Primary Website

FCAO to honor Dr. Symeon C. Symeonides and Peter Kakoyiannis, Esq. at 2019 Testimonial Dinner

August 14, 2019

News Item Image

Dr. Symeon Symeonides will be bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his scholarly work and significant contributions and exceptional achievements in the field of law. Peter Kakoyiannis will be bestowed with the Community Service Award for his outstanding volunteer service and dedication to the community and for promoting the ideals and values of Hellenism.

The Testimonial Dinner organized by FCAO—the leading organization dedicated to the promotion of Greek Cypriot cultural heritage in the United States—will be co-chaired by His Excellency Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.

The Annual Testimonial Dinner of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations is held every September in New York. Past award recipients include: His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, then-United States Senator Joseph Biden, the former Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Costas Karamanlis, Dr. Chrysostomos Nikias, President of the University of Southern California, Nikos Kotzias, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina, numerous United States Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as prominent American businessmen and philanthropists.


Symeon C. Symeonides was born and raised in Lythrodontas, Cyprus. After completing his military obligations, he earned a scholarship to study at the University of Thessaloniki Law School, from where he graduated in record time with the highest grade in that school's history—a 10 out of 10—as well as with a second degree in political science, with a grade of 9. After again serving in the National Guard during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, he earned another scholarship from Harvard University, from where he received a Master in Law (LL.M.) and a Doctorate in Juridical Science (S.J.D.). He also holds two honorary Doctor of Laws degrees and a Ph.D. He began his teaching career at the University of Thessaloniki in 1976 and continued at Louisiana State University (1978-99), where he held the Judge Albert Tate Chair in Law and served as Vice-Chancellor (1991-97). In 1999, he was elected Dean of Willamette University College of Law in Oregon and served in that capacity until 2011. Since then he occupies the Alex L. Parks Distinguished Chair in Law. He has taught at The Hague Academy of International Law, ...N.Y.U., and the universities of Paris-I (Sorbonne), Paris-V (Descartes), Aix-en-Provence, Louvain-la-Neuve, Tulane, Loyola, and East China, where he holds the title of honorary professor. He has lectured in more than fifty universities in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Symeonides has published 27 books and 135 articles, some of which appear in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, or Spanish. The Stanford Law Review characterized him as "the giant" of private international law (v. 60 at 249), and The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law as "the world's leading expert on comparative conflicts law today" (at 1380). The American Society of International Law honored one of his books as "masterful" and "indispensable" (2015), and the Michigan Law Review (vol. 103) described another of his books as a "brilliant contribution to legal theory, an impressive, original, one-of-a-kind book," as well as "engrossing" and "often magnetic, a page-turner." Other reviewers have called him "the father of codification" and "the undisputed leader of the field worldwide" and have characterized his work as "classic and authoritative," "path-breaking," "transformative," "absolutely remarkable," "outstanding," "brilliant," "monumental," "always fascinating," "always astonishing," "unparalleled," "impeccable" "precious," "fantastic," "fabulous," "terrific," "irreplaceable," "indispensable," "invaluable," "splendid" and "legendary."

The supreme courts of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel have repeatedly cited his work, which has been honored with: five scholarly prizes; a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Comparative Law (2015); the publication of A Tribute to Symeon C. Symeonides, 60 La. L. Rev. 1035-1399 (2000); and resolutions of appreciation by the AALS Section of Conflict of Laws (for his "enormously influential" publications (1998)), the Asociación Americana de Derecho Internacional Privado (for "his outstanding career and his exceptional contribution to the advancement of private international law" (2010)), and the Academia Mexicana de Derecho Privado y Comparado, which named its 34th national congress in his honor (2011).

Symeonides served as president of the International Association of Legal Science (2013-17), the American Society of Comparative Law (2006-10), and the AALS Section of Conflicts of Laws (1999, 2014), and vice president of the International Academy of Comparative Law (2010-12). He is a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, life member of the American Law Institute and the Groupe Européen de Droit International Privé, member of the Institut de Droit International, Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Coif, and a fellow of the European Law Institute.

Symeonides is active in law reform. He drafted the Louisiana codification on Conflict of Laws, the Oregon codification for tort conflicts, and a draft Code of Private International Law for Puerto Rico. He has provided legislative advice to the ..E.U. Parliament and the governments of Cyprus, Estonia, Russia, and Tunisia. He was a member of the Expert's Group that drafted the Hague Convention on Recognition of Foreign Judgments and currently serves as Adviser in drafting the Third Restatement on Conflict of Laws for the American Law Institute and as Supervisor in drafting the Asian Principles of Private International Law.

Symeonides has always been involved in the Cyprus cause, especially since the Turkish invasion, which he barely survived. He was a rifleman in the battalion that defended the Koutsoventis-Mia Milia line under the leadership of hero Tasos Markou. Later on, he served for 16 years as honorary consul for Cyprus and as pro bono consultant to the law firm that represented Cyprus in recovering the Kanakaria mosaics. During the Cyprus presidency of the ..E.U. Council, he moved to Brussels and represented the Presidency in all civil law matters. He continues to represent Cyprus in the drafting and negotiation of Hague conventions. He also chaired the committees that selected the first professors of the Law Department of the University of Cyprus and served as chair of its first governing board.


Peter Kakoyiannis was born in Brooklyn, New York, and he is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and attended Herbert H. Lehman College where he received his degree (1970 B.A. in economics). Following his graduation from college, he served six years in the New York Army National Guard while pursuing a law degree at St. John’s University. At St. John’s University, he received a scholarship for his skills in advocacy and was awarded a Moot Court Scholarship and became a Member of the Moot Court Board. Prior to graduation, he interned with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York working on immigration and bankruptcy matters.

Following his completion of Law School in 1974, he worked for the Firm of Argriou & Finkel and then, as Associate General Counsel for the Bank of Commerce. Ultimately, he established the firm of Schiff, Turk & Kakoyiannis where he proceeded to specialize as a real estate attorney in Cooperative and Condominium law and has done so for the last 40 years. In 1996 the Firm of Schiff, Turk & Kakoyiannis merged with Edwards & Angell, a Rhode Island firm and he was one of the Managing Partners in the Real Estate Group in New York.

He currently is a member of the firm of Eiseman Levine Lehrhaupt & Kakoyiannis, P.C., having been admitted to practice law in New York since 1975. He is a member of several Federal Courts including the Second Circuit and the State Courts of New York and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His specialization in the firm is in transactional real estate and particular cooperatives and condominiums, as well as representing Lenders in commercial financings. In addition, he has been involved in representing the Governments of the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Cyprus in both inbound and outbound matters. He has been a speaker on cooperative and condominium law and is involved in representing numerous developers and, sponsors before the New York State Attorney General’s Office. He counsels numerous Cooperative and Condominium Boards on their daily issues.    

Being active in various community organizations including Counsel to the Hellenic American Bankers Association, Counsel and Board Member of St. Basil Academy, Cyprus Children’s Fund, Inc., and having served as Second Vice President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations where he presently serves as Counsel, has given him a unique perspective as to Community issues. As President of the Cyprus U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Inc. he helped establish several initiatives to expand the footprint of the Chamber in the business Communities between the United States and Cyprus. He also serves on the Board of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, was past President of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Trenton, New Jersey, and is a former Member of the Archdiocese Council’s Legal Committee. He was also a member of the Insurance Sub-Committee Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (“GOA”) that developed a national insurance program for the GOA and all its related organizations. In 1998 he was invested to Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, and currently is on the National Council of the Order of St. Andrew as Chairman of the Audit Committee. In addition to representing several local Community organizations he also has acted as Special Counsel in both national and local non-profits on a Pro Bono basis. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Grey Nun Academy, in Yardley, Pennsylvania and also serves on the LMT Airport Task Force for Trenton Mercer Airport.

As a consistent supporter of voluntarism, he is engaged in the issues involving Cyprus and Religion Freedom both locally and in Washington, DC. He has worked consistently along with members of other organizations to support their mission as well as to ensure their success. He and his wife, Joanne, reside in Yardley, Pennsylvania and have three children.


For More Information:

Tasoula Manaridis

Federation of Cypriot American Organizations

Tel. (516) 399-2295


« Back

© 2019 Federation of Cypriot American Organizations - A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization