National Hellenic Society Celebrates New Milestone at Annual Conference

The National Hellenic Society (NHS), a prominent non-profit organization which promotes Hellenism in America, held its annual conference from October 10 to 13 in Santa Monica, California.

Besides honoring important members of the Greek American community for their service to fellow community members and Hellenism, NHS members had also a milestone to celebrate: The organization’s “Heritage Greece” program, which has sent more than five hundred Greek-American students to Greece.

This unique program has successfully reconnected these college-age Greek-American students with their roots, heritage, and Hellenic identity through an educational trip to Greece.

Two weeks full of cultural and educational stimuli offer the opportunity for accomplished Greek-American college students to enjoy traveling in Greece and immersing themselves in its ancient culture.

The NHS offers this unique chance for young people to share their impressions with a peer group of exceptional students from the American College of Greece (ACG) in Athens, Greece.

They also obtain hands-on experience in history in the very birthplace of the idea of Democracy and so many other concepts which have become global ideals.

NHS Chairman Drake G. Behrakis addresses conference attendees at the 2019 Annual NHS Heritage Weekend

During the activity-packed weekend, participants heard compelling panelists discussing diverse issues involving Hellenism worldwide, from history, medicine and tourism to the environment.

NHS co-founder Dr. George Korkos, Angelo Tsakopoulos, and the Metropoulos family were honored for their efforts in promoting Hellenism at the NHS awards gala.

[L-R] John P. Calamos Sr., Angelo and Vicky Tsakopoulos, Dean Metropoulos, Dr. George Korkos, Drake Behrakis and Aris Halikias
Dean and Marianne Metropoulos attend the NHS Awards gala
Dean and Marianne Metropoulos attending the NHS Awards gala
Angelo Tsakopoulos with his wife Sofia and his daughter, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.
NHS co-founder George Marcus with executive director Art Dimopoulos.
[L-R] Vice chairman Mike Manatos with executive director Art Dimopoulos and chairman Drake G. Behrakis at the annual NHS Awards gala.
Women’s panel discussing issues during the annual NHS Heritage Weekend
Annual Heritage Classic Golf winners
Greek dancing after the NHS Awards gala
Greek dancing during the NHS Heritage Weekend after-party at the “Bungalow.”

Speaking exclusively with the Greek Reporter recently, Drake G. Behrakis and Maria Exarhopoulos Behrakis, two exceptionally influential proponents of Greek education in the US, explained the challenges the Greek-American community faces these days.

”Maintaining the Greek identity is a challenge. We need to make sure that the programs we have, the events we do are all-inclusive,” Drake said.

On her behalf, Maria had explained how ”Education was the basis of everything, always at the core of the value system of Greek families and the Greek community.”

For this reason, ”There was a widespread feeling that our parents sacrificed everything to come to America and therefore we would do our part and educate ourselves.”

The NHS was established to help preserve Greek heritage through the sponsorship and initiation of programs which support Hellenic culture.

The strong network of Greek-Americans it creates helps to preserve individuals’ Greek identity and heritage in the great country of the United States.

That’s why the Society actively engages in and supports programs sponsored by universities, colleges, and educational institutions throughout the US, in a positive effort to promote Greek heritage and the furtherance of Hellenic ideas.

To learn more about the National Hellenic Society, please visit its official website.