30th Annual White House Event with the President
WASHINGTON, DC, April 7, 2016 — For the 30th consecutive year, our national community has been one out of only two nationalities in America able to meet with the President of the United States to discuss our concerns. And, this year, our celebration of Greek Independence Day on April 4 with President Barack Obama, led by the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, also included super-philhellene Vice President Joe Biden (aka “Joe Bidenopoulos”), as it has for seven of the last eight years.
In addition to the private meeting between the President, the Vice President and the Archbishop, which takes place every year before the public remarks, the Vice President spoke to the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras earlier in the day for a reported 45 minutes.
As well, following this event, a dinner at the President’s Guest House across the street from the White House, the famous Blair House, took place with senior White House officials, Senators and Members of Congress. The dinner was hosted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Greek-American Sylvia Mathews Burwell in honor of Archbishop Demetrios on the occasion of Greek Independence Day.
(Clockwise from Left) Ambassador of Greece to the US Christos Panagopoulos, Andy Manatos, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Greek Deputy Finance Minister Alexandros Charitsis, Stephen Burwell, Ambassador of Cyprus to the US George Chacalli, Tina Manatos [Picture by Dimitrios Panagos]
Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks as former US Ambassador to Greece Dan Smith, Mike Manatos, the Vice President’s Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo, among others, look on [Picture by Dimitrios Panagos]
Nothing in Washington happens spontaneously. We at Manatos & Manatos want to thank the Hellenes across the country and at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, particularly Father Alexander Karloutsos, with whom we work closely. We also wish to extend special thanks to Dennis Mehiel and Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, who attended this year’s event, along with George Marcus, Michael Psaros and John Calamos, whose daughter, Laura, attended the White House celebration. Without the powerful base in Washington, DC they help create and sustain, achievements like this White House Presidential event or like our getting 90 Senators to sign a letter to the President, would not happen.
(Left to Right, foreground) University of Delaware President-elect Dennis Assanis, Markos Kounalakis, former US Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, Congressman John Sarbanes, White House National Security Senior Staff Director for European Affairs Charles Kupchan, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos [Picture by Dimitrios Panagos]
Whether we are able to bring six people into the Oval Office to commemorate Greek Independence Day, or have a major event in the East Room, Manatos & Manatos and the Archdiocese go out of our way to encourage the White House to include those Greek-Americans who have sacrificed the most for Hellenism and Orthodoxy as well as the leaders of some of the largest Greek and Orthodox organizations.