The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 18

AHEPA's Unparalleled
Humanitarian Contributions to
Greece and Cyprus
ALEXANDER KITROEFF
T
hroughout its 100-year history, AHEPA has
stood by the people of Greece and Cyprus in
their hour of need. AHEPA has provided lifesaving
humanitarian aid in the wake of wars
and natural disasters, especially earthquakes
and wildfires, which are a regular occurrence
in the Eastern Mediterranean. Examples of other times of
need include the period of post-WWII reconstruction or the
more recent economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. In fact,
AHEPA has been so successful that many outsiders expect even
more because they believe AHEPA is dedicated solely to relief
work.
It is worth noting that when AHEPA was founded, and
included philanthropy as one of its aims, organizations such as
the Save the Children Fund and the Near East Relief Foundation
were also beginning their missions. It was a time when the international
community realized the importance of aid to persons in
need, such as orphans and refugees. As this type of humanitarian
aid became more professionalized, AHEPA gradually adapted its
policies to offer indirect assistance to organizations, for example,
the Red Cross. AHEPA also used its influence to help governments
take measures and to offer its services as a hub that encouraged
coordinated initiatives of other Greek American and diaspora
associations. The Supreme Lodge has led and coordinated those
initiatives but that effort would not have been fruitful without the
extraordinary commitment and on-the-ground volunteer work of
AHEPA chapters around the world. In many instances the driving
18 | THE AHEPAN ยท Summer 2021
force of those local efforts were Daughters of Penelope chapters
for which philanthropy and volunteerism have been pillars of
their decades of service.
AHEPA's humanitarian contributions to Greece and Cyprus
are numerous. We can get a sense of their significance by first
considering how this service was built into the Order's aims.
It was an important part of its formative years through WWII.
Secondly, those actions created the foundations of the wide-ranging
aid that AHEPA provided to Greece in the post-WWII era.
As significant as it is to mention at least the most important of
AHEPA's actions from 1950 onwards, it is also important to track
the way the Order adapted to the changing international practices
of humanitarian aid. This was due to the emergence of even
greater involvement of international agencies such as the Red
Cross as well as a growing number of NGOs (Non-Government
Organizations). In AHEPA's case this would bring increasingly
closer cooperation with the Greek government, the Greek Red
Cross, and other local agencies.
AHEPA's establishment in 1922 coincided with the Asia Minor
Disaster that resulted in well over a million Greek Orthodox refugees
fleeing in the face of acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing
throughout Anatolia and the Black Sea Pontus region. One of the
principal international aid organizations assisting Greece with
the refugee influx was the American " Near East Relief " and it
would benefit from support offered by AHEPA chapters in the
1920s even as the Order was still in the process of being created
and establishing chapters across the United States.
www.ahepa.org
http://www.ahepa.org

The Ahepan Summer 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Ahepan Summer 2021

The Ahepan Summer 2021 - Intro
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 1
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 2
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 3
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 4
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 5
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 6
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 7
The Ahepan Summer 2021 - 8
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