Five distinguished Diaspora Greeks whose work promotes Greece abroad were honored by the International Foundation for Greece (IFG) and the Hellenic Post issued stamps dedicated to them.
Every three years, IFG honors distinguished Greeks for their contribution to enhancing the country’s international presence in the fields of arts and letters, science, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and lifetime work.
The IFG Awards for 2019 go to:
Philanthropy: The Behrakis Foundation
Businessman George Behrakis has excelled in the pharmaceuticals industry, after 40 years of dedicated work. Behrakis, together with his wife, Margot, founded the Behrakis Foundation, based in Boston.
The Foundation’s charitable work focuses on the areas of Art, Education, Health and is well-known for its support of issues related to Greece, Greek Diaspora communities and Greek Orthodox faith.
The foundation has established and funded chairs in universities abroad. In Greece, the George D. Behrakis Research Laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art technology donated by the Behrakis Foundation to the Hellenic Cancer Society, actively supports the SmokeFreeGreece initiative, with educational anti-smoking actions throughout the country.
Entrepreneurship: Dean Metropoulos
An active businessman, owner and CEO of C. Dean Metropoulos & Company, he has become known in the business world for his ability to “revive” and increase the value of traditional products that are particularly popular in the US. His company has revived or created nearly 100 business products and 300 brands.
The entrepreneur is also well-known for buying the Past Brewing Company in 2010 and selling it in 2014 for a $550 million profit and for saving the popular Hostess Brands in 2016.
Metropoulos is known for his charity work focusing on global education, children’s health, and environmental programs. At the same time, he actively participates in the Greek and Orthodox American and worldwide communities and supports Greek students abroad and many Greek cultural and religious activities in the U.S.
Lifetime Work: Corinne Mentzelopoulos
Corinne Mentzelopoulos is a French-Greek businesswoman who owns and runs the prestigious Bordeaux wine estate, Château Margaux. Her wines have often won Bordeaux’s Wine of the Vintage. She has been cited as one of the leading women in the wine industry.
Today its vineyards produce one of the best and most expensive wines in the world, the Château Margaux. Mentzelopoulos is a founding member of The Hellenic Initiative, a movement that mobilizes the Greeks of the Diaspora to social-economic recovery in Greece. In Greece, Mentzelopoulos has established scholarships for students of the University of Patras in memory of her father.
Arts and Letters: Alexandre Desplat
Alexandre Desplat is a two-time Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award-nominated composer, known for his prolific work in filmography and his collaborations with Stephen Frears, Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, and George Clooney.
The French Greek-origin composer won two Academy Awards for the scores for “The Shape of Water” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. He has also won two Golden Globes, two Grammy Awards, three BAFTAs, three Cesar prizes and has many other distinctions and great collaborations in his career.
Science: Professor Dimitri Nanopoulos
Full Member of the Athens Academy, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Texas A&M University and Director of the Center for Astronomical Physics at the Center for Advanced Research (HARC) in Houston. His main research interests are High Energy Physics and Cosmology. He has authored over 680 original papers and is one of the most regularly cited researchers in the world, cited more than 48,500 times over across a number of separate branches of science.
In 1996, he was made Commander of the Order of Honor of the Greek State. In October 2006 he was awarded the Onassis International Prize by the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation. In September 2009, he was awarded the 2009 Enrico Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society in recognition of his pioneering work in the field of string theory.
The Hellenic Post created five postage stamps depicting these award-winning personalities who promote the Greek spirit abroad with their work.