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12 Greeks that Inspired Us in 2013

Greeks_of_20132013 was a tough year marked by disasters and negative news. During this difficult time, some people managed to shine in their respective fields and realize their dreams while helping the world become a better place. Here, we present 12 Greeks that inspired us in 2013:

Adele ExarchopoulosGreek-French actress Adele Exarchopoulos was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes film festival for her role in the film Blue is the Warmest Colour (original title: La Vie d’ Adele). Read the full story here.

antetokounmpo_390_2806-300x176He wasn’t on Greece’s national team, but 18-year-old Yiannis Antetokounmpo of Nigerian descent, became the country’s youngest player to be drafted by the National Basketball Association, picked at number 15 by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. Read the full story here.
Diana_Nyad_record_swimmer_GreekGreek-American swimmer Diana Nyad completes 110-mile Cuba to Florida Swim. Diana broke the world record at 64. As soon as she waded ashore she said to a cheering crowd: ”We should never, ever give up … You never are too old to chase your dreams.” Read the full story here.
Nitzia LogothetisNitzia Logothetis together with her husband George Logothetis, founded Seleni Institute, a non profit-organization aimed at transforming mental health and wellness for women. Seleni, based at a state-of-the-art facility in New York City, was created to better address the unique mental health needs of women and their families through funding research, raising and providing awareness and providing clinical care. Read the full story here.
Vassilis AngelopoulosA team of scientists led by Vassilis Angelopoulos, professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA), discovered the driving force and mechanism of the Earth’s magnetic field which creates space storms and the aurora at the Earth’s poles. Read the full story here.

chess championA major success for the Greek chess team came from the Kavala Chess Club member Stavroula Tsolakidou who won first place at the World Individual Championships in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi, in the category for girls under 14-years-old and was crowned world champion. Read the full story here.

Panayiotis_behrakis_Antismoking_campaign_HEARTThe Behrakis Foundation and George D. Behrakis have funded an unprecedented campaign to help Greeks quit smoking. The campaign and research is conducted by Harvard University in collaboration with Panayiotis Behrakis of the University of Athens, School of Medicine. The HEART program has already showed great results, changing the mentality of Greeks towards their favorite lethal habit, smoking. Read the full story here.
KalangosGreek pediatric cardiac surgeon from Istanbul, Afksendiyod Kalangos, and his team perform everyday surgeries to children from the poorest parts of the world for free and wherever they need him: Lebanon, Georgia, Serbia, Cyprus, India, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritius Mozambique, Eritrea, Kirgizstan, Madagascar, Venezuela, Ukraine, Botswana and more. Dr Kalangos works 18 hours a day, but, as he says, he never looks at his watch. Read the full story here.
Van VlahakisDr. Van Vlahakis, CEO and owner of green cleaning products manufacturer Earth Friendly Products was one of the first businessmen of diaspora to open a sister company in Greece and show his support to the country’s recovering economy. Earth Friendly Products Hellas which will pave the way for a production facility that will service Europe, the Middle East and Africa was inaugurated in Summer of 2013. “Greece has fallen on hard times, and I feel it’s my duty as a Greek American to take some of my success back to Greece. We hope we can lead by example and encourage other Greek American businesses to consider getting involved in restoring the Greek economy,” says Vlahakis.  Read the full story here.
John KalafatisGreek-owned Skyline Restoration has made it to Crain’s 50 fastest growing companies of New York City. Owned by entrepreneur John Kalafatis, who is expanding his group of companies to include film studios, Skyline has experienced a tremendous 166.7% growth rate in the last three years. Since its inception in 1989, Skyline Restoration has built its sterling reputation on the hard work and dedication of John Kalafatis and his staff. The company is among the top building restoration firms in the New York metropolitan area. Read the full story here.

Alexandros AvranasAlexandros Avranas’ second feature, “Miss Violence,” made big waves at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The film, a shocking story about an 11-year-old girl who commits suicide on her birthday, won the Silver Lion Best Director Award as well as the Volpi Cup Best Actor award for one of its stars, Themis Panou. It’s the latest in a series of Greek films (Lanthimos’ “Dogtooth,” Tsangari’s “Attenberg”) to put a spotlight on the country’s cinema, which has been garnering much attention on the festival circuit, most notably in the last few years. Read the full story here and Alexandros’ interview here.
Catarina SikiniotisCatarina Sikiniotis, 18, born to a Greek father and Portuguese mother, was crowned Miss Portugal in 2013 and will represent her country in the Miss World contest next year. Read the full story here.

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