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Viewpoint: Paul Kotrotsios and the 25th Anniversary of Hellenic news of America

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paulkotrotsiosselfaverticalleftBy Catherine Tsounis

 

 

          October 14th, 2012 is a unique moment in Greek American Society. It marks a quarter century of work by the Hellenic News of America (HNA) newspaper. The 25th Anniversary celebration will be held at the Concordville Inn-Best Western Hotel & conference Center in Concordville, Pennsylvania. Cocktails, a culture performance of Greek dancing, awards and dinner will be presented from Sunday afternoon to evening.  A 25th Anniversary Commemorative Journal will show the evolution of the HNA from 1987 to the present. Hermes International Expo has opened opportunities to business here and abroad. Hermes Young Professionals Initiative is part of the HNA’s outreach effort to preserve Greek heritage and traditions. 

An independent Scholarship Committee, chaired by Dr. Dimitri Monos, has been formed. Ten supporters of HNA have committed to donate one thousand each to the Scholarship committee each year. Person involved in the gala’s organization include: Chris Christakis, chairman 25th Anniversary; Hon Aris Melissaratos, Dr. Spiros Spireas and Dr. George Tsetsekos, Honorary Chairmen; Nick Demoutzidis Taki Economou; Angelo Hionis; George Horiates, Esq.; Dr. Angelo Karakasis; Paul Kotrotsios; George Raissias, Esq. Yiannis Sianis and Constantine Stephano, Co-Chairs. The support and participation of the American public will help HNA remain strong and continue in the future.

Persons and businesses are encouraged to take advantage of this special offer. Event sponsorship packages are available by July 30, 2012. Tickets can be reserved for the Symposium and Dinner Awards Gala as well as Journal ads at 6100 446-1463 and fax 610 4463189. For more information visit info@hellenicnews.com.

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         The person behind these accomplishments is Paul Kotrotsios. He is a Greek American known for being a creator of opportunities. His supportive family and friends has worked with him to mainstream trade, business and professional outlets to the American public.

A Congressional Proclamation was issued by the Hon. Robert E. Andrews of the United State House of Representatives, First District, New Jersey. It states “the Hellenic News of America has, since 1987, advocated for Hellenic-American Interests, strengthened connections within the Hellenic-American community and educated Greek Americans and Philhellenes about current national issues pertinent to their communities; and Whereas, the Hellenic news of America is furthering higher education through scholarships to promising youth in the Hellenic-American community; and Whereas, the Hellenic news of America celebrates its 25th anniversary after a quarter century of service to its readers.”

The Balkans, a land rich in natural resources, has had governments that have destroyed its own people. A Balkan thirst for an outlet to the sea has created turbulence in the history of Greece. This continues in 2012. Paul Kotrotsios, MBA President of the Hellenic American National Council, is requesting congressmen such as the Hon. Robert E. Andrews, to not support FYROM’s entry into NATO or the idea of a United Macedonia. Mr. Kotrotsios expressed the stand that he was “extremely concerned with the efforts of 54 Congressmen to promote the FYROM’s invitation to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during its upcoming Chicago Summit in May by cosigning a letter to President Obama and supporting House Resolution4243. As one of 2 million Greek Americans I want to convey my strong objections to an invitation to this summit. It would be ill advised for the simple reasons that the FYROM creates hostility, regional instability and advocates irredentism in an effort to boast internal nationalism. Additionally, it promotes an identity that is not its own thereby threatening the harmony and stability of the entire region. It is the only country in Europe that fuels serious and entirely distinct conflicts in relation to its neighbors (NATO member countries, Greece and Bulgaria with no effort for immediate resolution. Through the country’s education system, the political elite and citizenry have adopted and cultivated the idea of a ‘United Macedonia’, that claims neighboring lands.” Mr. Kotrotsios’ role as a political activist is attempting to foster peace.

Senator John P. Sarbanes of the 3rd District, Maryland, believes “since 1987 Paul Kotrotsios’ tireless efforts have grown and strengthened the journalistic qualities of the Hellenic News. Today, in its 20th year, the Hellenic News has grown in stature and prestige, and holds a well-deserved place as one of the finest and most informative newspapers in the Greek-American Community.” He continues saying “Through its energetic outreach efforts the Hellenic News has helped to strengthen the Greek-American Community by putting together a host of business networking events, informative discussion forums as well as promoting other collaborative affairs. The Hellenic News deserves our support for all its good efforts, so that we may ensure that the next 20 years see even greater success.”

Edward G. Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania, said “our unique heritages and diversity contribute to our rich cultural fabric and make the freedoms of speech and association that we enjoy as Americans so extraordinary. As the swift tide of globalization advances, it has never been more important to foster unity and pride within a community of those who share a common heritage and bridge the divide that exists between different cultures.”

Governor Rendell fervently believes that “For the past 20 years, the HNA has seen the Greek-American community go through tremendous change and has been a prominent part of its preservation and development. The HNA has helped many Greek-Americans stay connected with Greece, build valuable financial ties between America and Greece, and develop social relationships around the world.”Chris_christakis_Rendell_Paul_kotrotsios_2008

 

            Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States said he is “proud of..... connections to the Greek-/American community. …I will continue to rely on you …Thank you for your good advice all these years and congratulations on a remarkable success story.”

            His Excellency, Metropolitan Evangelos of the Metropolis of New Jersey, believes that “from the beginning you (Kotrotsios) had a clear idea to publish a fine newspaper expressing the Greek Voice throughout America. The circulation and growth of your publication is the result of your enthusiasm, intellectual ability, your faith in the Greek ideology and traditions are the result of your phenomenal success.”

            Elias Tomazos, president of the Hellenic Society Paideia, believes the Hellenic News is a “fountain of wisdom and strength of the Greek language. All know of your great love for your family that represents a role model of traditional Greek values in America. Thank you for your support of the Hellenic Society Paideia that has encouraged our growth.”

           Anthony C. Skoutelas, former principal of the Odyssey Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware, says “The contributions by the HNA over the years and especially in promoting Paedeia are indeed appreciated. You have often reported on our school activities and accomplishments and this fact has not gone unnoticed.” Yiorgo Chouliaras, Director of Greek Press and Communications Office in Washington, D.C., adds that “the Hellenic News community news reporting is an honor to the Hellenes who struggle to make their communities a success. You encourage young persons to continue promoting their communities’ goals.”

College youth leaders believe in the Hellenic News of America mission. Georgia Pyrros, former President of the The Hellenic University Club of Wilmington, Delaware asserts that “the contributions of HNA over the years have been felt in the improvement of our total communications within and between the various organizations. On behalf of the members of the Hellenic University Club of Wilmington, I thank you for the great service to the Greek Community and wish you continued success.

A unique Memorial Tribute for Dr. Constantine Georgiou was held at the Cochrane Room of New York University on Friday, January 21, 2011. The Event was sponsored by the Hellenic American Educators Association, UFT (HAEA). A visit to the Constantine Georgiou Children’s Library and Research Center for Children’s Literature at 82 Washington Square was taken. Paul Kotrotsios, Editor of the Hellenic News and founder of Hermes Expo and Stavroula Kotrotsios, Assistant Editor of the Hellenic News and Pre-Law Cum Laud Senior at Villanova University, attended in a blizzard from Pennslyvania. They believed in the Late Professor Georgiou’s mission as an educator. Their presence added to the importance of this late educator’s legacy.

Vassiliki Filiotis, President of the Greek Teachers Association Prometheus said “We would like to thank Paul Kotrotsios for inviting us to attend and be honored at the 2010 -2012 Hermes Expos. This is a wonderful event. We must support heroes of Greek education. Mr. Kotrotsios presentation honoring our educators is unique.” “Congratulations to the Federation of Hellenic Teachers in the USA and The Greek Teacher Association Prometheus,” said Paul Kotrotsios. “We honor a group of teachers from 2010-2012 at Hermes International Expo. They have distinguished themselves in their profession. Their devotion to the Hellenic principles and ideals are exemplary. They are passing the torch of the values of Hellenic Education to our youth. They keep alive the importance of Hellenism to our community and the United States. We thank President Stella Kokolis and the Board of the Federation of Hellenic Teachers in the USA, Vassiliki Filiotis and the Board of the Greek Teachers Association Prometheus for coming each year.”

           “A physician is worth more than several other men put together, for he can cut out arrows and spread healing herbs, “said Homer in Book XI of the Iliad. The foundation of modern medicine is traced to the ancient Greeks. They had doctors who made scientific observations and practiced medicine. Surgery was done. Herbs were applied. Specialists existed, including gynecologists who specialized in childbirth and diseases of women.
Since 2010, Hermes Expo International is perpetuating this respect for medicine in the outstanding Hippocrates Seminars. A unique medical symposium, organized by the Board of Directors, Education and Cultural Programming Committee of the Hellenic Medical Society of Philadelphia in conjunction with the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, is held. This is an annual three credit hour CME event initiated by Mr. Kotrotsios.

“The Youth of a Nation are the trustees of posterity,” said Benjamin Disraeli, British politician and author. This is the guiding force behind the Hermes Young Professionals INIATIVE (HYPI). Networking and synergizing (cooperation with one another) was the focus of the February 252012 Saturday luncheon at the Martinique Café of the Radisson Hotel at 32nd St. and Broadway, New York. It’s not only about whom you know, but how well they know you,” says Paul Kotrotsios, the President and Founder of Hermes Expo International. Hermes Expo is in its 21st year gathering Hellenes, and Phil-Hellenes together from all fields in America, Greece and Europe. We have the honor of associating with successful figures of the world. 2012 Hermes Expo International represents an exchange of ideas, synergizing, learning from a variety of business, education seminars, symposiums and seeing services and products of the world market.”hna_hermes_youth_cover

 

We in the business and education sectors must keep Hellenism and our ethics alive. We must not assimilate and forget our roots,” Kotrotsios said. “The Greek-American education community must join with us at the 19th Annual Hermes Expo to present books of Greek literature. Today, more than ever, we need to work more intensively towards the perpetuation of our traditions and our youth.”

“Today, our economic crisis will unite us spiritually,” Kotrotsios explained in a recent interview. “Persons from the Balkans, Greece and Romania will present opportunities for advancement. We plan to unite all Hellenes and Phil-Hellenes in words and projects. Hermes will present the business sectors from every part of Greece. Greek regions include: Kavala, Karpathos and Kasos in the Dodecanese Islands, the Municipality of Thessaloniki and Helexpo, Larissa and Patra. Over the years, hundreds of exhibitors have come from all over the world to attend this unique business and networking opportunity, Hermes Expo International. The countries represented are Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Romania, the Municipality of Xeimara, the United States and Greek-American businesses that are the backbone of the Hermes Expo.”

SAE USA Youth from hosted a mentor fair at the 20th Hermes Expo International through Mr. Kotrotsios’ encouragement. The Mentor Fair consisted of specialized workshops. Mentors from the fields of entrepreneurship and banking, medicine, law and engineering will come together to provide the youth with guidance and advice for the future. At the Green Symposium, experts and community activists presented past developments and innovative ideas on conserving the environment.

National journalist George S. Larmour, in The News of Delaware County, Havertown, August 1, 2002, wrote an outstanding description of the mission of The Hellenic News. “The Hellenic News of America has been keeping Greek-Americans informed about developments in their native country as well as their local community since 1987,” he says. “Mr. Kotrotsios realized there was a gap in the community. Introducing a Greek, bilingual newspaper was a booming success. It was a link to Greece. Hermes Expo was founded in 1992. It was named after the Greek God of Trade and Communication. The Expo is a yearly 
event taking place in late spring at Atlantic City, New Jersey. The main goal is to promote trade relations between Greece and the United States of America.”

The publisher was born in the village of Parakalamo, Yiannina. “Kotrotsios, 52, traveled to the United States from Greece in 1979 after receiving a degree in economics from the University of Thessaloniki,” Larmour states in his article. “I (Kotrotsios) never knew that I was going into the publishing business.” Paul Kotrotsios began the newspaper in 1987 with the help and advice of a handful of friends. He earned a Master’s degree in Business from St. Joseph’s University in 1984. Paul Kotrotsios and his wife, Linda, have three daughters: Aphrodite, Stavroula and Joanna.”

A remarkable moment for the Municipality of Thessaloniki unfolded on April 27th, 28th and 29th at the 2007 Hermes Expo at Trump Marina Hotel and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Municipality of Thessaloniki and Helexpo reinforced the image that their city is the bridge to the American economy and society. Paul “Pavlos” Kotrotsios, the founder and organizer of Hermes Expo, is viewed differently by all. One fact remains: Kotrotsios is the catalyst for opening trade relations between Thessaloniki and Philadelphia, Jersey City, and possibly Baltimore, Maryland.

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor,’ said Aristotle. Vasilis Bollanos is the Mayor of Himara, the Greek speaking region of Northern Epirus, Albania was introduced to the American public the 2011 Hermes Expo International. Mr. Kotrotsios is making the Expo a gateway for trade and freedom of expression within the Balkans.

Pyrros Dimas, the Greek weight-lifting athlete who will go down in history as the only person to win four gold medals in his field, was presented that Hermes Awards at the 2012 Hermes International Expo gala. A thrilled middle class America shook hands with a legend. This is the greatness of Paul Kotrotsios’ character: remembering the working class that makes things happen. Mr. Kotrotsios is emerging as a force to combat globalism and the elimination of Greek ethnic heritage, language and culture.

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Linda Kotrotsios has been the force in the shadows of Hermes Expo for twenty-one years... “We are very happy to present Hermes Expo in our current economy,” she said. She has raised three outstanding daughters, Aphrodite, Stavroula and Joanna while supporting her husband Paul in his business ventures. She is the mentor of her family, the cement of this unique business enterprise. Mrs. Kotrotsios is to be commended for her administration of Hermes Expo in this time of economic depression.

The Kotrotsios family has the same determination and focus to succeed. “When you help and uplift your community, you help uplift yourself. This was a guiding principle that influenced and inspired me to be involved and give back to my community,” said Aphrodite Kotrotsios, the main force behind the “Hermes Young Professionals Initiative”. Stavroula Kotrotsios added “it was first communicated to me by my first mentor, Paul Kotrotsios, my Father. His guidance and support along with his friends helped me to succeed today as a law student.”

          I have followed the works of Paul Kotrotsios since the mid 1990’s. He is a humble, self-made man who believes “to have a friend one must be a friend”. He has aided immigrants and Americans search for economic opportunities. He is a reflection of the many supporters of Hellenism from the mountains of Epirus (that includes the Mother of Alexander the Great). The quarter century work of Paul Kotrotsios shows his unique mission to keep Hellenism alive.

 

Photo 1: Paul Kotrotsios

Photo 2: 20th Anniversary Cover, 2007

Photo 3: Chris Christakis, Ed Rendell, Paul Kotrotsios

Photo 4: Hermes Young Professionals Initiative cover, 2012

Photo 5: Pyrros Dimas receiving the Hermes Award at the 2012 Hermes Expo 

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