American Hellenic Institute and Coherence (film)

AHI logo

The American Hellenic Institute' (AHI) is a Greek American organization created in 1974 to strengthen US-Greece and US-Cyprus relations, as well as relations within Hellenic-American community. The group has a lobbying focus, which distinguishes it from the other organizations associated with AHI.

Contents 1 History 2 Other groups under the American Hellenic Institute 3 Major activities (including those taken as part of AHI) 4 Notable members 5 Major Issues of Concern 6 Changes in Level of Influence 7 See also 8 References

History

The American Hellenic Institute was created on August 1, 1974, by Eugene Rossides in response to the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. The Institute argued that Turkey had violated the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and Foreign Military Sales Act, in that Turkish forces were purportedly using American weapons. They called upon Henry Kissinger, who would be a perennial obstacle to the AHI's goals, to condemn Turkey and to deny it further sales and aid until all Turkish troops were withdrawn from the soil of Cyprus. This petition was denied, but under continued pressure from AHI, Congress decided on an arms embargo toward Turkey. In December 1974, an AHI-sponsored $25 million Congressional aid package to Cyprus was approved. Other groups under the American Hellenic Institute

Other groups include: AHI Business Network (created 1989) American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc. (AHIF- think tank created 1975) Foundation for Hellenic Studies (created 1995) Major activities (including those taken as part of AHI)

AHI has been a part of many political activities and lobbying actions. Representatives of AHI have testified before Congress with great frequency on topics related to their interests, usually foreign aid proposals for Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Turkey, or the Republic of Macedonia. AHI is active in foreign policy issues affecting Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Turkey, and the Republic of Macedonia, among others.

AHI was integral in the movement to change the 7:10 power-sharing ratio on Cyprus to 1:1, which they perceived as more equitable. AHI both opposed American support of the 2004 Annan Plan for unification of Cyprus, calling the plan "undemocratic" and "unworkable." Each presidential election year, a policy statement is sent to the candidates by AHI and its affiliates informing them of issues of interest to the Greek-American community. In September 2008, the American Hellenic Institute contacted all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking them to submit questions about American policy toward Cyprus to the new US Ambassador to Turkey, James F. Jeffrey. AHI has sponsored legislative conferences, notably in 1997, when three one-day Legislative Policy Conferences were held in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago to highlight contributions by grassroots activists in the Greek-American community and to coordinate stances among Greek-American groups. Notable members Nick Larigakis, President and COO of AHI, is also the founder and president of NL Group, LLC, a business and government consulting group for Greek-American issues. Nick Karembelas, AHI legal counsel as of 2000, is a partner at Sfikas & Karambelas law office and was highly active in representing Greek Cypriot families who wished to sue Turkey for loss of property and Greek Assyrians looking to claim compensation for lost property in northern Iraq. Nick Chimicles, AHI Chairman as of 2000, is a senior partner in Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, a class action law firm based in Pennsylvania and Delaware with a nationwide practice. Savas Tsivicos, a former AHI chairman, is the National Chairman and President of the Cyprus Children's Fund, a New York based non-profit established in 1975 to support Cypriot children in need. Eugene Rossides, founder of the American Hellenic Institute, received the Homeric Award in January 2008 from the Chian Federation, an organization of Greek-Americans from the island of Chios, in honor of his achievements in strengthening United States-Greece relations and supporting human rights. Rossides was the first Greek-American to be appointed and confirmed to the United States Senate and served as Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury during the Nixon Administration. In addition to these honors, he is also something of a sports legend, due to his past on Columbia University's football team, and had a successful career at the prestigious law firm of Rogers & Wells. Major Issues of Concern

The issues outlined in the AHI policy letters sent to presidential candidates Obama and McCain were typical of policy points that AHI advocates. First and foremost was the question of American policy on Cyprus. The removal of all Turkish troops and the peaceful unification of the island feature prominently as goals in most Greek-American lobbying. In the event of continued Turkish military presence on Cyprus, AHI advised the application of economic sanctions and an arms embargo against Turkey because of restriction of human rights and lack of cooperation with American aims. The letter also called for reinforcement of maritime borders and airspace in the Aegean, which Turkey has purportedly repeatedly violated. AHI also urges the Republic of Macedonia to negotiate in good faith with Greece to resolve the name issue and find a mutually-acceptable solution to the name to be used by the Republic of Macedonia for all purposes. AHI maintains that the Republic of Macedonia should immediately cease their propaganda against Greece, propaganda which violates the U.N.-brokered Interim Accord between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, as stated in Article 7 paragraph 1 of the Accord which was signed in New York, September 13, 1995. Since antiquity the name Macedonia has referred to a geographical region and not to a nationality. Geographic Macedonia is within the borders of at least three countries. Only a small portion of geographic Macedonia lies within the Republic of Macedonia, whose population is one-third Albanian and two-thirds Slavic in origin, yet the government of the Republic of Macedonia continues to make territorial claims on parts of Greece (the largest part of geographic Macedonia lies within Greece in the Greek province of Macedonia). Finally, the policy letters strongly suggested the inclusion of Greece in the American visa waiver program and the application of American pressure to ensure protection of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and Greek Orthodox theological centers in Turkey. Current political map of Cyprus. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I Changes in Level of Influence

AHI reached its peak of power in the late 1970s, due to the urgency of the situation on Cyprus at the time, in accordance with the theory of functionalism. Additional factors in AHI's high levels of influence at the time include the demise of the divisive Greek junta, a "new wave" of Greek immigration to the US, and the placement of many Greek-Americans in high levels in American politics and business. The organization did, however, face considerable opposition from the executive branch of government, notably as represented in the person of Henry Kissinger. By the 1980s and after, AHI had declined somewhat in influence, although, as mentioned earlier, they continued to be active in the political arena. Their relative decline can be attributed to a variety of factors, among them the fact that the Greek-American community had more issues by then to collectively tackle than that of the Cyprus conflict. See also American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association Cyprus dispute Lobbying in the United States Greek American Diaspora politics in the United States Macedonia naming dispute

Coherence (film) and American Hellenic Institute

Coherence is a 2013 American science fiction thriller film that was directed by James Ward Byrkit, and is his first theatrical feature film. The movie had its world debut on September 19, 2013 at the Austin Fantastic Fest and stars Emily Baldoni as a woman who must deal with strange occurrences following a comet sighting.

Contents 1 Synopsis 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Reception 4.1 Awards 5 References 6 External links

Synopsis

Emily (Emily Baldoni) and her boyfriend Kevin (Maury Sterling) are two of several people attending a dinner party at Mike's (Nicholas Brendon) house. Kevin's ex-girlfriend Laurie (Lauren Maher) will be there, making things somewhat tense for both Kevin and Emily. The dinner party goes fairly well until the power goes out following a comet sighting. They discover that a house down the road still has power and a few of them decide to investigate, only to find that it's Mike's house. Several strange and bizarre occurrences follow, leading them to the conclusion that they're intersecting parallel universes with parallel dinner parties. Cast Emily Baldoni as Emily (as Emily Foxler) Maury Sterling as Kevin Nicholas Brendon as Mike Elizabeth Gracen as Beth Alex Manugian as Amir Lauren Maher as Laurie Hugo Armstrong as Hugh Lorene Scafaria as Lee Production

Ward Byrkit came up with the idea for Coherence after deciding that he wanted to test the idea of shooting a film "without a crew and without a script". He chose to film the movie in his own home and developed the film's science fiction aspect out of necessity, as he wanted to "make a living room feel bigger than just a living room". While Ward Byrkit did have a specific idea for how the film would unfold, he selected improvisational actors and gave them the basic outline of their characters, motivations, and major plot points. Reception

Critical reception for Coherence has been predominantly positive and the film currently holds a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 53 reviews. Much of the film's praise centered upon its cast, which Bloody Disgusting and Fangoria cited as a highlight. Film School Rejects gave Coherence a positive review, stating that the film's cast was "remarkably grounded for how complicated and bizarre the story is." Dread Central commented on the film's themes and wrote, "What's frightening about the story is how willing the characters are to abandon the reality they know in favor of one that may be a little more appealing. Whether that's a byproduct of the comet and the rift it creates or caused by the characters undermining everyone else around them to get the life they really want is the fundamental idea of Coherence and what it makes it so unsettling."

Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly praised the film, granting it a B+ rating: "In an impressive big-screen debut from James Ward Byrkit, eight friends discover metaphysics on their menu when a passing comet creates a set of doppelgängers down the road, enjoying their own identical soiree. Byrkit makes the most of the claustrophobic one-house setting, ratcheting up the dread and paranoia as his characters make a string of seemingly reasonable but ultimately wrongheaded decisions. The star-free cast is great too, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer vet Nicholas Brendon poking fun at himself by playing an actor who used to be on a TV show... Coherence is a satisfying and chilling addition to the ever-growing pal-ocalypse subgenre. And really, you have to love a film that not only explains the concept of Schrödinger's cat but also includes a joke about it ("I'm allergic!").

Stephen Dalton of The Hollywood Reporter also enjoyed the film: "An ingenious micro-budget science-fiction nerve-jangler which takes place entirely at a suburban dinner party, Coherence is a testament to the power of smart ideas and strong ensemble acting over expensive visual pyrotechnics... A group of eight friends gather for dinner... Marital tensions and sexual secrets sizzle just below the surface, but relationship drama is soon overshadowed by astrological weirdness when a comet passes close to Earth, shutting down power supplies and phone connections... It slowly becomes clear that the fabric of reality has been radically remixed by the comet's arrival. We are definitely not in Kansas any more... Byrkit only gave his cast limited information about the narrative loops and swerves ahead, encouraging a semi-improvised naturalism that feels authentically tense." Awards Next Wave Best Screenplay at the Austin Fantastic Fest (2013, won) Maria Award for Best Screenplay at the Sitges Film Festival (2013, won) Carnet Jove Jury Award for best In Competition at the Sitges Film Festival (2013, won) Black Tulip Award for Best Feature Debut at the Imagine Film Festival (2014, won) Imagine Movie Zone Award, Special Mention at the Imagine Film Festival (2014, won)
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