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AHI-Athens Fifth Annual Awards Dinner Honors Joanna Despotopoulou and Lavrentis Lavrentiadis
July 21, 2009—No. 54 (202) 785-8430

AHI-Athens Fifth Annual Awards Dinner Honors Joanna Despotopoulou and Lavrentis Lavrentiadis


On June 17, 2009, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) celebrated its Fifth Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards Dinnerat the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens, Greece. The event, which was a major highlight of AHI’s annual delegation trip to Greece and Cyprus, honored Joanna Despotopoulou, President of the Organizing Committee Special Olympics World Summer Games “Athens 2011”, and Dr. Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, President of the Lavrentiadis Group of Companies. Click here to view the bios (118 KB PDF file).

Despotopoulou received the AHI National Public Service Award For her outstanding philanthropic achievements, dedication to volunteerism, and promotion of Hellenic culture. Lavrentiadis received the AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award for his outstanding business achievements and promotion of Hellenic culture.

“The AHI-Athens awards dinner has become an important highlight of our annual delegation trip to Greece. Not only does it recognize the achievements of Hellenes and philhellenes in the very birthplace of Hellenism, but it reinforces AHI’s mission and initiatives on a global scale,” said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.

The gala dinner, which was held in cooperation with the AHI-Athens Chapter, began with welcome remarks from Ilias Malevitis, president of AHI-Greece, and George C. Economou, president of the AHI-Athens Chapter. Greetings were also delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Kassimis, Ambassador of the United States to Greece Daniel V. Speckhard, Coordinator and Alternate President of SAE (World Council of Hellenes Abroad) Theodore Spyropoulos, and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. Awards were presented by AHI President Aleco Haralambides.

Olga Bornozi, vice president of Capital Link Greece, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening. The evening concluded with a musical interlude performed by Katerina Koumbis.

In their remarks, both honorees thanked AHI for the honor of receiving their respective awards, and for the organization’s tireless commitment to enhancing U.S.-Greece relations.

The dinner was attended by close to 300 attendees representing all segments of Greek society, including numerous members of Hellenic Parliament. Mr. and Mrs. Ted G. Spyropoulos were this year’s principal dinner benefactors. Additional event sponsors were:

President’s Circle:

  • Drexel University LeBow College of Business, George P. Tsetsekos, Dean (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Spin Communications (Athens, Bucharest, Nicosia)

Chairman’s Circle:

  • Gene Rossides (Washington, D.C.)
  • Kapotas S.A.


  • Andreas Potamianos (Piraeus, Greece)
  • Aris Drivas Yachting (Athens, Greece)
  • Athanasios Sipsas (Athens, Greece)
  • Capital Link (New York, London, Athens)
  • G.C. Economou & Associates (Athens, Greece)
  • Jim and Ted Pedas (Washington, D.C.)
  • La Mer Beachfront Inn, (Cape May, New Jersey)


  • Aleco Haralambides (Miami, Florida)
  • American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (Athens, Greece)
  • Capital Hilton Hotel (Washington, D.C.)
  • EasyCruise (Athens, Greece)
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne (Athens, Greece)
  • Lagos & Lagos, PLL (Springfield, Ohio)
  • Motor Oil (Hellas) Corinth Refineries S.A.

Photographs from the Fifth Annual AHI-Athens Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Awards Dinner are posted on AHI’s Web site at

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


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