By Stamatina Mylonas
Last weekend, the National Hellenic Student Association hosted a convention for young Greek professionals in the nation’s capital of the United States. The organisation organises as many of these events as they’re able to each year, in order to help students and young professionals grow academically, professionally, and socially. These events bring people together from all over North America, Greece, and Cyprus.
Hosted at the historic Georgetown University in Washington D.C., attendees and guests were welcomed with delicious Greek food, Georgetown cupcakes, goodies like NHSA t-shirts, and of course the brilliant and influential speakers!
Among the speakers was the Greek Ambassador to the U.S., Haris Lalacos and the Cypriot Ambassador to the U.S., Marios Lysiotis. They discussed current events happening in the political and international fields.
Accomplished Greek Professors teaching at prominent universities like the University of Maryland and the George Washington University, also shared their insight and experiences. Professor Polyvia Parara specialises in Modern Greek studies and has done extensive research in the subject of ancient Greek poetry and politics. Professor Harris Mylonas’ specialisation is in political science and international affairs and has authored books on the subject, one of which is titled 'The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities'. In their panel, they discussed politics and policies intended on including the Greek diaspora in practices like voting rights.
There was no shortage of inspiration and accomplishment in the room, as attendees were also joined by prominent Greek entrepreneurs, business professionals, and policy-makers. Among them were Andy and Mike Manatos, well known policy-makers in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and Executive Branch. As well as, Nick Larigakis the President and COO of the American Hellenic Institute, and Nick Papas the Global Press Secretary of Airbnb.
All the speakers have long lists of accomplishments and contributions, not only to the Greek community but also to their home in the United States. It was an uplifting experience hearing about their careers and speaking with them, gathering as much knowledge and advice as possible. It was also an opportunity to meet people and establish relationships with like-minded people.
The next convention will take place in Toronto, Canada in March (date to be determined). Make sure to follow National Hellenic Student Association on social media to stay informed about these upcoming events, the topics covered, and the speakers coming. If you want to meet influential people in the Greek community, network, learn, and make friends, then this event is perfect for you!
In addition to hosting conferences, NHSA also gives back to charities, organises annual beach clean ups in Athens every summer sponsored by The Hellenic Initiative, and has also partnered with the Ariston Foundation to give scholarships to accomplished students.
The NHSA tries their best to keep costs down for ticket prices to such conferences and events. These ticket costs only cover a portion of the funds needed to host and organise conferences. The NHSA covers the difference because they believe in the benefits and influence this conference can give young professionals. In order to continue putting on these events, donations are greatly appreciated, whether large or small! If you would like to donate and contribute to bettering the Hellenic community please visit the organisation’s website.
*Photos courtesy of NHSA and Ashley Melton