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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Global Greek of the Year: THE NOMINEES

The idea for a Global Greek of the Year Poll is one that came to me as I was sharing a post on our Facebook page about Greece's Protest Dog, Loukanikos, also known as Riot-Dog, who was one of TIME Magazine's Person of the Year:The Protester

I mentioned it, our readers liked the idea and here we are a few weeks later with a list of names that is very interesting indeed. Not exactly the Greek Oscars right now as it is the first one ever and we're playing it a little by ear, but, we'll learn from this one so that next year's will be better and brighter!

All the nominees were proposed and voted on by readers. The names below were transferred to this list in the order in which they finalised in the nomination vote which ended on January 3, 2011.  For those that don't have any information by their names, it is because no information is available on them and we did not get a response from the people who nominated them...

So here they are! Once you've decided who YOUR choice is for Global Greek of the Year, please go to the sidebar and vote...

Mario Frangoulis

Zimbabwe/Greece - Performer

Mario probably needs little introduction to most of us. Born in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) but raised and educated in Greece, Mario has made an international career of the thing he likes doing most... singing!

He discovered his talent for singing while a student at Athens' Campion School,where he first started singing in choirs at eight, going on to take on his first ever Lloyd-Webber role as Issachar in Joseph and the amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the age of 11. Years later, in 1991 and after extensive theatrical and musical training abroad, the prestigious Maria Callas Scholarship under his belt, and a stint in Les Miserables, Mario would be asked by Lloyd-Webber himself to play the role of Raoul in the Phantom of the Opera in London...

From that point on Mario's multi-faceted musical career literally took off! Mario's talent is such that he can sing almost everything (from opera to folk), with everyone, (from Pavarotti to Westinra), everywhere, (from La Scala to Iera Odos), his vast popularity ensuring that most of his performances are sold out well in advance!  

Generous and giving, and a person whose fame has not spoilt the warm and sincere person at the heart of the singer, Mario's philanthropic work is far reaching, especially where children's causes are concerned. His appearances for charity and the concerts he has given in every corner of the world to help promote a worthy cause are too numerous to mention and are always highly successful, wherever they are held.

His love for Greece is such that  he doesn't fail to stand up and be counted at Greece's side, whenever he is needed. Present for the Final Torch Ceremony of the Olympic Games and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics in 2004, Mario was also present at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics in 2011, a very noble cause at a very difficult moment for Greece...




Peter Economides


 South Africa/Greece - Brand Strategist

The battering Greece has received on every level on the world stage has got many of us thinking about what is needed to get our country back on the rails.

As a successful brand strategist with a global perspective Peter is one of those who is giving it more than just thought. As a creator, he put words and images to our thoughts  ...


We got to know Peter in November of 2011, shortly after his rousing, inspiring and inspired  'Rebranding Greece' presentation. His work impressed us greatly, it was just the tonic of hope and positive thinking that we neeed and we were one of the first to feature the presentation on one of our posts about Peter and his vision for Greece!  It didn't take long for Greeks all over the world to acknowledge that what Peter was saying was right... the image of Greece needed to get a facelift, it needed to change... Peter's presentation went viral!

Peter has lived on four continents doing work that has impacted brands and consumers almost everywhere. He has learned from the leaders of some of the world’s best brands, including Apple's famous rebranding project, which started with an email he sent Steve Jobs after a meeting. 'The world needs Apple' is all it said... the rest is history!

Owner and founder of Felix BNI based in Athens, Peter is a former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Director of Client Services at global advertising agency McCann Erickson Worldwide and Head of Global Clients at TBWA\Worldwide.

Born in South Africa, his tremendous journey through the world of advertising and marketing which started in his homeland,  took him via Hong Kong, Greece and Mexico to New York, and then back to Athens.

Peter is passionate about what he would like for Greece: he wants to reposition Greece as the Apple of the Mediterranean. An ambitious project which most of us would love to see come to fruition. It means of course that we all need to get to work again to fix what's wrong, for the good of Greece and the future generations...
Mikis Theodorakis
Greece - Composer

What can we say about Greece's national composer, reknowned songwriter and composer, Mikis Theodorakis, that hasn't already been said 1000 times at least? This amazingly creative and inspiring man is a living legend and part of the history of Modern Greece. With his incredible music he has left an indelible mark on Greece and her people.

A highly political persona who became a legend for his efforts and resistance during the Second World War and his fight for democracy during the civil war and the 7 year military dictatorship, for which he was rewarded with many periods in exile, Mikis continues to this day to exert influence in the political arena, even making plans for his own political movement in the next elections.

Present at the Athens premiere of a documentary on his life  Mikis Theodorakis, The Man, the Genius, the Legend by Greek Australian Eleni Evangel, in Athens in April 2010, Mikis took the microphone to talk to us about his life but also to denounce the calling in of the IMF/EU/ECB Troika assistance saying that Greece should have maintained its dignity and taken all the measures necessary by itself. 

Miki is above all a creator of beautiful music with thousands of melodies in his 'library'. With more than a thousand songs and song-cycles to his credit, Mikis melodies have become part of the heritage of Greek music. He was one of the first to put Greek poetry to music including the works of Nobel Prize winners Odysseus Elytis and George Seferis, thus bringing poetry to the people as he often says. His repertoire includes Symphonic works, chamber music, cantatas and oratorios, hymns, ballets, operas, music for theatrical productions, classical tragedies, modern plays and many popular film scores, including the much acclaimed Zorba the Greek, Z, Phaedra and Serpico

Still charismatic and a visionary at the age of 86, we'd like to share with you a statement Greece's great composer made recently. His thoughts on how he sees Greece in the world today. Mikis vision for Greece is as a Switzerland of Culture and Peace, a cultural oasis for Europe...Food for thought indeed...

«Στο σηµείο αυτό θα ήθελα να σας µιλήσω για κάτι που πιστεύω ότι θα έλυνε το πρόβληµα της εθνικής µας ασφάλειας µια για πάντα: την Ιδέα της Ουδετερότητας. Με άλλα λόγια, να γίνει η Ελλάδα η Ελβετία του Πολιτισµού και της Ειρήνης. Με όπλα µας την ιστορία µας, τη συνεισφορά µας στον πολιτισµό και την πρόσφατη συµµετοχή µας στη συντριβή του φασισµού, είναι δυνατόν να κάνουµε το µεγάλο αυτό όραµα πραγµατικότητα. Με την προϋπόθεση βέβαια ότι όλοι οι Ελληνες µέσα και έξω από τη χώρα θα προσπαθήσουµε να πείσουµε τον ΟΗΕ (και φυσικά τις µεγάλες δυνάµεις) ότι η ύπαρξή µας ως τόπου συνάντησης των πολιτισµών και τόπου επίλυσης διαφορών κάτω από τη σκιά των ∆ελφών, της Ολυµπίας και της Ακρόπολης θα είναι και γι' αυτούς ωφέλιµη».


"At this point I would like to talk to you about something which I think would solve our national Security problem once and for all: the concept of Neutrality. In other word, Greece should become Switzerland, the Switzerland of Culture and Peace. With weapons such as ours, our history, our contribution to civilisation and our more recent involvement in  crushing fascism, it is indeed possible to turn this great vision into reality.  With the proviso of course, that all Greeks both inside and outside the country, will try to persuade the United Nations (and of course the great powers) that our existence as a meeting point of cultures and a place where disputes will be solved, in the shadow of Delphi, Olympia and the Acropolis, will also be beneficial to them"


Steve Agi

Australia - Publisher

Steve is a Greek-Australian from Australia's largest Greek city...Melbourne and although heavily involved in Australia's coffee industry is now committed to promoting and informing the world about all things Greek! 

His latest publishing venture, OPA! Magazine, celebrating the Greek-Australian way of life both nationally and abroad, was recently awarded the Victorian award for Excellence in MEDIA by the Victorian Government after just 9 months of distribution! 

Such forward and innovative thinking has opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunity to work with Greece and Hellenes abroad and a whole new world of excitement and passion for this born-again Greek with a strong passion for multiculturalism and Melbourne’s strong focus on it.

"It certainly is an exciting time for Hellenism internationally amongst all of the doom and gloom in Greece with the magazine re-igniting a passion and interest in all things Greek.” OPA! is the voice of a new generation. It is born out of a deep passion and love of a race that is dear to my heart – out of a deep respect for a culture that I personally, but that we all, owe so much to and to a way of life that is both inspirational and aspirational,” explains Steve

 With mainstream international heavyweights ranging from Alex Perry, George Calombaris & Kalomira gracing the front cover of the monthly publication, OPA! is the only Australian cultural magazine published in English to capture a broader and younger audience.
 
 OPA! informs, educates and celebrates just what it means to be Greek- the lifestyle, the culture, the history, the food, the people, the places. A patron of the arts, OPA! is a proud sponsor of the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne. Founded in 2007 by Spiros Stamoulis, the Hellenic Museum aims to provide Greek Australians and the wider community, with programs that promote understanding and appreciation for the rich and cultural traditions of ancient and contemporary Greece

EMIRATES Airlines internationally are now including OPA! as part of their preferred reading list in all their VIP lounges.
 
2012 will see continued growth for OPA! with plans to launch a free Greek insert as part of the OPA! brand, to cater for older Greeks and non-English speaking audiences, international versions of the magazine to cater for a growing demand across the globe as well as a focus on OPA! LIVE events that will showcase and celebrate Greek achievements and celebrities to Greeks but also Philhellenes alike.

Loukanikos - Athens Riot Dog


Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece
Athens' Loukanikos, a protester with a difference, is a feature of all the demonstrations and protests which take place in the centre of Athens, and there have been plenty in the last 24 months. During 2010 and 2011 Loukanikos was present at all the protests and gained widespread fame via the media's focus on Greece, and gaining TIME's Person of the Year status in 2011! 
TIME's photogallery of Loukanikos
Irene Papas


Greece - Actress
Irene Papas is one of our Global Greeks with instant recognition status, like Mikis Theodorakis, Nana Mouskouri, Manos Hatzidakis, Melina Mercouri...

My introduction to Irene Papas came in a movie theatre on the other side of the world, when as a young child watching the star-studded Guns of Navarone,  I was fascinated by her talent and beauty... I have been a fan ever since.

Her superb acting skills along with her classical and ageless Greek beauty and the fiery passion she brought to her roles, ensured that  extra something in many films which themselves have become classics. One of Greece's most accomplished ambassadors,  Irene Papas presence in a film has always added an extra special dimension to it.

Her compelling and riveting performance, her dynamism and sultry beauty have uniquely enriched movies like  Zorba the Greek, The Guns of Navarone, Z,  screen adaptations of ancient tragedies - Electra, The Trojan Women, Antigone, and even Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Her theatrical performances are equally legendary and an honour and a privilege to watch, while her musical efforts have met with resounding success!

An unexpected but wonderful musical collaboration with fellow Global Greek, Vangelis Papathanassiou, produced some magnificent albums, Odes  and Rhapsodies, the first featuring traditional folk songs and music,  and the second, Greek Orthodox Byzantine Hymns as well as the controversial 666.

Irene Papas has won many awards for her performances over the years, but even though she has deserved one at least, she has never received an Academy Award.

This is something which we believe is an injustice, but she has made light of this omission by quipping ' I never won an Oscar... and the Oscars never won Irene Papas' . 

Arianna Huffington Stassinopoulos
 USA - Publisher

2011 was a great year for Arianna Huffington!

She was named as one of TIME's 100 Most Influential for 2011, an honour she was given once before in 2006,  and sold her Huffington Post to AOL for a record $315 million!

Arianna launched Huffington Post in 2005 as a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet.

Born Arianna Stassinopoulou in Athens, Greece, Arianna moved to Cambridge, England to study Economics at the age of 16. A gifted debater, Arianna became President of the Cambridge Union, no mean achievement for a person who didn't speak English as a native language at the time.
Ambitious and gifted, Arianna's talent as a writer didn't take long to surface. Although she began writing books in the 1970's it wasn't until 1981, when she wrote a biography of Maria Callas, Maria Callas - The Woman Behind the Legend, a fascinating look at Greece's most famous Diva, that her career as an author took off. She later wrote a second biography, this time on painter Pablo Picasso, Picasso: Creator and Destroyer. Both books were considered controversial by some, but it didn't lessen Arianna's success.

Arianna moved to the USA in 1980 and in 1986 married Michael Huffington, a Republican who narrowly lost a seat in the US House of representatives in 1992, despite Arianna's exhausting campaigning and support. The marriage did not last long but the result, their two beautiful daughters are Arianna's pride and joy. Truly charismatic, a smart and intelligent woman, Arianna quickly became a household name.

Following her divorce, and the gradual change in her political views, in 2003 Arianna unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for Governor of California against Arnold Schwarznegger. 
   
In 2005 she launched the Huffington Post which became a point of reference for all online media and a highly profitable operation.

Leaping from one success to another, Arianna hasn't looked back and credits part of her success with the Huffington Post to her mother's pivotal influence in her life...
'I get my knack for relationships from my mother. She was incapable of having an impersonal relationship with anybody. The delivery man would arrive at the house, and she'd say, "Sit down; have something to eat." As a result, I find it very easy to connect with people. And that's part of the Huffington Post. I'm bringing in voices -- some well known, some not -- and providing a platform....' from her interview in How I Did It...

In 2011 after selling the Huffington Post to AOL, Arianna stayed on as 
President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. In 2011 she also launched the UK version, and just yesterday the French version, Le HuffPost.

We look forward to the Greek version, in the very near future...

PS We loved your idea of moving Davos to Greece! Behind you all the way!


Theodora Alessandra Mellinis
United Kingdom - Budding Entrepreneur

Theodora Alessandra Mellinis (a Psychotherapy graduate) comes from hardworking Greek immigrant parents, who immigrated to South Africa from Rhodos, Greece and created a life for themselves.


Having lived in Greece, Africa and England all before the age of Nineteen, Theodora describes herself as 'A citizen of the world' who is "addicted to ideas, and my therapy is the ability to express them” as she says.


At age 19, along with her family ,Theodora immigrated to London, England where she initially found the new country to be very challenging. After working for two British medical firms and obtaining valuable experience, at age 24 ,Theodora decided to open her own Medical recruitment company called WRIGHT PLACEMENTS, where her clients are some of the top private healthcare companies in the UK. She has had the opportunity to place all calibres of medical staff internationally, including Greek medical staff.
She is about to launch a Computer and Technology division of her company called WRIGHT IT JOBS which will be launching at the end of January.

Now at age 26, this budding entrepreneur hopes to expand her businesses beyond the British and European borders, to reach the US.


Theodora enjoys writing and producing music and is honoured to be a suggested candidate, even though she is still at the beginning of her journey and is still learning the ins and outs of life and business... 


Lakis Lazopoulos 

Greece - Actor/Writer/Satirist
Lakis Lazopoulos is one of Greece's multi-talented performers. Actor, writer, singer and satirist, all in one, Lakis has become immensely popular over the last 20 years in Greece as he attempts to showcase the many and varied personas of modern of Greek society with humour, following the lead of Greece's classic Aristophanes.

Lakis' 10 Mikroi Mitsoi (Ten Little Mitsoi) personifying 10 of the kind of Greek people we meet in society, were very popular in the 1990s and remain popular to this day as he 'invites' them often to his weekly one man stand up comedy show Al Tsantiri News on Greece's Alpha TV. He even managed to take his popular Al Tsantiri character to Athens' Olympic Stadium in 2004 for the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games. 


Laki's speciality of course was the politico-satirical revue in which he excels, his sharp wit often cutting politicians to the quick, but he is also an accomplished actor and writer, who has taken part in many theatrical and stage productions as well as major films both locally and internationally.  His latest appearance in the film biography of El Greco by Yiannis Smaragdis was very well received as were his other film appearances in Beware of Greeks with John Tatoulis , My Best Friend and Smaragdis' Cavafy, about the life of Greece's famous Cavafy.  He achieved every actor's life ambition to play in the ancient theatre of  Epidaurus and he did it twice, once as Lysistrata in the classic comedy of the same name, and the second in Ploutos (Wealth).

Compassionate and caring, Laki keeps a low profile off screen and spends much of his time helping out with causes dear to his heart.




Aganaktismenoi  Plateias Syntagmatos
Indignados of Syntagma Square
 
 
Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece
In Greece this summer the people's movement 'Aganaktismenoi (Indignados) Plateias Syntagmatos' was very much a part of life in Athens Centre. At first hundreds then thousands flocked to Occypy Syntagma Square, generally in peaceful protest at the unilateral austerity measures being imposed on the people of Greece, whilst the privileges of the ruling 'elite' appeared to be untouched.
People from all walks of life,wanting to register their voice at the injustices being wreaked by the blanket austerity being imposed upon them and seeing that their very livelihood was being threatened came down daily to Syntagma Square in front of Parliament, families with children, newly unemployed, employees from the public and private sector, from the professions This picture we posted went viral with 2647 likes and 1264 shares!!! It is an aerial view of Syntagma Square on the 19th October 2010, a screen shot from Skai TV's broadcast on that day's events.


Every Honest Greek Citizen - Greece

'They're freezing WAGES! Why aren't they freezing PRICES?' 

The Honest Greek Citizen as portrayed by Cartoonist Kostas Mitropoulos
in most of the cartoons he pens for Greece's Ta Nea daily newspaper

Right behind the Aganaktismenoi of Syntagma Square is the Honest Greek Citizen.
The one who pays his taxes and his dues on time, the one who wants to see progress in Greece and who expects to have the roads, hospitals and public services that he pays for without having to bribe, the one who hasn't lied about having 2000 olive trees in order to get the olive oil subsidies, who hasn't declared he is disabled in order to get the benefit, who hasn't got a non-existent 105 year old father in order to keep getting the former's pension, the one who wears his safety belt, the one who wears his bike's helmet, the one who drives with consideration for others, the one who doesn't park in the special carpark reserved for handicapped drivers, the one who waits patiently in the queue, the one who doesn't call his MP to get his son to serve in the army at the MP's officethe one who pays his parking fines, the one who gives a receipt for the services he provides or products he sells.

This is the one who is continually being called upon to pay more taxes and make sacrifices yet sees the political and financial elite of the country getting away with all those dishonest practices that have brought Greece and its economy to its knees. 

This is the one who refuses to partake in the bribery and corruption around him, feels like an idiot many times but is strong in the hope that by doing the right thing he is ensuring that things will change for the better for the next generations...



Alexander Payne


USA - Director/Screenwriter

Greek-American Director/Screenwriter  Alexander Payne  was born Alexander Constantine Papadopoulos, in Omaha Nebraska. Recipient of many film awards, Alexander Payne already has one Oscar under his belt, for 'Sideways' in 2005, whilst his latest film The Descendants, seems to be a favourite for this year's Oscars!

In fact as we were writing this post we heard  of his success at the Golden Globes for The Descendants, the film which opened the Thessaloniki Film Festival last year, along with
his Greek Dream Team of course - Jim Gianopulos and Phedon Papamichael! All three are board members of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF). Payne's Ad Hominem Enterprises and Gianopulos' Fox Searchlight Pictures won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Drama) for THE DESCENDANTS while Phedon Papamichael served as Director of Photography. The film also won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for George Clooney He now has an Academy Award Nomination as well! Congratulations Alexandre! Not bad going at all!

Asked to comment on the economic crisis in the middle of one of the most intense political crises in Greece, in November last year
, Alexander Payne said the following in an interview to the English language Kathimerini:
"Looking at the dire straits that Greece is in, is “horrifying, heartbreaking and frustrating, and there doesn't seem to be a solution. I have to tell you I've been very touched to be here; it's been meaningful for me to be here, even for three days, to talk to people, to feel it, to feel a little more solidarity. We Greeks of the Diaspora read the paper every day, scratch our heads, very heartbroken, but feeling very much in solidarity. I'm American and I have a much different life than if my grandparents had not emigrated – I'm not saying better, just different – but it's in situations like this that my Greek DNA and my Greek heart are reawakened.”


John Psathas

New Zealand - Olympic Composer
  Athens 2004 Composer, Greek New Zealander John Psathas, who recently became Professor at the NZ School of Music, is one of a handful of New Zealand composers who have made a mark on the international scene, particularly in Europe and North America.
Widely considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora, John Psathas is the son of Greek immigrant parents who arrived in New Zealand in the early 1960s. Born in Wellington in 1966 and raised in Taumaranui and Napier, John studied piano and composition at Victoria University, then studied in Belgium before returning to take up lecturing at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, where he is now Professor in Composition.

John’s music is repeatedly commissioned and performed by many of the best musicians and orchestras around the world. His works are also regularly broadcast to audiences of millions in the USA and Europe. John has a natural inclination and innate ability for mega-projects. Since writing much of the ceremonial music for the 2004 Olympic Games – screened to over a billion people  - John’s music has been on the radar screen of a wider public than that normally associated with contemporary classical music. He has won Best Classical CD of the Year three times, and has won NZ’s top composition prize – SOUNZ Contemporary – twice. He is an Arts Laureate, recipient of a Fulbright award, and an Officer of the Order of NZ Merit. In 2010 and 2011 he was the Auckland Philharmonia’s Composer in Residence.



To him, music composition is first and foremost a communicative art form. He is constantly seeking ways and means of making art music accessible to a wider audience. He explores connections between contemporary music and age-old musical traditions, like The New Zeibekiko - celebrating 2500 years of Greek music  -  which premiered in 2011 at the Auckland Arts Festival. He has recently engaged in classical-rock crossovers, collaborating with Wellington-based Little Bushman, and his collaboration with System of a Down’s front man Serj Tankian, went to #2 in the classical billboard charts in America.



In 2010-2011 John’s music received its Carnegie Hall debut (the Takacs Quartet performing “A Cool Wind”), he completed his first feature film score, and was Distinguished Guest Composer at Winnipeg’s 2010 New Music Festival. Also this year TVNZ commissioned “View From Olympus”, a  feature-length documentary about John, which was since included in the 2011 NZ Film Festival. 2011 saw many international and local performances of John’s work, including a performance at Athens Megaron Mousikis, the premiere of a new work created in collaboration with Warren Maxwell and the Auckland Philharmonia, and John will be Distinguished Guest Composer at the Taiwan International Percussion Festival.


He is currently working on projects with Jane Curry (classical guitar), Salman Rushdie (author), a consortium of 14 American percussion ensembles, and Strike (percussion).

We look forward to the day that John's major works 'View from Olympus' or 'The New Zeibekiko' are performed in Athens at the Herodus Atticus or the Megaron! 

  Jennifer Aniston


USA - Actress
Jennifer Aniston is one of those people that has become a household name over the years and needs little introduction from us.

Born in California, she spent a small part of her childhood in Greece before moving back to California and following in her father John Aniston's (born Anastasakis) footsteps.
A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2007, Jennifer Aniston became known to most of us with her superb portrayal of Rachel in the long running, immensely popular sitcom Friends for which she also received an Emmy, a Golden Globe and the American Screen Actors' Guild Award.

With a successful Hollywood career to boast of, she has also spent time behind the camera as a producer and director. 2012 will see Jennifer Aniston join the rest of Hollywood's greats as she gets to have her very own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame later this year.

The daughter of Days of Our Lives actor John Aniston, she and her father teamed up with him to narrate the CD accompanying several of writer, and fellow Greek American, Nick Katsoris’ Loukoumi series.

“In our house, we grew up with the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” says her father when asked about the values he instilled in his children, Alexander and Jennifer That’s precisely the message in the children’s book, Loukoumi’s Good Deeds,
the third book in a series which showcases the lovable lamb’s discovery of the joy of doing nice things for others, and follow up on the selfless themes in earlier books narrated by Jennifer and featuring the voice of John as Loukoumi’s daddy, Growing Up with Loukoumi and Loukoumi’s Gift.

All proceeds of from sales of Loukoumi’s Good Deeds benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, an organization that both John and Jennifer have supported.
(For more information on this, please visit www.Loukoumi.com)
Gregory Pappas

USA - Publisher

Gregory C Pappas, dynamic publisher of  the nation’s most widely-circulated periodical for Greek Americans, Greek America Magazine, is best known for the work he does within the framework of the Greek American Community.
 
Gregory Pappas' Chicago-based Greek America Foundation, a non-profit organization, has developed a number of initiatives aimed at highlighting Greek America's Best and Brightest, including the biennial GABBY Awards, the 40 Under 40's and the National Innovation Conference. It grants full-semester scholarships for study abroad in Greece, as well as a number of other cultural and educational projects in North America. Gregory's latest initiative is The Pappas Post  whose goal is 'to start a dialogue about who we are, where we have come from and where we are headed'.

His company, The Pappas Group Inc., handles public affairs advisory-related services and strategic corporate planning, business development, public and media relations and event planning throughout the world.

He serves on the Advisory Council of the X Prize Foundation, an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.



He serves the Greek Orthodox Church in a number of capacities, including membership on the Archdiocese Council of the Archdiocese of America and the Leadership 100, the late Archbishop Iakovos' Endowment fund. He also serves on the executive board of directors of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, which awards $250,000 annually to Greek American university students.


The son of Greek immigrants from the island of Crete who were involved in the anti-Nazi resistance effort, he developed an interest in Greek World War II history. He is an avid collector of Greek-related World War II memorabilia, including original photos, newspapers, magazines and the largest known collection of authentic Greek War Relief posters.
Michael (Michalis) Cacoyannis


Cyprus - Director (deceased)

Born on June 11, 1921 in Limassol, Cyprus, Michael Cacoyannis was the elder son of Sir Panayiotis and Lady Cacoyannis. The famous Cypriot born director of Zorba the Greek died in July this year. He studied law in London and was called to the Bar in 1943 but, fortunately for us, the theatre won him over. Without him, we are sure Zorba the Greek would never have been quite the same!


Not long after his debut as an actor in 1947, he decided to concentrate instead on directing.  In 1952 he left London to settle in Athens and one year later the success of his first film (“Windfall in Athens”) marked the beginning of an international career in directing. Among them “Stella”, “A Girl in Black”, “A Matter of Dignity”, “Zorba the Greek” and the trilogy of “Electra”, “The Trojan Women”, “Iphigenia”,  his films were regularly screened at the most prestigious International film festivals, receiving awards and distinctions. Michael Cacoyannis has worked with some of the best and most distinguished actors of his time, in Greece, Europe and Hollywood.


Michael Cacoyannis distinguished himself not only as an international filmmaker, but also as a stage and opera director, with critically acclaimed productions in Greece, the U.S. France and other European countries. He published several screenplays, translated Shakespeare’s plays into Greek and Euripides into English, and wrote the lyrics of some of the best-known and best-loved Greek songs.


It was Michael Cacoyannis'  initiative that led to the dramatic and inspiring new illumination of the Acropolis. Enlisting the services of the famous French Engineer Pierre Bideau for a study, and with generous donations by the Friends of Athens, which he established, the project finally received backing from the Ministry of Culture and the City of Athens. 


In 2004, Michael Cacoyannis established a charitable foundation in his name, whose aim is to support , preserve and promote the arts of Theatre and Cinema. The foundation’s Cultural Centre, located in Piraeus Street, in the district of Tavros, opened its doors to the public in October 2009.


For his work and overall contributions to the Arts, Michael Cacoyannis has been awarded the Order of the Golden Phoenix (Greece), the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres (France), the Grand Cross / Order of Makarios 3rd (Cyprus) and the Special Grand Prix of the Americas (Montreal). He has been honoured by the Greek Academy with its highest award for national services and with Lifetime Achievement Award by the Salonica, Jerusalem and Cairo Film Festivals, as well as the American Hellenic Institute in Washington. He has been declared an Honorary Citizen of Limassol, Montpellier and Dallas, and has received Honory Doctorates from Columbia College (Chicago), Athens University, Cyprus University, and the Aristotelio University of Salonica. 

For most of us he lives on in our hearts as the talented  and visionary director of Zorba the Greek...



Alexandra Tsiavou -


World Rowing Champion - Greece

Alexandra Tsiavou is current world women's rowing champion and a definite contender for an Olympic medal in rowing for Greece. She is dedicated, has worked hard and quietly in a sport that is not about fame or money, specially  in Greece, but it's where her talent and dream led her.

Probably Igoumenitsa Rowing Club's most famous member, Alexandra Tsiavou was the 2009 Best Athlete for Greece. In that year she became a World Champion in the lightweight women’s double sculls and won the European Rowing Championships in the same class. This was on the back of making the 2008 Olympic final in the double and becoming the Under-23 Champion in the lightweight single for the second time the previous year. World Rowing profiled Tsiavou as the 2010 season got under way to find out where she was heading and said of her in 2009

' Tsiavou is good, very good, and her rowing career is only just beginning' . 

Prophetic and no understatement as it turns out. Alexandra Tsiavou is one of our Greek Golden Girls headed for London's Olympics in 2012 armed with great  hopes for an Olympic Medal!

We'll all be right behind you Alexandra!

 


Haralambos (Bobby) Tzanetatos
Panama - Businessman/Benefactor

Haralambos (or Bobby as he prefers to be known) Tzanetatos, is one of our quiet unassuming diaspora Greeks who put in a lot of time, effort and money to ensure the Greek flag is flown with honour in their part of the world.

Greece's Honorary Consul in Panama for many years, Bobby has used the economic benefits he has been fortunate enough to enjoy to ensure that others not so fortunate benefit also. He has contributed to many projects and charities in Panama and Miami, donating time and money and work behind the scenes for the benefit of Greece and all things Greek in that part of the world.
He has donated the funds and the land for building the ATHENA  Greek School in Panama. When Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece was in Miami for the liver transplant he was going to get it was Bobby's house he was staying at and it was Bobby's cousin, the lifesaving transplant surgeon Andreas Tzakis who would perform that operation. Things didn't work out for him but that Christmas, Bobby and Andreas Tzakis came to Athens and went to see the ailing Archbishop in his home.  

The next evening  Bobby had a small gathering really to honour Andreas Tzakis ...We count ourselves lucky to have been among those invited to that function, simply because we were able to hear first hand the amazing stories of philanthropy from the people who had been the recipients...children, parents and others who had been touched by the magic hands of Dr Tzakis, the welcomed assistance of Bobby and of his friends in Miami, the tireless John and Evangeline Scurtis. 

The Greek mother of a child who had been operated on by Dr Tzakis some years before told us how they arrived in Miami and were greeted by John who introduced Bobby as his chauffeur...

Bobby's latest charity project is the development of a giant hospital complex in Panama dedicated to Irmita, the daughter he lost so tragically in an accident at the age of 21...

Bobby left his native Sami in Kefallonia at the age of 16 with the dream of acquiring a car. That was his only ambition when he went to Panama to join his uncle. Now one of Panama's wealthiest and most 'connected' citizens, he has never forgotten his origins, his island, his people or his family values, remaining above all, true to himself, with enormous humility and generosity for those less fortunate than he.  




All Global Greeks
Everywhere 
Our Global Greeks are present in all walks of life, in every part of the world, excelling in many fields.

You name it, and you can be sure that there will be a Global Greek, somewhere, in some city, in some country, who has done it, and in a lot of cases, who has done it extremely well.

Architecture, Politics, Law and Order, Medicine, Technology, Sport, Fashion and Design, Music, Drama, Theatre and Films are just some of the areas in which Global Greeks have excelled.
Global Greeks gives their time to man the church pagari, the church fair, the Sunday School, the Church Choir, the Dancing Group and the list goes on. They're the ones who organize and run around for the Taverna Nights, the Greek dances, the Souvlaki Stands, raising funds for the community, for those in need, for the Church. 


Our Global Greeks keep the flag flying high and run to help the homeland whenever they can however they can.

Our Global Greeks are proud of Greece and want to see her doing well. 

Their hearts swell with pride when Greece flies high but they hurt when Greece hurts, and they are the first to defend Greece when the going gets tough ... 

All Global Greeks - the greatest asset Greece has!!!

Alexander N Pattakos

 USA- Political Scientist/Author

Alex Pattakos, Ph.D., is a political scientist, best-selling author, and very proud Greek American of Cretan heritage. 

With his spouse, Elaine Dundon, he has developed The OPA! Way®, a new paradigm and approach to Living & Working with Meaning that is uniquely inspired by Greek culture ( www.theopaway.com). As part of this global initiative, he is also the co-author with Elaine of a forthcoming book on The OPA! Way, as well as the co-founder of the "OPA! Center," based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, where clients are introduced to and apply the ageless lessons of The OPA! Way to enhance meaning in their personal and work lives. 

Alex and Elaine are also responsible for creating "OPA! Day," a designated day--September 15th--each year for the world to recognize and celebrate the vast contributions made by Greece and Greeks to our way and quality of life. First celebrated in Rethymno, Crete, Greece, on September 15, 2010, OPA! Day 2011 celebrations were held on five continents and plans are already underway to expand awareness of and celebratory activities on this special day to more locations around the world. 

Among his many publications, Alex is the author of the international best-selling book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, available in 20 languages, including a Greek edition, and his writing has appeared in a wide variety of Greek-themed publications, such as The National Herald newspaper where he has been a featured columnist, Greek America Magazine where he most recently wrote the cover story on Arianna Huffington, and OPA! Magazine, with whom his meaning-focused venture, The OPA! Way, is an official partner. 

Alex can be reached by email at: aleko@theopaway.com
TheOPAWay on Twitter



George Kalivitis
No information made available

Filippos Parginos
No information made available


Happy Voting everyone!


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