[Anna Karagiannopoulou]: The annual awards ceremony of the Greek American Institute was held here in Washington. Four personalities from the Diaspora, Greece, as well as the political life of the United States, were honored this year by the AHI for their contribution to the promotion of issues of interest to Greece, Cyprus, and Hellenism worldwide. The president of the World Coordinating Committee of the Cyprus Struggle, Philip Christopher, expressed his emotions about the award, but also gave a realistic assessment of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean today, saying that the economy is equivalent to foreign policy. [Philip Christopher]: The future and vision of Cyprus are bright. I predict that within the next decade, Cyprus will become one of the wealthiest states in Europe. But at this moment, they face a very serious problem. It means austerity measures, and we must see how the new government of Cyprus will overcome it. [Anna Karagiannopoulou]: The message of respect, religious freedom, and self-administration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is clearly conveyed through the awarding of the Order of Saint Andrew, stated Antonios Limberakis, who accepted the award, emphasizing that he remains optimistic. [Antonios Limberakis]: By honoring the Archons of the Patriarchate, the AHI gives us the opportunity to describe the crisis in religious freedom issues, to try to improve it, and to break the chains that limit the Ecumenical Patriarchate, so that one day the bells of freedom will ring throughout the world from the Phanar. [Anna Karagiannopoulou]: From the American political sphere, the Greek American Institute chose this year to honor the Republican Congressman from New York, Michael Grimm, for his contribution to the promotion in Congress of philhellenic positions and issues of direct interest to the Diaspora. [Michael Grimm]: I feel like I am with my family when I am here. The AHI does so much for tradition, heritage, and also for the contribution of the Greek element to humanity. I visited Cyprus recently and saw with my own eyes the occupied areas. Your heart burns when you see the beautiful churches that have been desecrated. [Anna Karagiannopoulou]: The highlight of this year’s Greek heritage and social contribution awards ceremony was the awarding of ambassador-at-large Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who has been touring the US, where her book titled “My Greek Drama” will be released in May. Speaking to the camera of the Greek service of the Voice of America, Mrs. Angelopoulos referred to the long-standing ties of her family and herself with the United States. [Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki]: I am moved because here this organization, the American Hellenic Institute, honors me. But I feel it honors all those who made the miracle in Greece a modern country in the struggles of 2004 in Athens, and I feel a very specific and precious bond. You know I have such contact with America. My grandfather worked in a steel mill here, and I remember his hands were smooth. My husband’s family, my husband, and my father-in-law built a steel mill here in Indiana. I passed the torch here to go to Greece. At Harvard, I talk about the Greek miracle or the Greek paradox. I work with Clinton in the Clinton Global Initiative. I send young students to work here and bring the result of this work to Greece. It is such a strong bond. [Anna Karagiannopoulou]: And this warm relationship of the Diaspora with Greece is exactly what the Greek American Institute promotes with events like the annual awards ceremony, bringing together personalities from both sides to jointly address the various challenges. Anna Karagiannopoulou, VOA, Washington