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College Students to Depart for Inaugural AHIF Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus
June 24, 2009—No. 51 (202) 785-8430

College Students to Depart for Inaugural AHIF Foreign Policy Study Trip to Greece and Cyprus


WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) launched a new program this year for Greek American college students to travel to Greece and Cyprus to better understand the core foreign policy issues important to the Greek American community. The program is open to Greek American and Cypriot American college students who are in good academic standing and who are studying political science, international relations, history, or foreign affairs.

The nine students selected to participate in the inaugural AHIF Foreign Policy Trip to Greece and Cyprus (June 25-July 10) are: Lia Seremetis, University of Cincinnati, OH;Lydia Pappas, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; Irene Venetia Ginakakis, New York University, NY; Jason Demetrios Vergados, Merrimack College, Massachusetts;George Balafoutis, University of Chicago, IL; John Tyler Gazetos, University of Wisconsin at Madison; George Papadopoulos, DePaul University, Chicago, IL; Vangelis Katsikiotis, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.; and Nicholas Papacostas, American University, Washington, DC.

The students will arrive in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 25, 2009. An afternoon welcome reception and briefing will be hosted at the AHI headquarters followed by a meeting with Thomas J. Miller, Former Ambassador to Greece / Cyprus Special Coordinator, current President and CEO of United Nations Association. The following morning they will have briefings from State Department Greek and Cyprus Desk Officers, Ambassador Andreas Kakouris, Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S., Mr. Karolos Gadis, Deputy Chief of Mission from Greece to the U.S., and Brigadier General Ilias Leontaris, Defense Attaché of the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C. The students will depart for Cyprus the afternoon of June 26th.

During the two-week trip the students will have the opportunity to see and experience first hand foreign policy issues affecting both countries, their relations with the U.S., and the interests of the U.S. in the region. While the schedule will be packed with briefings and meetings with officials the students will also have free time to visit historic and other cultural sites in both Greece and Cyprus.

In both Greece and Cyprus there will be meetings/briefings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament, Think-Tanks, and other Academia, private sector, etc. In addition, the students will be briefed at both U.S. Embassies.

Leading the group to Greece and Cyprus, AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis said, “We are extremely pleased that we were able to initiate this program this year. The response was better than expected and we are pleased to have been able to select such an exceptional group of students. They display a strong desire to learn about foreign policy issues that are important to the Greek American community. The AHIF strives to promote a better understanding of our issues and to strengthen U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus. By launching this new program we are hopeful that it will help to facilitate a better understanding of these issues to future Greek American leaders.”


For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at