Senator Lieberman honored at Greece - US relations conference
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 22-U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman was honored "for his extraordinary life-long contributions to the building of stronger ties between Greece and the United States" at the Second Annual Business Conference on U.S. Greece Relations in Washington, D.C. on October 7, 2003.
Senator Lieberman was honored before over 100 conference participants, including Greek Defense Minister Yannos Papantoniou, Athens Olympics Organizing Committee Managing Director Ioannis Spanudakis, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller, Greek Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides, World President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Andrew A. Athens, and representatives from some of America's largest companies that do business in Greece.
"Senator Lieberman has done extraordinary things for Greece from the United States to maintain this strong relationship for many years and in several areas," said CEH President Andrew Manatos, in his introduction of Senator Lieberman.
Edward Derwinski, Chairman of the Hellenic-American Heritage Council (HAHC), which hosted this conference, noted that, "Senator Lieberman has a well deserved reputation for objectivity, for tremendous knowledge of defense and foreign policy matters, for unique expertise and mastery of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. And I can't think of a finer person to open our program this morning than Senator Joe Lieberman."
In receiving this award, Lieberman said, "this award means something to me because of my personal commitment to Greek-American relations. I am the grandson of European immigrants to the United States, and as such I share not only the same history as many Greek-Americans, but the same commitment to family, faith and freedom, that define the Greek-American community. That helps explain its enormous contributions to American life, and its enormous success this community has had in the United States of America.
"The ties between the US and Greece are strong, but they are not unbreakable, and they've got to be continually renewed and reinforced...Our progress and our partnership I think is based on three factors - democracy and other shared values; free and open trade; and a strong military and diplomatic alliance. I'm committed aggressively to all.
"I am proud to commit myself here in this distinguished company to doing everything I can in whatever position of public responsibility the good lord and the voters of America give me the opportunity to fill, to further the critically important relationship between the United States and Greece."
Lieberman, a prominent member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been one of Greece's strongest and most proactive supporters over his 15 years in the United States Senate. He has supported all, and in many cases led the fight for, key legislative initiatives and other important actions for Hellenic issues in the U.S. Senate. For example, he has been, in many ways, the point person in the U.S. government for strongly encouraging the government of Israel to recognize the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Considered one of Israel's best friends in the U.S., his voice on this issue is very well respected.
Lieberman was also the 1998 recipient of the Frizis Award. This award is named after Mordohai Frizis, the Jewish Greek hero who was the first high-ranking Greek military officer to give his life in defense of freedom against the Axis powers in 1940. It is given by the Greek-American community each year to a member of the Jewish community who has greatly contributed to issues of concern to the Greek-American community and contains soil from the countries of Greece, Israel and the United States.
Previous recipients of the Frizis Award have included: then-Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Sandy Berger; then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke; then-Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY); and this year's recipient, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller.