The AHEPAN - Spring 2016 - 4

A MESSAGE FROM SUPREME PRESIDENT JOHN W. GALANIS

AHEPA Engages at Home and Abroad

John W. Galanis

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THE AHEPAN ยท Spring 2016

It has been a whirlwind start to 2016.
In January, our second Leadership Mission with the American Hellenic Institute and American
Jewish leaders from B'nai B'rith International and the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations took place. It was another triumph. Together, we explored security, natural gas
extraction and tourism, among other facets of the Greece-Cyprus-Israel trilateral relationship. I do
not find it a coincidence that following our Mission a Trilateral Summit was held where the three
nations "agreed to strengthen the cooperation" between them to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. It is important for the Diaspora to continue its support for the relationship. I am
proud AHEPA was, and continues to be, at the forefront of this effort to grow and strengthen ties with
the American Jewish community. Personally, the honor of representing AHEPA to the heads of these
three countries: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, President Nico Anastasiades, and Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, was a memorable experience.
On their own, Greece and Cyprus continue to address their respective challenges. For Greece, the
economic and refugee crises have converged to present an unthinkable burden for the country. With
regard to the latter, AHEPA issued a clear and adamant statement that the Order will not accept
Greece's isolation by Europe. Greece has become a "holding pen" for the migrants amid discord and
disunity in Europe about how to address the crisis. This is simply unacceptable. However, Greece is
doing all it can to manage the crisis and even received praise from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's timely March visit to Greece,
and specifically to the small Greek village of Idomeni on the border with FYROM, which has become
a makeshift "tent city" for 14,000 refugees seeking further access to Europe, was welcomed. AHEPA
is also encouraged by Nuland's remarks that stated the United States will answer Greece's requests
for humanitarian support. For Cyprus, settlement talks are progressing, but they are entering critical
phases such as security. AHEPA will remain engaged on all these fronts.
Here at home, I am proud of the many programs AHEPA offers the community. Our educational
programing, AHEPAcademy, Journey to Greece, and scholarship programs, are taking applications
for their 2016 sessions. Separately, our effort for veterans hit a high mark in February when AHEPA co-hosted a congressional reception in appreciation for Lt. Col. James Megellas. There, several
high-ranking members of Congress, including Speaker Paul Ryan, attended. AHEPA will continue to
pursue the quest to have Brother Megellas' Medal of Honor case reviewed for acts of valor during the
Battle of the Bulge in World War II. In March, Congress did pass a bill that names a U.S. post office in
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin after Megellas, which is most deserving.
Finally, preparations are well underway for our 94th AHEPA Family Supreme Convention in Las
Vegas. Please give strong consideration to attending-whether it is as a delegate, alternate, or just
for a getaway. The convention fosters a spirit of fellowship and brotherhood we've come to experience and love over the years. And it is this brotherly spirit that I continue to encounter on my
travels throughout the AHEPA domain-most recently, from Montreal to Saint Augustine and Tarpon
Springs, Florida-where I've witnessed amazing charitable works and philanthropic endeavors that
help to strengthen our communities. I truly believe this spirit is what makes AHEPA unique and
special, and it is what will keep AHEPA going strong for many decades to come.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The AHEPAN - Spring 2016

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