The AHEPAN - Winter 2015 - 4

A MESSAGE FROM SUPREME PRESIDENT JOHN W. GALANIS

Reflections upon AHEPA's Growth in Europe

John W. Galanis

4

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As we head into the New Year, I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone for their hospitality
during my travels thus far. Throughout the AHEPA family domain, I am constantly in awe of the hard
work that our volunteer grassroots membership engages in on a consistent basis and their dedication
to the Order's mission. On behalf of the Supreme Lodge, I thank you, and I wish everyone a happy
and healthy 2016.
Speaking of travels, my wife, Pat, and I; along with Past District 6 Governor Tom Duchas, and
his wife, Eva, had the pleasure of attending a conference of AHEPA's European chapters held in
Stuttgart, Germany, October 9 and 10. It was the first such conference of its kind and a testament to
AHEPA's growth and expansion in Europe.
Upon arrival to Germany, we were greeted warmly by a multitude of Ahepans at the airport and
again at the hotel. Prior to the start of the conference, we enjoyed Octoberfest celebrations as Friedrich Schiller Chapter 608, Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg), rented a chalet on the festival grounds.
More than 150 Ahepans, Daughters, and their families participated. Imagine seeing Greeks dressed
in traditional Bavarian apparel. We had a blast.
The conference itself was extremely well-attended with 90 Ahepans and 40 Daughters of Penelope
members representing chapters from Greece, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and
Bulgaria. The Bishop of Stuttgart, the counsel general of Greece, Grand President Connie Pilallas,
and I provided introductory remarks. The conference also featured compelling presentations. A
brother from Heidelberg, Germany presented a paper on the connection of Greece to Germany. A
bishop from Greece gave a presentation on a home for children with Down Syndrome. Chapters
provided presentations on their activities and charitable contributions to the communities in which
they serve.
My observations from the conference are numerous. Our European brethren take pride in their
AHEPA membership and the values set forth in the Order's mission. There are 50 AHEPA chapters
in Europe, including 31 in Greece, and more growth is expected according to Supreme Governor
Nicholas Papadopoulos, who kindly extended the invitation for us to attend the conference. Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, and Sweden are all countries where the potential to charter new AHEPA
chapters exists. Interestingly, our European brethren remind me in some ways of our brethren in
the early days of AHEPA's founding. Many members have strong and direct connections to Greece.
Moreover, our European chapters proudly engage in community service and charitable giving that
have made AHEPA a pillar of strength in the community. For example, Stuttgart Chapter helps the
local church and sponsors a Greek Independence Day parade equal in size and attendance to most
of the parades in the cities in America.
Prior to arriving in Stuttgart, we visited Paris, France, to meet with members of AHEPA's Victor
Hugo Chapter 607. We also held an initiation. The brothers there are focused on maintaining their
heritage and spreading the mission of AHEPA. Thanks to Brother Panagiotis Katis, who is a counsellor for budget, taxation, and financial markets at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD), I had the opportunity to tour the OECD and learn more about its work.
Our European brethren are dynamic in their professions and in their service to the community. I
believe it is our obligation to help our brothers in Europe so that they can enjoy equally the success
AHEPA has achieved in North America. After three beautiful days, it was difficult to leave after such
hospitality and warmth. In fact, after my term ends, my wife and I plan to return to Stuttgart to visit
our new friends and to enjoy the city.

THE AHEPAN · Winter 2015

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