Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 November 2011:Nomination Deadline for Greek America's Forty Under 40!

Do you know any young Greek American leaders who strive for excellence in everything they do and at the same time are dedicated to making the world around them a better place? 

Do you know any young Greek American leaders who have excelled in their respective business endeavours and who have made philanthropy, community involvement and activism an important part of their lives?

If you do, be sure to nominate him or her for the  2012  Greek America's Forty Under 40 Award!

Another world class initiative undertaken by Global Greek Gregory Pappas and his dynamic Greek America FoundationGreek America's Forty Under 40  is made up of 40 young leaders (forty years old and younger) from North America.

Deadline for nominations is tomorrow, November 30, 2011 and the 40 winners will be announced in February 2012. 
To submit your nomination please fill in the Forty under 40 Nomination Form.

After this year's  emotion-packed Gabby Awards held on the historic Ellis Island and showing his Greek America Foundation's unflinching solidarity for Greece,  founder Gregory Pappas has announced that the awards ceremony is to be held on Memorial Day Weekend during the NIC 2012 Conference in Athens - a very symbolic  and welcome gesture of support!

Bravo Greg!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How the EU Works - In Case You were Wondering...

 Creator: Unknown
The moral of this story is, try to make sure you are as close to the top as possible, otherwise chances are you'll end up...
in more poop than you can handle! 

One of those cartoons that don't need more words...
except to give thanks that you're not at the bottom perhaps!

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrating World Philosophy Day: Isocrates - Great Greek Orator and Philosopher

"Our Democracy is destroying itself because it abused the rights of freedom and equality, because it taught it's citizens to consider insolence as a right, illegal acts as a freedom, rudeness as equality and anarchy as prosperity".

Isocrates (436 - 338 b.C.)

Isocrates, one of the 10 great Athenian rhetors (orators) was not known as one of Greece's famous philosophers in the strict sense of the word, but we think he was and Keith Murphy, seems to agree with us...

Isocrates professes that rhetoric is philosophic in that it teaches morals and politics. 
By "philosophy," Isocrates was describing a theory of culture.     

He believed that philosophy was the study of how to be a reasonable and useful citizen.     

Isocrates held that one should deliberate about both one 's own affairs and the affairs of the state.     

He believed that a philosophic education should arouse intense patriotism as well as constructing a personal philosophy close to the stoic ideal.     

While Isocrates did not believe that virtue could be taught, he argued that it could be strengthened through training and practice in oratory. (Against the Sophists)    

He also argued that moral argumentation encourages right action because argumentation produces a historical narrative which uses historic events as precedents for present action.   

Therefore one gains moral knowledge by studying public address both as the art of oratory and by imitating the great speakers for the lessons made by a man 's life are stronger than lessons furnished by words, as he wrote in Antidosis.    

Isocrates also saw the relationship between morality and oratory as reciprocal.     

In the Antidosis Isocrates explains that the more one wishes to persuade one 's fellow citizens, the more important it is that the orator have a favorable reputation among those citizens    

This notion served as the basis for the Roman rhetorician Quintilian 's claim that ethos, or credibility, is a good man speaking well....    

In today's context it is rare to find the two together...Where is there morality in leadership? Looking around us today, we see all the troubles foisted on the world by that small group of so-called leaders...fellow 'citizens' in name only, who looking to enormous personal gain and huge individual profit at the expense of society at large.

In his article 'Who's to blame for the implosion of Greece - and the Global Economy?' Greg Palast writes the following:

The firebombing, the mobs in the streets of Athens, mass unemployment, the empty pension funds and the angry despair that would sweep across Europe in 2010 began with a series of banking transactions crafted in the United States and Switzerland. The plan was 18 years old, and here it was played out in the streets of Greece, then Spain and Portugal, and before that in Latin America and Asia. The riot was written right into it.
When I ask, Who did it? I don’t mean the damaged fool who threw the Molotov cocktail into a crowded bank. I’m looking for the men in the shadows, the very big make-the-monkey-jump men who turned economies into explosive kindling, lit the fuse, then stood first in line at the fire sale.

The Greek philosophers had a word for it...hubris, hubris against the whole of society.

Perhaps when we do find the leader that embodies both, ethos or credibility hand in hand with the ability to speak well, to be a charismatic speaker, to be able to convince...he or she will be able to convince the rest of society to return to Isocrates' principles of being a reasonable and useful citizen of society, to reembrace our basic sense of values for equality and justice for all citizens,  then our world will surely take a turn for the better...

Food for thought? We hope so!

Don't Forget: ' The Future of Hellenism in America' Conference Today in Washington DC


The American Hellenic Institute Foundation presents its 10th Annual Conference,  
The Future of Hellenism in America 
starting today 18 November 2011 in Washington D.C.  
With many of our prominent and dynamic Global Greeks taking part,
Greek Americans such as  
Ambassador Patrick Theros, Ted Spyropoulos, Professor Dan Georgakas,  
Andrew Kaffes and Antonis Diamataris
co-sponsored by the Onassis and Niarchos Foundations, 
it cannot help but be both thought-provoking and successful!

If you are in Washington and would like to attend this very worthwhile conference,  Register here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Marathon of Marathons: The Athens Classic Marathon

The Athens Classic Marathon is the Marathon of Marathons! No matter how many Marathons you've run, you haven't run a real Marathon until you've run the original!
Today the world's greatest Marathon race took place in the city where it was born, in Athens, Greece along the exact same path that the heroic Pheidippides followed in 490 B.C., 2501 years ago, to announce the Athenians' victory over the Persians.
Commemorating that incredibly difficult 42 kilometre run from Marathon to Athens by  Pheidippides, people from all over the world flock to Greece each year to take part in the Athens Marathon, few being able to withstand the lure, the historic significance and the symbolism of running the same route as Pheidippides, in the Marathon of Marathons,
The message we want to send around the world is simple:
20,000 this year, 30,000 next year!
Spread the word, become a part of history!
The Athens Classic Marathon is the Marathon of Marathons! No matter how many Marathons you've run, you haven't run a real Marathon until you've run the original!

 Related posts:
The Marathon of Marathons:490 B.C - 2010 A.D - Commemorating 2500 Years Since the Battle of Marathon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Greece: One of the Greatest Brands that's (N)ever been Branded - ΓΙΝΕΤΑΙ!

Earlier this year, in a post called Rebuilding Our Myth: YES we CAN we wrote the following

'We Greeks know all about myths... in fact our ancestors created the whole concept and built up the brand name!

Now at one of the critical crossroads in her long and glorious history, Greece, along with the rest of us who love this country whether living here or abroad, has started the process of debunking some of the myths that have been circulating in the last few months and rebuilding her own incredible Greek Myth.

In today's strictly commercial terms, this is called rebuilding a brand and that brand is none other than

Let's all do our bit to help rebuild 
Brand GREECE - for us and the future generations.'

Today we were thrilled to see that one of our Global Greeks, Peter Economides, a brand strategist with a successful career behind him (including Apple's Think Different campaign) has got started on this and we love what he has done... 

Have a look at the brilliant presentation he put together for Rebranding Greece, the 11th International Aristoteli Conference in Thessaloniki  where he was conference keynote speaker on 11/11/11, a historic day for Greece from many points of view  ...

You will love it too!

Brand GREECE -   

One of the Greatest Brands that's never been branded

The Greatest little brand in the world!

Let's all get the message out there! 

Here is Peter giving his presentation at the conference bringing it all together...

About Peter ...from his resume at Felix BNI

Peter Economides is a brand strategist with a global perspective.

He 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.

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.

His journey through the world of advertising and marketing started in his native South Africa and took him via Hong Kong, Greece and Mexico to New York, and back to Athens. “The Med is definitely the best.”

He has managed and grown leading ad agencies as CEO/President in Greece, Mexico and the United States.  At McCann Erickson Worldwide he was responsible for the global management of the $1.8 billion Coca-Cola advertising account.  At TBWA\Worldwide he structured and rolled out the global “Think Different” campaign following the return of Steve Jobs to Apple.

Felix BNI clients have included Audi, Volkswagen, Heineken Breweries, Pepsi-Cola, the International Olympic Committee, easy-forex.com, Seychelles Tourism, the Antenna Group and Pernod-Ricard. 

Peter’s work is focussed on change - on the strategic responses to shifting culture, consumer habits and behavior, and the challenges of regional and global expansion.

His view is that branding strategy needs to be spherical and all encompassing, touching every aspect of the business organization and process.  As he says, “everything communicates” and “strategy is nothing without a universally compelling, and individually enchanting big idea that engages and aligns people inside and outside the corporation.”

Peter is a Board Director Make-A-Wish Foundation International.

One of his passions is sailing, especially in the Aegean. Another is diving, especially in the Indian Ocean. But his biggest passion is brand strategy.... 

We want to see Peter's passion create the greatest brand ever...

Greece, Hellas, Hellenes!

Global Greek World is with you all the way! 

Show your support, join  Peter's Facebook page Greece: It's Time to Imagine the Future
and/or follow Peter on Twitter 

Photo of the Day: Euros...not GYROS ... :)

Euros...not GYROS!!!
Wonderful cartoon from  Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle 

Food for thought...literally!

Have a great weekend - with love from the real gyrozone*! 

*for the word Gyrozone, credit goes to Nick Malkoutzis, Deputy Editor of the English language Kathimerini. Follow Nick on Twitter

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To the Men and Women of the Hellenic Air Force: Xronia Polla kai Kala!

Today the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Saints' Day of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel... On this day, the 8th of Novembereach year, the Greek nation celebrates those brave men and women in the Hellenic Air Force who like the Archangels guard our country day and night, putting their lives on the line, often falling in the course of duty...

To all these heroes,  and to everyone celebrating a nameday today - Angela, Angelo, Michael, Michaela, Gabriel, Gabriella, Stamati, Stamatia, Stratos and Stratia we wish  Xronia Polla kai Kala! Na eiste panta kala!

The beautiful song that can be heard below, is 'Ηλιος Θεός ( Sun - God) by Vasilis Skoulas, and was written for Kostas Iliakis, who fell heroically on the 23rd day of a fateful May in 2006...

Σαν το σύννεφο φεύγω πετάω
έχω φίλο τον Ήλιο-Θεό
με του αγέρα το νέκταρ μεθάω
αγκαλιάζω και γη κι ουρανό.

Και χωρίς τα φτερά δεν φοβάμαι
το γαλάζιο ζεστή αγκαλιά
στα ψηλά τα βουνά να κοιμάμαι
στο Αιγαίο να δίνω φιλιά.

Λευτεριά στους ανέμους ζητάω
έχω πάψει να είμαι θνητός
ανεβαίνω ψηλά κι αγαπάω
δίχως σώμα χρυσός αετός.

Και χωρίς τα φτερά δεν φοβάμαι
το γαλάζιο ζεστή αγκαλιά
στα ψηλά τα βουνά να κοιμάμαι
στο Αιγαίο να δίνω φιλιά.
Σαν το σύννεφο φεύγω πετάω
έχω φίλο τον Ήλιο-Θεό
με του αγέρα το νέκταρ μεθάω
αγκαλιάζω και γη κι ουρανό

 Σας ευχαριστούμε...
Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλά

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Our Nomination for Interim Prime Minister: Minos Zombanakis-The Ultimate Greek Banker

Minos A Zombanakis
The Ultimate Greek Banker

Greece is once again face to face with its destiny... 

As the world watches, after weeks if not months of political turmoil and roller coaster emotions as we go from one bailout talk to the other, from IMF to  EU to Eurogroup and even G20 meetings, we watch in dismay as Greece's future is gambled on.

In the last few days, weeks, months, two years, we have watched our political leaders squabble unable or unwilling to come to an agreement, on anything almost...let alone what they need to do today, forming a government of National Unity.

As they continue to play stupid and childish games at the expense of the country, we thought we would make our own nomination for the post of interim Prime Minister.

If Greece is going to have a banker for Prime Minister then our nomination goes to the ultimate Greek banker,  Mr  Minos Zombanakis, a man who was known simply as The Greek Banker. 

With the international connections and impeccable background which are essential qualifications for the job of leading Greece through this period of economic crisis, Minos Zombanakis could well be the ideal person to fill this extremely important position at such a critical point in time. 

Kalyves Apokoronou - Crete, Greece

Often credited with being the 'father' of the interest rate formula known as LIBOR, Global Greek Minos Zombanakis was born in Kalyves, one of Crete's beautiful coastal villages and educated at Harvard. He is considered a pivotal figure in the history of the Euromarket, the first banker to make full use of the syndicated loan market after establishing Manufacturers Hanover Trust in London in the late 60's.

Minos Zombanakis, whose friends' list read like a Who's Who of the international and financial elite, is one of the world's savvy wheelers and dealers. A respected and popular figure both at home and abroad, his advice was always sought out at every opportunity. This was particularly obvious during the Athens Stock Exchange boom in August of 1999,  when you would often see him at the beach or at the local taverna in animated discussion with ordinary locals but also with people such as Yale educated Stavros Thomadakis, then Chairman of the Capital Market Commission of Greece and fellow native of Chania's  Apokorona district.

Equally at home in Crete as he is in London, Mr Zombanakis has often hosted some of the world's most famous citizens at his home in his native Kalyves, a town he has supported at all levels and of which he has been made an honorary citizen. It is not by chance that the Kalyves City Centre is named Minos Zombanakis in his honour.

Following vice President Al Gore's unsuccessful bid for the Presidency of the USA he spent much needed down time at Mr Zombanakis' home town, incognito, sporting a beard and a Mexican hat...

In 2010, the Belfer Center launched a new professorship named for Zombanakis, chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank's International Advisory Council for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, a Harvard Kennedy School alum and member of the Belfer Center International Council. Harvard Kennedy School celebrated the professorship with Zombanakis and his family in April that year.

Minos Zombanakis and Family at the Harvard Celebrations 
Picture Source: Belfer Center, KSG, Harvard

The Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System is defined as being aimed at 'a distinguished professor or professor of practice whose research and teaching will illuminate major policy issues of the era in ways that will be informative to policymakers addressing challenges of the international financial system'.

In fact, in April this year, former Vice President of the European Central Bank, esteemed economist Lucas Papademos  was appointed the inaugural Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 

It was because Papademos' name has been bandied around as possible interim Prime Minister of Greece in the last few days that we decided to nominate another, much more influential Global Greek for the position.

At 85 today, you might say Minos Zombanakis age might be against him, but let's not forget we have a precedent: Economist and banker Xenofon Zolotas who headed the Ecumenical Government formed in 1989 at the age of 85...

Why not?

Readers might be interested to read Mr Zombanakis' views on how we got to today's  economic crisis. In an address to the Hellenic Bankers' Association in 2008, entitled The Financial Crisis: How did we get here?, Mr Zombanakis had this to say:

'Let me start by reflecting on the present turmoil in the financial markets. 
Though it is not completely unprecedented in my experience, it is as scary as anything since the original oil price shock of the early 1970s, and it is still very uncertain as to its outcome. In my view, it has its roots in the powerful forces which have completely transformed the financial landscape in recent decades – forces that have transformed the financial system into a giant lottery.

It is worth glancing back to see how these forces originated, and how they interacted to create the toxic mix we have today, because there may be lessons.

I would single out three: financial innovation, deregulation of the finance industry, and monetary policy. I mention them in that order because that is the order in which they occurred.
Taking financial innovation first, I am talking here about innovation in two senses: the invention of new ways of doing business, and the globalisation of financial markets. These trends essentially began back in the 1960s with the development of the Euromarkets, a process with which I was personally and intimately involved. 

The phenomenon of “stateless” money – mainly dollars which had left the US or avoided to be deposited in US banks – created a resource which opened up international financial trading on a completely new scale, and which allowed virtually any bank with international ambitions to participate.
These markets evolved in essentially two forms: securities and loans. The eurobond market was the first to emerge, in the early 1960s, as a means for international companies to tap new sources of capital at a time when national barriers were coming down. But though they were very inventive, these markets were rapidly overtaken in size by the syndicated loan market which emerged a few years later, in the late 1960s/early 70s. That, I am proud to say,was my contribution. 

Within five years of the first Euroloans that Manufacturers Hanover Ltd arranged for Iran and later Italy, deals were running at the rate of hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
This process was made easier by the willingness of the monetary authorities of the day to allow these developments. Or, more accurately perhaps, I should say their inability to do anything about them because we must remember that the US (under Presidents Kennedy and Nixon) introduced tough capital controls to prevent the outflow of dollars. But generally “willingness” is the more accurate term because these new markets took pressure off hard-pressed domestic capital markets, and opened up important new sources of capital for business and sovereign borrowers alike, which was good. 

The process was also facilitated by the invention, of an interest rate formula known as LIBOR, which enabled large groups of banks, several dozen, to put together very large loans. Again, this is an area where I was directly involved.
While I am proud of my contribution, I must accept that the history of the Euromarkets is not entirely positive, though at the time it helped countries to finance balance of payments deficits arising from the sudden increase in oil prices. As we know, these markets soon exhibited the sort of “irrational exuberance” which we have come to associate with almost all large scale financial developments. They got carried away with their success. 

By the end of the 1970s, the international syndicated loan market, in particular, had become enormously competitive, and was churning out loans at the rate of over a hundred billion dollars a year. Loans were literally being forced on ill-qualified borrowers, many of them unsophisticated Third World countries, and when they couldn’t repay, they were given more loans to keep them current. By this time, I was no longer directly involved in the loan business, and I am on record as warning about “the monster” I had helped create. 

But, rather like Dr Frankenstein’s own monster, it had become unstoppable....'

Unstoppable indeed...the results manifest themselves before us...

Καλή μας δύναμη! 
Strength and courage for the hard road ahead! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Axion Esti: Odysseas Elytis - 100 Years Since the Birth of Greece's Nobel Prize Winning Poet

Odysseas Elytis
Born 2 November 1911 
Photo Source: Wikipedia

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1979 was awarded to Odysseus Elytis "for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness".

2011 is the centennial anniversary of his birth and has been officially designated as  the year of Greece's Nobel Prize winning poet Odysseas Elytis.

His marvellous poetry continues to be as strikingly relevant today as it ever was and continues above all, to give us hope for tomorrow...

We are of good stock...
From Sun the First
Ilios o Protos - Sun the First/The Sovereign Sun 
Maria Dimitriadis

Axion Esti 
Mario Frangoulis 


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