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Hellenic Society of Constantinople Holds Annual Gala

Dr. James Dimitriou Receives his award from Chairman Nick Begakis
Dr. James Dimitriou (center) and his son (left) receives his award from HSC Chairman Nick Begakis (right).


The Hellenic Society of Constantinople held its annual gala at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles on Saturday January 24, 2015. This was the 48th consecutive year for the organization’s main event which honored Dr. James Dimitriou.

Every year the society honors a person of Greek descent at their annual dinner – gala. Past honorees included names of the entertainment industry such as Clint Eastwood, Jim Gianopulos, Costas Mandylor, Billy Zane and Nia Vardalos.

“We are very happy to honor one of our own, Dr. James Dimitriou, not only because of his extraordinary achievements and philanthropy but because of his Greek heritage that descends from Constantinople, specifically from the island of Marmara” said HSC President Mike Begakis.

Dr. James F. Dimitriou is a noted educator, grant recipient and former Director for the “Journey to Greece,” travel study program. He has taken over 2400 students to Greece in over 25 years of directing study abroad programs.

View pictures of the event below:

As a Past AHEPA Supreme President, Dimitriou served in a variety of educational programs over many years. He has served as National AHEPA Education Chairman and Chairman of the Cyprus & Hellenic Affairs Committee. Currently, he is on the Board for Hellenext, the Next Generation Initiative and the American Hellenic Council. Dimitriou was named “Archon Notarios,” of the Order of Saint Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2004.

The Hellenic Society of Constantinople was founded by a group of Greek Americans who came to the US from Constantinople (moden day Istanbul) looking for a better future. The Founders of the organization were Yani Begakis, Kleo Lee, Steven Chakiris, Gregory Kokkinos, Mike Tsakoumakis, Panos Chrisostomides and Christine Amato. The mission of the society is to maintain and perpetuate the traditions of the Hellenes of Constantinople.

The primary fund raiser is the Annual Vasilopita Dinner Dance with the traditional gold coin. Kleo Lee and Marika Begakis used to provide and bake the vasilopitas for the events. Mary Morrison continues the tradition by baking all the vasilopitas for the event. Vassilopita is a Greek cake made once a year, for New Year’s Eve (or for subsequent New Year’s celebrations). It includes a coin that brings luck to the person who gets it.

To learn more about the Hellenic Society of Constantinople visit the organizations official website.

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