Sunday, June 5, 2011

The GABBY Awards 2011: Celebrating Greek America's Best and Brightest!

Ellis Island today...
a historical and meaningful setting for the prestigious GABBY Awards
Picture Source: 2011 Gabby Awards

The curtain rises on the second Gabby Awards this evening in New York, most appropriately on Ellis Island - a place with such tremendous significance - both emotional and historical - for all Greek Americans. 

As the first point of entry for most of America's immigrants it was the place where desperation gave way to hope, the place which saw the birth of their own American Dream for many of our ancestors as they flocked to the New World fleeing persecution, poverty and war in Europe, ready to start a new life.  

That new life wasn't a bed of roses,  but our fellow countrymen didn't give up easily.  

It took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears but many of them would do what it took to make it to the top, if not for themselves at least for their children and the future generations.

The Gabby Awards are a tribute to Greek America's Best and Brightest , a tribute to all those people whose hard work made Greek America what it is today, present, active and a force to be reckoned with, in all walks of American life.  

Created in 2009 to celebrate and reward the excellence Greek Americans have achieved in various fields, the awards recognize the best and brightest individuals who have excelled in their respective fields and strive for excellence in all they do and are the top achievement awards for Greek Americans.

Tonight's ceremony is a  spectacular event of immense interest not only to the Greek American Community but also to the Global Greek Community.

All of those nominated for the Gabby Awards are people who deserve to win, whether they  get to collect the statuette or not and we are glad to see that the Science/Medicine category was added this year - something that wasn't included in 2009 and which we thought was a category worth adding , as there are many prominent Greek Americans who have excelled in this particular category, as we pointed out in our 2009 article.

Because of the special circumstances of the 2011 Gabby Awards taking place at Ellis Island, the committee has decided to award two Lifetime Achievement Awards to outstanding individuals who have each left their impact on society and each of whom has a connection to the sacred location of Ellis Island. 

Former Massachusetts governor and US Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, whose mother entered Ellis Island, as well as internationally-acclaimed artist Stephen Antonakos, who arrived on Ellis Island in 1930.

For us, one of the high points of this year's Gabbys, is the Tribute to Greek America's ancestors - a collection of family stories published in a book entitled simply "Tribute". 

A Tribute to Greek America's Ancestors
Picture Source: 2011 Gabby Awards

You can find some of these stories on the Gabby website - Living their Dreams. Beautiful, warm stories told not only by descendants of the first immigrants, but in some cases by the immigrants themselves. People like Michael Dukakis, Gregory Pappas, Melina Kanakaredes and many others narrate their family history...a wonderful tribute indeed. 

Melina Kanakaredes

The Gabby Awards were founded to celebrate excellence amongst Greek Americans and to reward those who embody it, bringing together people from all over America who have excelled in their field and who have one very significant factor in common - their Greek Heritage.

Created and hosted by the Greek America Foundation, the Gabbys are the brainchild of its founder Gregory C Pappas, dynamic publisher of  the nation’s most widely-circulated periodical for Greek Americans, Greek America Magazine.

The Gabby Awards Nominees are divided into nine categories: 
  • Arts, 
  • Culture & Media, 
  • Performing Arts, 
  • Science & Medicine,  
  • Business & Entrepreneurism, 
  • Politics & Public Service, 
  • Promotion of Hellenism, 
  • Philanthropy, 
  • Athletics and 
  • Education.

There are  3 nominees in each category, and these include such Global Greek notables as Dr Andreas Tzakis, George Behrakis, Tina Fey, Louie Psihoyos, Senator Olympic Snowe, Arianna Huffington, Harry Markopoulos, Jamie Dimon and Ted Leonsis,  and organisations such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the American Hellenic Institute.

The Gabby Weekend celebrations started on Thursday with a spectacular  Tribute to Hellenic Film at the historic Jersey City Loews Theatre and a  sparkling reception for the sponsors hosted by celebrated jewellery designers Bulgari, themselves of Greek heritage. 

The Awards Ceremony today will be attended by hundreds of our most notable Global Greeks and will be followed by a glittering After Party which once again promises to be an unforgettable evening of celebration of Greek food and dancing!

We congratulate Gregory Pappas and all those responsible for the Gabby Awards, for their wonderful initiative and wish them the greatest success tonight! 

Keep up the great work... and of course - ΚΑΛΗ ΔΙΑΣΚΕΔΑΣΗ!

Source: The Gabby Awards 2011

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