During last week’s 33rd Annual PSEKA Cyprus Conference in Washington (June 6-8), the profile of the Cyprus issue was raised considerably among influential policymakers including Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce, and numerous others.
Supporting Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’ White House and Congressional meetings, over 100 conference attendees spoke with and updated over 30 key policy leaders from the White House, State Department and the U.S. Congress. The primary focus of the conference was to help American policymakers see through Turkish-Cypriot settlement negotiators and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ultimate factor determining the success or failure of efforts for a Cyprus settlement.
The conference was hosted by the International Coordinating Committee — Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO), the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and the Cyprus US Chamber of Commerce.
Among the many highlights — in addition to the presence of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis, Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Cyprus Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides, Chairman of the Cyprus House Standing Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs Averof Neofytou and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios — was the willingness of President Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to take time away from his inundated schedule to accept the 2017 George Paraskeviades Award and spend time with conference participants over dinner at the Willard InterContinental Hotel. This award was presented by last year’s recipient, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA).
Honored at the conference gala along with Priebus and Cyprus President Anastasiades, was the first female president of American University and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who received the Athens/Livanos Award. In addition, Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) David Harris spoke about the deep and enduring bonds between the people of Cyprus and the Jewish community.