Inaugural Prayer for Joe and DAGR

Hope took wing when Joseph R. Biden won the 2020 presidential vote. Relief, perhaps, better describes what we felt when the House and Senate were finally able to complete their work this week and declare him well and truly elected.

The challenging task of righting the ship of state and pulling the country back together again lies ahead. In this spirit, DAGR is sending him our ‘Prayer’ for his work.

‘Prayer,’ the moderately sized and eminently shippable painting, was donated by Katerina Zafirakis-Papadea, who presented another of her works to President Obama during his 2016 visit here. Older members will remember Katerina’s late husband, Kostas Zafirakis, one of the founding members of DAGR and one of its most devoted supporters.

We’ve gathered pictures below that are key Kostas’ memories, as well as Katerina’s video with her recitation of her poem ΩΔΗ ΣΤΑ ΕΛΓΙΝΕΙΑ "ΤΑ ΓΛΥΠΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΡΘΕΝΩΝΑ" -- Ode to Elgineia (Elgin Marbles) “The Parthenon Marbles”

Democrats Abroad Greece is taking this occasion to raise funds for our work ahead. Your contributions will pay shipping for the painting, and whatever is left – which we hope will be substantial – will support DAGR’s operating and organizing expenses for the next round.
(We’ll be sharpening our tools this year for Biden’s first midterm in 2022!)

Click here for the donation form and bank info for DAGR. Be sure to 'X' if you don’t want your name on the gift card to the Bidens. Otherwise, all donors, big and not-so, will be listed alphabetically if received by 19 JAN shipping date.

Katerina Zafirakis-Papadea

   

Her stormy, artistic temperament propelling her to seek the highest expressions, Greek-American artist/sculptor Katerina Zafirakis-Papadea has delighted us with her work, which draws together modern themes with classic interpretation. The portraitist, through anthropocentrism gives expression to the inner being, while her works are characterized simultaneously by their metaphysical hypostasis.

Katerina studied political science in Athens, before family roots and her own spirit drove her to art. Her mother, a well-known artist, was her first teacher. Further study of philosophy shaped her approach. She entered an international competition held by the United Nations Marshal Plan and was awarded first prize.

From there, the road led to Europe and study the Munich School (die Form), concentrating on Konig. Thereafter, Katerina joined the Arts Student League in New York, studying all genres but specializing in portraiture under Frank Mason. She is a lifetime member of the League.

Her works include ‘Happy Birthday Mrs. Liberty,’ a portrait of Virginia Clinton, mother of President Clinton, for the US Bicentennial Celebration and presented by Nikos Gounaris of the Athenian Society in NY; ‘Liberalio,’ a mural of 18 life-size figures awarded by NYC Mayor Beam and then-Senator Biaggi. Other exhibitions of note include ‘The ultimate virtue is to be able to offer,’ based on the Plato quote, for the Municipality of Athens; ‘International Panathenaea,’ for the Olympic Games 2004; China, 2008, and ‘Apollo’s Dilemma,’ London, 2012, accompanied by her poem ‘Ode to the Elgin Marbles.’

Supporting DAGR with her late husband, Kostas, Katerina never took her eye off the main prize: a just world, arisen from the democratic ideals that started for the western world in Greece and exemplified in the Parthenon Marbles. It is, indeed, a ‘prayer’ for our continued progress toward a world more equitable for all its inhabitants and … well, yes … a return of the Marbles to their rightful home on the Acropolis.

Kostas and Katerina with Yvette Jarvis in 2012, for the unveiling of the painting that would, after some effort, be presented, personally, to President Barack Obama, in 2016. Everything good is worth patience and determination!

Kostas Zafirakis: Fondly Remembered

   

Most of us remember Kostas Zafirakis as we saw him at the 2014 Independence Day beach party: jovial, warm and Democrat to the core! A steadfast supporter of the Party and of Dems Abroad Greece, in particular, he wasn’t afraid to don a funny hat to drive home the point: We Elect Dems!

Born in Greece in 1942 and a graduate of the Royal Air Force Academy in electronics engineering, Kostas first went to the US for training as a NATO officer. Returning to civilian life and Greece, he worked for Olympic Airlines and Air France, which led to his lifelong career in the travel industry. He returned to the US in 1960, where he operated travel services, eventually acquiring US citizenship.

Moving back to Greece, Kostas joined DAGR and served on the Board in various positions, most recently as At-Large Rep, 2010-2012. As one long-time friend said of him, “Kostas exuded ‘enthusiastic Americanism.’ He really believed in the positive values most Americans hope we represent to the world.” And so, he worked actively in support of Democratic candidates and could always be counted on as a volunteer. Kostas would help find a venue, ‘work the room’ as host, or MC a program. The MC role fit well, a testament to his love of acting.

Whether in office or ‘ex officio,’ Kostas was known and loved as DAGR’s Number 1 fan. His widow, Katerina was most often at his side. His elder daughter, Arleen Zafiraki-Komninos, served as vice chair in the 2013 ExCom, and his younger daughter, Christina Zafiraki, is carrying on the family tradition of DAGR volunteer!

Kostas’ enthusiasm for the Democratic vision and platform is recorded in photos and many hearts at DAGR functions over the years.

   

Greece was reinstated to DA global after a hiatus in 2009, and Kostas was there. General meeting and election of officers. From left: Nick Angelakis, Brady Kiesling, Tom Mazarakis, Kristin Zissis, Yvette Jarvis, Vivian Gales, Alec Mally, Joe Smallhover (DPCA), Elena Bacalis, Harolynne Bobis, Barbara Stonesifer, John Bacalis, Chris Woodfin, Lyn Waldie, Kostas Zafirakis.

   

Michael Dukakis helps DAGR Thessaloniki Chapter formation. From left, Alec Mally, Kitty Dukakis, Yvette Jarvis, Michael Dukakis, John Bacalis, Nick Angelakis, Kostas Zafirakis.

    

July 4, 2010, at the beach near Sounion. From left, Kostas Zafirakis, Unidentified, Brady Kiesling, John Bacalis, Yvette Jarvis.

   

At the 2014 Regional Meeting in Florence, IT with Alec Mally and Ioanna Gavakou-Mally and Regional Vice Chair Susan Haug.

    

More 2014 Regional … they actually did some work, too!