Philadelphia, Saturday, November 29 2014,
Hellenic American National Council: The missing link of Omogenia
By Paul Kotrotsios, President of HANC
The HANC is going through a transitional period of restructuring in order to adapt to our times and to the needs the modern Omogenia.
The relevant decision was unanimously accepted by all delegates of the Federation-members of HANC during its meeting on November 16th 2014 in “Minoan Palace” in Astoria, New York. This historic institution of Omogenia was founded in 1992 with the purpose of bringing together and coordinating all Omogenia’s forces into collective action on issues of greek interest.
The meeting took place in an emotionally charged atmosphere as it followed the memorial service for T. G. Spyropoulos. The memorial was organized along with the Hellenic-American Educators Federation and the World Council Of Cretans in the Church of St. Irene in Astoria officiated by the abbot of Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Monastery, Archimandrite Ierotheos Zacharis. Theodoros Kalmoukos, a colleague with the “National Herald”, delivered the main speech on Hellenism’s great benefactor, his multifaceted action and his contribution. He mentioned: “Theodoros Spyropoulos is truly irreplaceable and this is the reason why he is not really gone: he was a doer of good deeds for Hellenism and creators never die, they live on forever”.
All delegates made a promise, in the memory of T. Spyropoulos, to work responsibly for the enforcement of the institution and the rejuvenation of our common vision. The meeting was opened by Mr. M. Velisakis, former president of HANC and current president of the World Council of Cretans. Mr. Velisakis spoke with kind words about the recently departed T.G. Spyropulos and stated that the example he set should unite us during these challenging times for Hellenism. He mentioned that “The HANC undoubtedly needs renewal and modernization regarding its structure, composition and vision. These times demand the common understanding, cooperation and synergy of all Omogenia’s forces; and order to achieve synergy we must let go of our ego and bring forward “us as a whole”, promoting the collective interest over our personal one”.
Mr. Paul Kotrotsios, president of HANC noted, during his speech: “At the time when the Hellenic American National Council was founded it was considered Omogenia’s missing link. And, truly, its establishment and activities helped unite and promote Hellenism’s forces throughout America by playing an important role with regards to our national issues and our cooperation with AHI-PAC”. He added that “during recent years, HANC hasn’t produced coherent actions and there are many reasons for that. Starting by practicing some self-criticism, I must say that I didn’t succeed in creating sufficient interest for action among our members. I think you understand exactly what I’m saying because you, as Federarions’ leaders, yourselves are facing the exact same problem with your Association-members. And our Associations are having the same problem with their own members. Their number is shrinking at alarming rate. We, the immigrants, are getting older. The majority of the younger generations, those born here, are not part of the organized Omogenia. Today, HANC is, once more, the missing link of Omogenia; and, once again, Hellenism if facing great challenges in a quite difficult geopolitical and financial environment worldwide. It is of paramount importance that we harness our powers into collective action for the good of our community and our homeland as well as of Cyprus and the U.S.A. I fully intent to deliver to the next administration a Hellenic American National Council that will be able to play an essential role for Hellenism, Greece, Cyprus and America”.
HANC’s next General Assembly will take place in June 2015, when elections for its new president are also scheduled. Furthermore, any amendments to its Statute, as a result of its member’s suggestions, will also be validated. The members of the Committee responsible for gathering and processing those suggestions are former HANC presidents, its Legal Advisors, delegates of its Federation-members, prominent people in Omogenia, technocrats and representatives of younger generations.
Furthermore, it was also decided that the provision of a ten-member Board of Trustees should be applied, responsible for the Statute’s application that will also monitor the HANC’s smooth operation and make suggestions and recommendations to the HANC’s presidency. The Board of Trustees members will be highly esteemed people of Omogenia. Moreover, an earlier decision of accepting Natural and Legal Person into the Hellenic American National Council will also be implemented. Akis Bayz, Legal Advisor to HANC, with his letter, clarified that at first only Federation-members of HANC will reserve the right to vote and to stand as candidates. In the future, all natural and legal persons, members of HANC, can exercise this right.
Mr. Paul Kotrotsios, president of HANC, explained during the meeting that a “Natural Person” is a person of greek origin, residing in the U.S, while a “Legal Person” includes all collective institutions of Hellenism as long as their statutes do not contradict the purpose of the HANC. He also mentioned that an electronic record of its members will be kept. Additionally, one of HANC’s innovations will be the formation of Coordination Committees, based on geographical criteria, responsible for the coordination of actions and projects on a peripheral level. HANC’s aim is to make full use of new technologies so that all interested fellow Greeks will be able to observe and participate in our meetings online.
HANC’s main course of action is to support and promote greek education, to create programs and projects that provide support to our Youths and for all National issues, as the president of HANC, Mr. Kotrotsios repeatedly highlights: “In order for our actions in promoting the Greek agenda on national issues to be effective we must make an effort to register all expatriates in the electoral rolls. Our voting power as American citizens is Hellenism’s great trump card that we haven’t up to this day, unfortunately, used in our advantage”.
Dr. Ioannis Nathenas, founder of HANC, gave a detailed presentation of HANC’s structure and course of action. He became misty-eyed as he spoke of the late Theodoros Spyropoulos. Mr. Ilias Tomazos, president of Hellenic Society Paideia announced the establishment of an annual scholarship of $1500 in the memory of our late Omogenia’s leader. Mrs Stella Kokoli, President of the Hellenic-American Educators Federation also announced the establishment of an annual symposium and an excellence scholarship dedicated to the life and works of T. Spyropoulos. Theodoros Tsafatinos -representative of the Pan-Laconian Federation of US and Canada- who has helped create numerous “charter schools” in Florida, also made a promise to support Omogenia’s relevant initiatives in promoting the successful foundation of these schools.
Also present at the events were: the President of the National Hellenic Student Association of America (NHSA), Kostas Ouranitsas; the President of the Pan Macedonian Association U.S.A., Dimitris Chatzis; Theodoros Pavlakos, member of the Pan-Laconian Federation; the President of the Federation of Hellenic-American Organizations Illinois “Enosis” and the Council of Hellenes Abroad, Vasilios Mataragas; Stelios Manis, president of the U. S. Hellenic Hunting and Shooting Association; the president of the Pan Corinthian Federation Worldwide, Panagiotis Doukas; Nikos Bardis, president of the Ionian Cultural Federation; AHEPA’s Supreme Governor for Region III, Filippos Vogiatzoglou; Petros Galatoulas, president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York; lawyer Dimitiros Nasis and HANC’s Secretary General, Anna Philiotis. The meeting continued in the Stathakion Cultural Center of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.
The President of the Global Medical Society, Dr. Spiros Mezitis, the Legal Advisor of HANC, Aki Bayz and Dr. John Grossomanidis, resident representative of AHEPA, have also sent their messages and suggestions.