North Epirotic Federation of America Inaugural Meeting at Verdi’s in Whitestone (Vid & Pics)

October 19, 20195 MinutesIn News

WHITESTONE –With the participation of ten Northern Epirotic associations from across the United States, the North Epirotic Federation of America (NEFA) was formally founded at the official inauguration ceremony on October 12 at Verdi’s restaurant in Whitestone.

Members of the Organizing Committee, speaking to The National Herald focused on the need for the Northern Epirots to set up their own secondary body and to have a more autonomous structure and direction in the organized Greek community of America, given their already strong presence in public affairs. As stated in the announcement, the Federation will have the task of strengthening the relations between its members, and also reaching out to the Northern Epirotic Associations in Greece.

“It is very important for us to establish a federation. Ultimately, the Northern Epirots must take their destiny into their own hands. This is not to say that they will be cut off from the other Associations. We will continue our relationship with Panepirotic and the other Associations as they are. Our main goal was to unite the Northern Epirots,” said Pyrros Society President Constantine Tsiouris.

For her part, President of the Himarrioton Society, Anna Notis, expressed confidence that the new venture would also be supported by the new Northern Epirots, while also noting the goal of working with the Panepirotic.

“We Northern Epirots have never had our own Federation and now we have it. It will be our voice because no one else knows our problems as much as we know them. And of course we will work with Panepirotic as long as they support us, and we will fight together,” said Notis, while Angelos Bolanos, who represented the Northern Epirots of Florida, said that “this is the first time in history that the Northern Epirots have their own federation.”

“The purpose of the Federation is to assert the rights of the Northern Epirots and to preserve the culture of Northern Epirus. Along the way, we want the Associations from Greece to join. For us, now is the most important time to unite and all that we claim to claim together.”

The inaugural meeting of the North Epirotic Federation of America was held at Verdi’s in Whitestone. Professor Nikos Lygeros, at right, was among the speakers at the event. (Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)

In his position, Professor Nikos Lygeros welcomed the founding of the North Epirotic Federation, noting that the issue should be managed with due diligence in all its extensions, both by the Greek government and by Hellenism.

“The fact that the Northern Epirots will have a federation specifically dealing with their issues is very good and I also consider it to be a sacred alliance with other Federations, such as the Panepirotic and Pan-Macedonian, and we can work together as a synergy to achieve results that would be unthinkable if we didn’t have this synergy.

“Unfortunately, so far the Greek governments have not done enough work. They have not brought up the ethnic minority in Northern Epirus, because this part of the country is important. The ethnic minority is another statue,” said Lygeros.

President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Cleanthis Meimaroglou, President of the Pan-Macedonian Association of America Dimitris Filippidis, and Laconian Federation President Timoleon Kakouros, as well as the representatives of the various Northern Epirotic associations from across the U.S., also gave their greetings at the event.

The speakers praised the particular significance of Northern Epirus as well as the Northern Epirots’ contribution to national issues, with Filippidis noting the participation of Northern Epirus associations in the rallies and the general activism on the naming issue.

Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras also sent a greeting and wished all the best for the newly established NEFA.

(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)
(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)
(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)
(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)
(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)
(Photo: TNH/ Kostas Bej)