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), wishing Greece a happy Independence Day.

“Last year”, she added, “I successfully secured language in the annual National Defense Authorization Act that would fortify the bond between the U.S. and Greece by requiring a report on the security relationship between our two nations, and basing rights of Greek islands”.

“I look forward to continuing to engage with you all in the years ahead on strengthening the critical relationship between Greece and the United States”, said Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) praising AHI as a “valuable advocate for the U.S. – Greek relationship”.

“Freedom and democracy have guided the history of Greece and the United States – and the American Hellenic Institute leads the way in stewarding these values. The important work you do is essential to protecting the political freedoms and traditions that we are so fortunate to enjoy”, noted Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

“Greece has also made invaluable contributions to the transatlantic Alliance”, stressed Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) noting that “maintaining strong security ties with Greece in the years to come is a priority for the United States”.  

“The United States and Greece have enjoyed a deep – rooted bond, forged by our shared belief in freedom and self- governance. Those values are still the heart of our two nations – and a guiding light to those who would imagine a more just society of they own”, said Senator Gary Peters (D-MI).

“The Greek struggle for self- determination was not easy, but democratic ideals promoted by your ancestors and the strength of the modern state shine through the people of the Hellenic Republic”, said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) emphasizing the dedication to democracy that the Hellenic Republic and the United States share.

Referring to AHI, he said that it has been “leading voice in Washington on Greek – American relations since its founding 50 years ago. I commend the American Hellenic Institute for its continued commitment to strengthening the relationship between the United States and some of our closest allies”.