Vasilopita Cutting With the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (01/27/2014)

Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel
Monday, January 27, 7:45pm

Καλησπέρα σας!  Σας ευχαριστώ για την πρόσκληση.  Χαίρομαι που είμαι εδώ να γιορτάσω μαζί σας. It’s an honor to join you for the annual cutting of the Vasilopita.  On behalf of the millions of Greek-Americans back in the U.S. who are carrying on this tradition in their own homes or in various civic organizations, indeed on behalf of one of Greece’s oldest and strongest partners — the U.S. — I want to wish everyone blessings and good luck for the new year.

The last celebration I attended with the Chamber was your Thanksgiving event, that most American of holidays.  So it’s fitting that we start the year with a Greek tradition, one that calls for the same sentiment, to think about and appreciate those around us.  In the way that we cut this cake—together—we remember that we are all linked, and that our greatest strength comes from our connections with one another.

As we go forward in this new year both Greeks and Americans face many challenges.  It’s times like these that we must renew our determination to face those challenges, because nothing less than the future is at stake.  For that future, we find lessons in the past that give us confidence that Greece, an ancient society that has been tested over and over again, will once again triumph over its current woes.  Indeed, if the new year calls for anything, it is the belief that this year will be better than the last.

So this year as we share this cake, I hope you do so as a symbol of your  commitment to do your part to contribute to Greece’s recovery.  It was John F. Kennedy who said “to those whom much is given, much is expected.”  The people in this room can help Greece face its current economic challenges; can focus on productivity, merit, and competitiveness; can make real the prospect of a sustainable future for Greece’s next generation.  You here today are the ones who can make possible the other half of reform – the half that focuses on growth (as opposed to austerity).  Your leadership in the private sector will be vital to the next chapter in the ancient story of Greece.
And with that I say, πάμε να κόψουμε την βασιλόπιτα, και καλή τύχη με το φλουρί. (Let’s cut the cake, and good luck with the coin).