Land ahoy!

There is nothing more simplistically beautiful than calm blue sea, stretching for as far as the eye can see. Greek seas, inspiring art, defining civilizations and providing life for millions, have been the cornerstone of every great Greek civilization to have passed. Even up to today, the Greek navy, has played an integral part in shaping our modern history. We travelled to the municipality of Paleo Faliro and the town of Piraeus, a coastal city with Greece’s biggest and most important harbor, to learn of this incredible heritage.

First stop was at Olympic Shipping and Management S.A., the company Aristotle Onasis himself founded and which continues his legacy. Dimitris Patrikios, General Manager, talked to us about the company itself and engaged in a very warm discussion with the participants on the issues that shipping faces and the difficulties of running the number one shipping company in the world! What we found out later, was that we were the first students to be admitted into the offices and be presented with all this information! Indeed, a real privilege! James Kontonis was especially aware of this: “Visiting Olympic shipping allowed me to see a successful Greek business that has a positive contribution on society through various charitable causes. I have constantly heard how Greeks are failing and do not contribute to anything, but finding out about the impact of Olympic shipping started by Aristotle Onasis in the 1930s made me feel more pride in the ability and impact of the Greek entrepreneurs. Another positive of the visit was bearing that Olympic shipping has never had an oli spill which is extremely important in order to protect our environment.”

We then moved on to the beautiful reception at the Yacht Club of Greece, where Art Dimopoulos, Executive Director of the NHS, introduced distinguished guests such as HRH Princess Tatiana Blatnik, former Minister of Health and current Member of Parliament, Adonis Georgiadis, Dr. Dimitrios Andreou, Vice President of Enrollment and Administration of Deree, Peter Poulos, Director of Development for the Hellenic Initiative, to name a few.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch overlooking the inlets and bays of Piraeus, with small and big craft gently passing by as everyone took in the moment. Stories and dreams of the future were shared and plans were made. This is where it all happened. The connections made today are for life and will, without a question, help more Greek-Americans and Greece to prosper. Demetra Laurent caught on to this sentiment very quickly while we were attending the lunch: “Being with so many wonderful supporters of Heritage Greece and the HG17 family was such a wonderful experience. It was amazing to meet the people who made all this possible. It was one of those moments where you realize what a gift this experience has been, especially for people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to connect with their culture and Greek Heritage.”

We then parted ways, but not before everyone said their hearty goodbyes.

And what better way to end the day off? A beach party! Organized by the Senior Class of Deree, we went back to the beautiful Moraitis Beach is Schinias, were we ate and danced into the falling sun!


Our visit to Olympic and Management S.A. was the first of its kind, even for the company! It was the first time they talked to students in their headquarters.


The biggest family photo of Heritage Greece 2017 at the Yacht Club of Greece!

Blog editor and photographer: James (Dimitris) Voutsas

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