U.S. Ambassador George Tsunis was declared an honorary citizen of Greece’s Nafpaktos in a ceremony held on Saturday.
Nafpaktos Mayor Vasilis Gizas presented the U.S. Ambassador with the honor. Speaking at the event, an emotional Tsunis expressed his deep sense of appreciation for the gesture.
“I will never forget my roots; this is my homeland,” he said.
“I was deeply honored to be made an honorary citizen in Nafpaktos, a city that will always be close to my heart. My best friends from Platanos, the village of my parents, were also there to share this very happy day with me, which I’ll always cherish,” he added.
The event was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis, former conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, several New Democracy deputies, and other local officials.
Ambassador Tsunis, the son of immigrants from Nafpaktos
Born in Queens, New York in 1967, Tsunis is the son of first-generation immigrants from the village of Platanos, located in the mountainous region of Nafpaktia.
Greek-American George J. Tsunis had officially been confirmed by the United States Senate as the next Ambassador of the United States to Greece following a voice vote late in the evening on March 10, 2022.
In May 2022, he arrived in Athens and posted his first message on Twitter in Greek: “Good morning from Athens,” he wrote.
He added that “As the proud son of Greek immigrants, it’s an honor of a lifetime to return to Greece and serve as the next U.S. Ambassador. I am very happy.”
Καλημέρα από Αθήνα! As the proud son of Greek immigrants, it's an honor of a lifetime to return to Greece and serve as the next U.S. Ambassador. Χαίρομαι πολύ! pic.twitter.com/82B0CRQEk5
— George J. Tsunis (@USAmbassadorGR) May 7, 2022
Tsunis is a personal friend of the US President. Once proposed by former President Obama as ambassador to Norway, the businessman is said to be a personal choice of powerful Democratic philhellene senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Tsunis is the son of James and Eleni Tsunis. He earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1989 and a JD from St. John’s University School of Law in 1992.
As a practicing attorney, Tsunis was a partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler LLP. He married Olga J. Antzoulis in November 2004. They live in Lloyd Harbor, Long Island with their three children, and he has two sisters.
Tsunis is a major donor to the Democratic Party.