Press Release – April 26th, 2015

New York – The Association of Greek American Professional Women (A.G.A.P.W.) would like to express the deepest gratitude to our Honoree, Ambassador Loucas Tsilas and his wife, Mrs. Penelope Tsilas; moderator Dr. Elena Frangakis-Syrett; Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Aphrodite Navab; Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in New York, Ambassador Vassilis Philippou and his wife, Mrs. Anthi Philippou; Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas; the Press and Communication Counselor of Greece to the UN, Mr. Nikolaos Papaconstantinou and his wife Mrs. Marina Papaconstantinou; all the distinguished guests, the sponsors, and all who contributed toward making possible the great success of AGAPW’s Trailblazers Dinner Series, Honoring Ambassador Loucas Tsilas for his 50 years of public service.

Ambassador Loucas Tsilas is former Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. and Executive Director of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation USA (2000-2015). He is currently a Professor at Queens College – CUNY. He holds degrees in law and economics from the University of Athens, and a Master’s in Political Science from the State University of Louisiana, New Orleans.

Ambassador Tsilas began his career as an attorney in Athens, Greece (1963-1965). He entered the Greek Foreign Ministry in 1965, serving in Athens until 1968 in the Department of Balkan States. His roles at home and abroad have included: Embassy of Greece in Bucharest (1968-1972); Consul in New Orleans, Louisiana (1972-1975); Political Counselor, Greek Embassy, Washington, D.C. (1975-1979); Deputy Director, Department of NATO and European Security Affairs, Greek Foreign Ministry (1979-1980); Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Foreign Minister (1980-1981); Consul General of Greece in Paris (1981-1987); Ambassador of Greece to South Africa (1987-1990); and Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Prime Minister of Greece (1991-1993).

From 1993-1998, Ambassador Tsilas served as Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. and from 1998-2000 he served as Ambassador-Permanent Representative of Greece to the European Union in Brussels. Notably, he was a member of the committee, which organized the successful bid for the 2004 Athens Olympics. From 2000 to 2015 Ambassador Tsilas served as Executive Director of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation USA.

The program opened with AGAPW’S VP and Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Aphrodite Navab warmly welcoming the distinguished guests. President and Founder of AGAPW Dr. Olga Alexakos thanked the guests and presented a brief overview of the organization’s mission and programs. Dr. Frangakis-Syrett, Professor of Economic History at Queens College, and Graduate Center, CUNY, introduced the Honoree and lead the participants in a, insightful and captivating discussion. The Officers and Directors of AGAPW kindly offered Ambassador Tsilas a special symbolic pen with the wish that he writes his autobiography and shares his invaluable experience of a 50-year long illustrious and exceptional career as a diplomat. The discussion commenced with Ambassador Tsilas narrating to the audience great anecdotal stories about his public service as a traditional and cultural diplomat. He emphasized how communication and interpersonal skills play very strong roles in diplomacy and the representation of a country abroad. He shared with us his strongest influencers, such as Nelson Mandela, whom he met personally when he served as Ambassador of Greece in South Africa. He is especially proud of his family, his wife Penelope, his two wonderful children and five grandchildren, who he considers his greatest accomplishment. Ambassador Vrailas remarked that Ambassador Tsilas is a legend, a role model for every diplomat. The discussion concluded with Ambassador Tsilas noting that fortunately he hasn’t reached Ithaca yet and thanking his wife Penelope Tsilas for supporting and encouraging him all these wonderful years. Mrs. Penelope Tsilas closed the evening with her wish for all Greeks to be united and to work together as one, in her words: η ισχύς εν τη ενώσει. A wonderful surprise was a magnificent performance of Miki Theodorakis’s song by the talented Soprano Flora Kyrou.

Among the distinguished guests, a who’s who of the Greek diaspora in New York, were Ms. Nancy Papaioannou, President of Atlantic Bank and the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Maria Sereti, Onassis Foundation USA; Dr. Kathryn Yatrakis, Dean of Academic Affairs, Columbia University; Dr. Thomas Papathomas, Dean Rutgers University; Ms. Liz Tsaoussis, Director, Children’s Museum of Manhattan; Mrs. Lila Prounis; Mr. Neil Jewel and Mrs. Lisa Papamarkou Jewel; Ms. Gloria Cressler; Dr. Apostolos Tambakis; Dr. George Maragos and Mrs. Olga Maragos; Dr. Kyrou; Dr. John Xethalis.

The event was held at the elegant private dining room at Limani Restaurant, (45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111). Our special thanks to Limani restaurant for the great hospitality and delicious dinner.

A special thanks to Photographer Maria Tolios of Tolios Photography for her complimentary photography services.

We would like to acknowledge our 2015 Sponsors:

— Benefactors —
Atlantic Bank of New York; Folli Follie; Dr. Aphrodite Navab; Mrs. Katina Navab; Ms. Irene Sarri.

— Supporters —
Aerial Design and Build; Dr. Olga Alexakos; Dr. Eleni Andreopoulou; Nicholas and Alexandra Colombos; Onassis Cultural Foundation USA.

— Friends —
Ms. Effie Lekas; Opportunity Resources; Dr. Katherine Schwab; Dr. Apostolos Tambakis.

For further information about the Trailblazers Dinner Series and the mission of The Association of Greek American Professional Women, please contact Dr. Olga Alexakos at 917-405-6833 or Please visit us at

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