Commemoration of Marshall Plan’s 60th anniversary

Sixty years have passed since the creation of the Marshall Plan, which played a decisive part in reconstructing Greece after WWII. US Ambassador to Athens Charles P. Ries is holding an event on Monday, June 11, at the ambassador’s residence in Ambelokipi to mark the anniversary. Among the speakers will be R. Nicholas Burns, who made many friends in Greece when he served as US ambassador to Athens, and who is now undersecretary of state for political affairs. The other speakers are Andrew S. Natsios, former administrator of USAID, and former Greek prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis. The Marshall Plan, officially titled the European Recovery Program (ERP), took its informal name from US Secretary of State George Marshall, who created the ERP with State Department officials William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. Its aim was to help Europe recover from the devastation of war. In four years, till 1951, the Marshall Plan offered aid worth 13 bilion dollars as well as technical assistance. Greek photographer Voula Papaioannou, who worked for UNRRA, a United Nations project that helped 8 million refugees after the war, recorded its work in the Greek countryside in exceptional photographs. Helbi has received an invitation to the commemoration and is looking forward to seeing Undersecretary Burns and his wife Elisabeth Baylis, who together co-founded and are honorary presidents of the Greek branch of MDA, which supports children with muscular dystrophy. The busy organization’s work speaks for itself. It has already funded a clinic and is preparing a second, at the AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki.

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