WASHINGTON, DC, June 27, 2023 – Today White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Jessica Lewis were presented with their awards from the 38th Annual PSEKA Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference. Both were scheduled to receive their awards during the May 9-11 conference in Washington, DC. Last-minute international travel changes and illness prevented them from doing so.
During today’s meetings, Sullivan and Lewis were engaged on issues of concern to the community, which were highlighted at the conference for the over 40 top US policymakers who attended. With regard to Cyprus, the issues included: the US strongly encouraging Turkey to return to the settlement table during the narrow window of opportunity following the Turkish elections; a White House visit by the President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides; more substantive engagement by the US in the Eastern Mediterranean, including a 3+1 ministerial-level meeting; permanently lifting the US arms embargo on Cyprus and getting Cyprus into the US Visa Waiver program. With regard to the recent reelection of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a call from President Joe Biden was strongly encouraged.
Sullivan, who has worked with the leadership of PSEKA and Manatos & Manatos for many years, received the conference “Soil Award.” “We have had the privilege to work with Jake on our issues since 2009 when he became Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Our work continued when he served as National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden, as chief foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton in her 2016 bid for President and the last two-and-a-half years as White House National Security Advisor. He is, as President Biden has called him, a `once-in-a-generation intellect’ and we are proud to call him a friend.”
The soil award is presented each year to, as it states on the award, “A leader whose work exemplifies today the great governmental ideals of Greece and the United States of America and whose efforts have been invaluable to the important and historic relationship between the great nations of Greece and the United States.” It contains soil from the location where democracy was born in Athens, Greece and from the seat of the world’s greatest modern democracy, the United States Capitol Building. The text above the soil reads, “From this hallowed earth have come the world’s greatest minds, ideas, and actions.”
Jessica Lewis, who has also worked with the leadership of PSEKA and Manatos & Manatos for many years, received the conference “Frizis Award.” “We have had the privilege to work with Jessica on our issues for over 20 years. It began when she worked for then-Congressman Bob Menendez, continued as she served as National Security Advisor to then-Senate Majority/Minority Leader Harry Reid, then as Chairman Menendez’ Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and today as Assistant Secretary for Political Military Affairs. She is at the forefront of the next generation of female leaders, a strong advocate for our issues and clearly qualifies to be honored with this prestigious award.”
Lewis, who is the first woman to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, is also the youngest and one of the first women to receive the prestigious Frizis Award. It is named after Mordechai Frizis, the Jewish Greek hero who was the first high ranking Greek military officer to give his life as part of the world’s first defeat of the Axis Powers in 1940. It is awarded each year to a policymaker of Jewish heritage who has made significant contributions to Hellenic issues. Previous recipients of this award include some of the United States’ most well-respected and accomplished foreign policymakers, including: Dick Holbrooke, President Clinton’s National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, current Secretary of State Tony Blinken; Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg and Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairmen Tom Lantos, Ben Gilman, Eliot Engel, among others.
The award contains soil from the countries of Greece, the United States and Israel and states, “For her commitment to the defense of the principles for which the United States, Israel and Hellenism stand. From this hallowed earth have come these great principles.”