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Independence Day Celebration (Houston - March 22, 2012)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

On Thursday, March 22, 2012 the Consulate of Greece in Houston hosted a reception at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral to celebrate Greek Independence Day.  This reception was open to all Greeks and American citizens of Greek descent and was attended by members of the City of Houston, foreign diplomats, entrepreneurs and members of the Greek community in Houston.  Mr. Peter Brown, representing Mrs. Anise Parker, Mayor of the City of Houston, presented the Consul with a Proclamation declaring March 25th Greek Independence Day.  Please find the Consul’s speech below as well as photographs from the event.

Honorable Mr. Brown
Honorable members of the Consular Corps
Dear guests,
Αγαπητοί συμπατριώτες,

It is my great honor and privilege to welcome you to the celebration of the Greek Independence Day, the most important day of the year for the Greek nation. March 25, 1821 marked the birth of the modern Greek state, of a self-governing and independent state, with sovereign citizens and with a political and economic philosophy inspired by the big achievements and heritage of ancient Greece and European enlightment.

Ever since, Greece, despite two devastating world wars, a civil war, and a series of dictatorships, but thanks to the patriotism, homogeneity and determination of its people, proceeded in the accomplishment of all its national aspirations, enjoying an equal treatment and high privileges among the developed nations of modern world. Today, Greece is a stable democracy, an integral part of all the major European and international organizations and a permanent advocate of peace and prosperity in the Balkans, in the south Mediterranean and in the Middle East.

Its strategic location, in the crossroads of Europe, Minor Asia and Middle East, combined with a highly qualified multi-language working force and an appropriate infrastructure, are among its various assets for developing significant business opportunities. Every year close to 15 million tourists, from different parts of the world, experience the incomparable Greek hospitality, enjoy its natural beauties, its famous islands, and visit its unique ancient sites where the history of human societies first began. In addition, Greece is one of the strongest and most important maritime countries of the world. For years, the Greek-owned fleet ranks first, worldwide, in number of ships, possessing 20% of the world fleet, and 15% of world capacity, while the Greek ship-owners emerged, in 2011, as the main protagonists in buying and selling boats, investing a total of 8.5 billion U.S. $ in newbuildings.

Ladies and gentlemen,
For the last two years the great potential of Greece has been overshadowed by a constant talk about the economic problems the country has been facing. After a long period of uncertainty and consultations there is now room for optimism. The Euro group’s decision, reached two weeks ago, about a significant hair cut in the value of bonds held by private creditors, reduces the risk of default and confirms Greece’s place in Europe. It gives us the time and means we need to emerge from this crisis. It opens a prospect of hope that Greece will be able to lay the foundations for recovery, will revitalize the real economy and create jobs.

Dealing with the crisis requires changing the development model followed in recent years and at last emphasize on growth. But first and foremost requires changing ourselves, our mentality and our way to do things. In addition, we need strong and good will partners who will believe in the potential of the Greek people and trust their investment to Greece. United States and Texas in particular, through its robust and booming economy, can constitute a reliable partner in taking advantages of various investment opportunities offered in the energy sector, in exchange of know how in port operations, in trade, in tourism exchanges. I hope that during my 4 years term in Houston we will be able to see increasing tourism and business mobility to and from Greece.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I ‘d like to seize this opportunity and present to you our newly arrived maritime attaché, Commander Mihail Pangalos, an experienced officer who assumed his duties some days ago, with the mission to facilitate and enhance business operations of Greek shipping companies  and their Greek crews in the ports of Houston and in all other ports of his vast jurisdiction. I wish him all the success in his very important job.

Before I conclude, allow me to say that tonight is a very special occasion for me personally and for my staff as we are delighted to see the rich turn out of the Hellenic Diaspora of Houston. I am blessed to be working with these Greeks for the preservation and promotion of our Greek cultural heritage. I can assure you that without their encouragement and financial support this event wouldn’t have taken place. On the board, on my left, you see all these people who contributed generously to our tonight’s celebration. I want to thank all my compatriots for being close to me and for supporting me from the very beginning of my mission and I wish to strongly encourage them to continue their very important job in defending the Greek interests in the state of Texas.

Αγαπητοί έλληνες, σας ευχαριστώ βαθύτατα για την στήριξή σας και ελπίζω και στην περαιτέρω συνεργασία μας για την επίτευξη των κοινών μας στόχων.

Thank you all for honoring us this evening.

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