This year’s distinguished honorees were His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, who was bestowed, with the Leadership Award for his leadership and moral uprightness, and Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina, for his outstanding achievements in academia.
Miss Cyprus USA, Arianna Christou, served as emcee of the event and FCAO Executive Vice President, Nicos Paphitis, served as Chairman of the event.
The President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations Kyriakos Papastylianou thanked all the sponsors of the event, distinguished guests, honorees, but especially his board members and the event’s committee for their work. “We at the Federation and our member societies are volunteers, working every day for our organizations,” said Mr. Papastylianou.
During his speech, President Anastasiades said “You are struggling, not without cost. You give to support the just cause of Cyprus. At times supporting the refugees, sometimes giving to those in need, we always feel this warm embrace from the Diaspora. That is why I repeat; I feel great joy when I am with you and the will and the determination to stand worthy of expectations and to see our homeland, finally, free,”.
Following the President’s speech Bishop Sevastianos was presented with the Leadership award, and during his acceptance speech, he said, “I feel that if I receive praise for what I do, it loses its worth. Nevertheless, I accepted this honor as a sign of love to my person. However, in my person, you honor yourselves, working every day, tirelessly, to liberate our homeland, and also to teach your children the love for Cyprus.”
The President of the University of South Carolina Harry Pastides after the presentation of his award he said it is an honor to be recognized along with Bishop Sevastianos, a great scholar and ecclesiastical leader, whose family is from Ano Zodia while his from Kato Zodia.
He expressed pride for being raised in Astoria and paid tribute to his mother, Anastasia Theodoudou from Kato Varosi and his father, Andreas Pastides. “The whole evening is about family one way or another,” he said, paying tribute to the Cypriots who immigrated to the United States seeking a better future for themselves and their families.
“The Cypriot Americans are dedicated to education. Not one Cypriot American family that I ever knew did not care or didn’t work to provide food and educational opportunity, whatever cost, for their children.”
“It’s is through academia and higher education that I have been able to contribute to Cyprus’ progress and will continue to do so.”
The event concluded with a birthday cake presentation to celebrate President Anastasiades birthday.
Federation of Cypriot American Organizations
Tel: (718) 440-8799
The mission of the FCAO is to preserve and promote the Hellenic Cypriot culture, heritage, principles and ideals in the United States of America through the coordination and promotion of cultural, charitable, educational, fraternal and professional activities.
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