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AHIF’s Foreign Policy Students Embark for Greece, Cyprus

The American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) College Student Foreign Policy Trip to Greece and Cyprus begins its seventh year as students from across the United States gathered for briefings in Washington before departing for Cyprus on June 19, 2015. The two-week program concludes July 3, 2015, when the students return from Athens.

“The AHI Foundation continues to be proud to offer this invaluable opportunity to our youth,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “The 2015 program promises to be fruitful for our students as they are eager to learn about the foreign policy issues that are important to the Greek American community and United States interests in the eastern Mediterranean. They will be immersed from the get-go, starting with briefings in Washington to high-level meetings with government officials abroad. 

On June 17, the students assembled at AHI’s Hellenic House in Washington for a briefing by AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas. In the afternoon they learned about the latest developments on Capitol Hill pertaining to Greek American issues from the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). They also were briefed by Eleftheria Aristotelous, congressional liaison, Embassy of Cyprus and toured the Smithsonian’s Air and Space museum.

A full day of briefings from top legislators and diplomats were held June 18. In the morning, Amy Dove, Cyprus desk officer, Nicole Lima Nucelli, Greek desk officer, and Phil Kosnett, director, Office of Southern European Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, all briefed the students. They also met with Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos, ambassador of Greece to the United States; and First Counsellors Nicolaos Krikos and Antonis Papakostas for a briefing at the Embassy of Greece. In the afternoon, Ambassador Patrick Theros provided a presentation to the students. Lastly, they attended a discussion on the relationship between Greece, Cyprus and Israel with Rebecca Levin, senior associate, Political Outreach, AJC; and Dan Mariaschin, executive vice president, B’nai B’rith International.

During the two-week program, the students will receive first-hand experience about the foreign policy issues affecting Greece and Cyprus, their relations with the U.S., and the interests of the U.S. in the region. There will be meetings or briefings with American embassies, officials from various ministries, including Foreign Affairs; parliament members, religious leaders, think-tank organizations, and members of academia and the private sector of both countries. In Cyprus, the group will visit the Turkish-occupied area.