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Bilirakis Co-Hosts #StandWithGreece Policy Summit

October 2, 2015
Bilirakis Blog

This week, the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues hosted an inaugural “Stand with Greece” policy summit at the U.S. Capitol.

Greece is an important strategic ally of the United States, and is undergoing crises, both economic and migratory, with lasting effects likely to persist into the foreseeable future. Co-chairs Gus Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney hosted a consortium of business, academic, and policy experts from around the country and Greece to explore how U.S. policies can best be utilized to provide technical and security support to our longtime friend and ally.

Congressman Bilirakis welcomed attendees to the summit Wednesday night. Members of the Hellenic Caucus as well as prominent Greeks and experts came together to focus on Greece’s geostrategic importance in Europe and how U.S. policies can help assist with security threats in the region.

Administrative and Business Reform Discussion

  • Moderator: Professor Ismini A. Lamb, Director and Lecturer, of the Modern Greek Studies Program at Georgetown University
  • Thanos Catsambas, PhD, retired IMF Representative and economist for Greece
  • Pavlos Geroulanos, Former Minister of Tourism and Culture
  • Ted Diamantis, international importer 

The panel discussion and participants’ expertise on administrative and business reform and how it can  help bolster cooperation and growth in Greece.

A View From Greece

  • Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis
  • New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
  •  His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia


Panelists shared their perspective on the future transformations in Greece, how reform is taking hold in various regions, and how guidance and assistance from the United States can further that process. Metropolitan Gabriel explained how the church and other non-governmental actors are helping the sudden surge of refugees entering Europe through Greece.

Regional Security Discussion

  • Moderator John Sitilides, Principal at Trilogy Advisors LLC and panelists Robert D. Kaplan, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security
  • Jeff Rathke, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Europe Program at CSIS
  • Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament
  • Nikolas Katsimpras, Senior Fellow of the Hellenic American Leadership Council


Panelists discussed ways U.S. polices can help the European-wide migration problem and assist Greek military demands explore ways to engage with military and security cooperation.       

“I am so grateful for all of our participants, discussion leaders, and attendees who traveled far and wide to participate in this unprecedented event,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “This successful summit will help us create policies that will stand up our geostrategic friend and timeless  ally, Greece.”

The Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues plans to host this informative Stand with Greece policy summit on an annual basis. We are currently circulating a Hellenic Caucus wide letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to explore ways in which DHS can assist Greece with the influx of refugees. The surge of refugees and migrants in Greece has been overwhelming, and we recognize that DHS’s expertise in border control and management can assist Greece in accelerating the speed and efficiency of intake procedures.