Dr. Panagiotis Behrakis and the Hellenic Armed Forces were the honorees of the American-Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) annual Hellenic Heritage Achievement and Public Service Awards Dinner.
The event held last month at Athens’s Grande Bretagne hotel distinguished Behrakis –director of the Institute of Public Health of the American College of Greece and President of the Scientific Committee of European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention, among others – for his “tireless efforts to combat tobacco usage in the youth of Greece.”
“Smoking prevalence in Greece has declined and it is now very close to the European average,” Behrakis said in his acceptance speech. “Consumption of tobacco has also decreased by 50 percent in the past decade and most importantly the Greek public has changed it attitude towards smoking.”
The Hellenic Armed Forces, represented by Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, were awarded by the AHI “for their illustrious achievements throughout history in the defense of Greece’s sovereignty, their defense and promotion of peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and their commitment to defense cooperation with the United States and NATO.”
In his opening address at the dinner, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt thanked the AHI for its “long history of advocating for Greece and Greek Americans,” saying that this “strengthens the US government and the profound partnership and friendship between our two countries.”
“You have been of immeasurable help over the past couple of months in facilitating some of the most important moments in the bilateral ties between our two countries. Nick [Larigakis] was actually one of the very first representatives of the diaspora community who I had the pleasure to meet two years ago when I was getting ready for this job and also paid an important role in Prime Minister Tsipras visit to Washington last October,” Pyatt said, referring to the AHI president.