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THI’s 10th Annual Gala in New York City raises over 2 million for Support to Greece

THI 2022The Hellenic Initiative welcomed over 800 guests at their 10th Annual sold-out Gala, which took place at the iconic venue of Cipriani Wall Street on December 3rd, 2022. The evening drew dignitaries, prominent Greek Americans, and Philhellenes to support the not-for-profit organization offering donations to Greece through various initiatives. The President, George Stamas, and Chairman, Andrew Liveris, spoke to the guests about the Greeks helping Greece, and The Hellenic Initiative’s past decade of service and milestones reached by the philanthropic organization with the slogan “Olli Mazi”. They also featured the Plant a Tree in Greece” campaign to help restore and reforest the areas ravaged by the wildfires in 2021.

The Hellenic Initiative honored Dr. Albert Bourla, CEO and Chairman of Pfizer, for overseeing the development of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines. Master of Ceremonies 20th Century Fox’s CEO Jim Gianopoulos, spoke about the resilience of Greece and the Greeks. The famous Greek singer, Ellie Kokkinou, performed her top hits and had all guests dancing all night. THI raised over 2.5 million and will deploy the funds to Greek humanitarian programs to promote and support Greek economic and entrepreneurial development.

The Hellenic Initiative’s Venture Fair initiative is in its third year and gives the opportunity for Greeks startups to pitch their proof of concept to a variety of international investors that the organization draws in to promote investing in Greece. The organization also supports regenerate Greece and Odyssey, job seekers.

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Greece is a favored destination for weddings

New Greek Television Article

Greece is one of the top 10 destinations favored for weddings, with Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini as the most chosen picks. Known for breathtaking sunsets, crystal clear blue sea, natural beauty, amazing food and climate, Greece is a top pick for couples to gather their families and friends to share their special day. This has also become a great event business for new-generation Greeks, who help couples have a magical day.

 “Greece is a paradise for me” states Greek citizen, and entrepreneur, George Karantzos, who has returned to Greece after studying and living in New York, to start his event business. New Greek TV caught up with him to tell us why tourists are choosing Greece to have their wedding.

NG: In your opinion why are people choosing Greece to have their wedding?

GK: People are choosing Greece to have their wedding because the dollar and euro are closer in value now than ever before. It makes more economic sense to have a destination wedding in a country that has great food and one-of-a-kind hospitality at a price that would be comparable to the USA.katrantzos gotw

NG: Why is the event space booming in Greece?

GK: The policy of awarding a golden visa is making foreigners consider investing in Greece, and the Athens Riviera is becoming a hot spot. The government also implemented many incentives and aids to help people start a business.

NG:Tell us about your new venture in Greece?

GK: During my time in New York I opened a New York based event business. I specialize in organizing Corporate and fundraising events, and for many non-profits.  I also love weddings and believe what’s better than having your dream wedding in the most enchanting country in the world- with world class beaches, jaw-dropping seaside views and the best food! GREECE

NG: How do you see Greece in the next decade?

GK: Greece is becoming international, and these new government incentives and policies are bringing a cosmopolitan crowd and atmosphere to Athens.

NG: Having lived and worked in two countries, where do you prefer life and why?

GK: When I am in one place for too long, I get restless. Ideally, I would love to live in both countries. I don’t see myself living in just one place for too long. I have the desire to be in the middle of all the action. I want to go where the opportunities and the events take me.

NG: What advice do you want to offer to your peers?

GK: “Change is scary, and the unknown can be frightening. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Live your life for yourself! “

NG: You are part of the new generation of Greeks that left Greece in search of education and work in the US, why did you decide to return back home?

GK: I believe there is a new wave back to Greece. I believe there are new opportunities on the horizon, events are back and stronger than ever, real estate markets are climbing, and business is becoming easier to conduct.

Pictures Courtesy of George Katranzos

The New York Greek Film Expo 2021 opens October 1st

By Thalia Vrettos

The Hellenic Film Society USA, presents The NY Film Expo which opens Friday, October 1st at the Director’s Guild Theater on West 57 Street with the movie screening of the critically acclaimed film, Tailor. The Greek film screenings will be held in theaters in Manhattan and at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, October 1-10. Selections include eight feature-length films and five film shorts, including award presentations and US premiers.

We met with James DeMetro who is the founding Director of the New York City Greek Film Expo and President of the Hellenic Film Society USA.



Interview by: Yanna Darilis

Greek of the Week: President of ACS: Dr.Peggy Pelonis  Ed.D, MS, MBA, LFT 

Dr.Pelonis, the American Communities Schools of Athens is an International American High School, K-12 , located in Chalandri Athens, Greece; can you please tell us a little more about what makes ACS different, what is the philosophy of the school, and give us some brief information about the staff:

ACS Athens is an international school with 65 different nationalities.  However, our educational philosophy is based on American principles and values, mainly this means that we believe that all students can learn and thrive. We also believe in providing students with choices within their educational curriculum so, our students receive an American Diploma but also have the choice to receive a second diploma; the International Baccalaureate.  They can also take Advanced Placement courses as well as additional courses to receive a Greek equivalency diploma.  Our faculty are mostly American trained and the language of instruction is English. Our students pride themselves for being able to feel at home anywhere in the world after attending ACS Athens because they have access to young people from so many different nationalities, mindsets beliefs and they come together under one roof here at ACS Athens and develop lifelong relationships.

Dr.Pelonis, ACS has been recognized as a leader in digital schooling, that has been ahead of the curve during the global pandemic. Can you enlighten us about what steps and decisions you took in order to adopt to this crisis, so that your students would not skip a beat in their studies? 

At ACS Athens we believe in 'reflective practitioners'.  This means that our faculty are continuously studying 'best practice' approaches to teaching and remain at the forefront of innovation and educational developments.  Therefore, knowing that technology is becoming a big part of education and will continue as such in the near future, we had been preparing via the I2Flex model.  This model aims to train young people in the development of 21st century skills; technological know-how, communication skills, problem solving, collaborating, innovation.  I2flex means- independent, inquiry based, flexible learning.  We had been training our teachers to develop courses on line on an educational platform called Moodle.  Likewise our students were familiar with online practice.  Thus, when the pandemic hit, we were able to transition on to online teaching-learning literally in one night.

These are challenging times for everyone, how are your student’s responding to the crisis and this new way of learning? 

Like all students, they believe, there is no real replacement for face to face teaching/learning.  However, they have adjusted very well and are working hard to cover the curriculum while working on asynchronous projects and even participating is community service.  I would say, that these students are exhibiting great resiliency and I am proud to watch how well they have adjusted.

In your professional opinion, is the cure of shut downs worse than the illness/virus?

Shut down seems to be a reactive antidote not necessarily a cure to the virus.  This is so because we are living unprecedented times and no one really seems to know what to do.  We are witnessing varied views of leadership at a time when we need to be united.  This indicates that no one is really sure what will work so leaders are prescribing what they believe to be the best case scenario. Nonetheless it all comes at a cost; psychological cost that will eventually manifest as the lockdown continues.  I believe we will witness significant post-traumatic stress when life resumes some form of normality. 

ACS offers many innovative programs that prepares students for the world on the level of awareness and even inspires initiatives after graduating high school. Can you share some information about your programs and what the purpose was when designing them?

Because technology, Artificial intelligence, robotics are all moving at light speed and we are witnessing rapid, continuous change on multiple levels, it is easy to get lost within this frenzy of development and innovation.  Young people are often questioning many traditional mindsets that provided purpose for past generations.  Today, there are invisible and visible enemies everywhere;  threats to safety and wellbeing and success does not necessarily mean happiness.  It is important to provide a platform in schools where students can be guided to self-reflect and connect to a higher purpose;  We use the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations as a way to help students understand that through their actions and ways of being in the world they can either contribute to a better world, contribute to a worse world or remain neutral and not contribute.  When children learn to self-reflect on their actions and ways of being in the world, their actions become more intentional rather than based on habit and therefore unconscious.  In this sense developing conscious citizens who will be ethical decision makers and critical thinkers who consider the good of the whole and thus  contribute to better living and better life on the planet is just as important as developing knowledgeable, skillful individuals

How do you see the trend moving for the education sector? What are the exciting things to look forward to and what may be pitfalls for the new generation?

The virtual teaching environment will continue to develop and will remain part of teaching and learning to some degree.  While this will continue to connect people from all over the world and provide access to information as never before, human relationships will be challenged.  It is so much easier these days for young people to exchange messages via social media platforms rather than struggle through the discomfort and awkwardness of getting to know one another and getting past differences.  This trend towards seemingly social relationships will contribute further to isolation and loneliness because as we know we are social beings and we need to interact with others. 

At the helm of ACS as the new President, what are some of your future plans for the school?

Our virtual environment is growing and we have been developing courses beyond the ACS Athens curriculum that will be available to students across the globe.  These include virtual classes for Greek language, Greek culture and Greek mythology.  Furthermore, via numerous partnerships with higher educational institutions in the USA and Europe we engage in continuous conversations and programs aimed at bridging the gap between the K-12 institutions such as ours and the higher educational environments. Our faculty engage in continuous research that result in professional publications  and many hold higher level degrees including numerous Ph.D's.  Therefore, informing the world of education is no longer a privilege held by higher education institution faculty, our K-12 faculty have been contributing to the field of education for a number of years and we will continue to do so because we believe we have  much to say.


ACS Athens- Greece

129 Aghias Paraskevis Street & Kazantzaki, 15234 Halandri, Greece

Tel: +30 210 6070263