The AHEPAN - Winter/Spring 2010 - 4
messAge FRom NiCholAs A. KARACostAs AhepA supReme pResiDeNt What if every month Was like march for hellenism?
Xristos Anesti! I hope everyone had a Happy Easter. We started 2010 where we left off in 2009, and as always, March was at the center of a busy four months for the AHEPA family. A tremendous victory for U.S.-Greece relations was realized when the United States announced Greece’s designation as a visa waiver program nation on March 9, Nicholas A. Karacostas 2010. This is an issue that AHEPA has been recognized as being at the forefront of for the past four years. The hard work of the Greek government and past and current U.S. administrations to see this process through to its proper completion is to be commended. As of April 5, 2010, Greek citizens are permitted to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa for tourism or business purposes only. Now our relatives from Greece can visit us at a moment’s notice if needed, and commerce and tourism will flourish as a result of Greece’s VWP designation. The AHEPA family was well-represented at Greek Independence Day celebrations at the White House on March 9. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister George Papandreou, and Archbishop Demetrios all took part in the ceremony. The Greek American community is grateful that the U.S.-Greece strategic partnership and shared ideals between the two longstanding NATO allies were reaffirmed at the highest levels of government. At the grassroots level, I applaud our districts and chapters that took the initiative to host or help organize Greek Independence celebrations at state capitols and municipal buildings throughout our domain. Also in March we continued to fulfill our civic and philanthropic commitments to the community. We continue to receive updates from our chapters about their “United We Serve” campaigns to combat hunger. AHEPA proudly donated $10,000 to Virginia Task Force 1, an elite urban rescue team that recently saved 16 lives in Haiti. And more than 40 AHEPA family members gathered in Washington for one of the most successful Capitol Hill Days ever held. I want to thank everyone—AHEPA family member or not; Hellene or Philhellene—who either participated or donated their time or financial resources to help make all of these efforts a success for our Order. Spring is an important time for our various educational programs. I hope everyone who was eligible took advantage of the opportunity to apply for an AHEPA National Educational Foundation scholarship or to enroll in the AHEPA Journey to Greece Program or AHEPAcademy. Please sponsor a student for the Journey or AHEPAcademy if your district or chapter is able. These programs provide invaluable learning and life experiences for a whole new generation of young Greek Americans. Springtime also means we are approaching the “finish line” of our administrative year. The Montreal AHEPA family awaits us with great anticipation as they prepare to host the 88th Annual Supreme Convention, July 11-18. Please consider being a delegate or alternate and bring your families. Included in this issue of The Ahepan is all the information you need to register. We would love to see you in Montreal! Finally, at the time of this article’s submission, I had the pleasure of leading the 82nd Annual AHEPA Excursion to Greece, Cyprus, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate (where we had the honor of attending Holy Week services). I look forward to updating you about our excursion via our communications network or in person at future visitations.