News

Debate Watch in Thessaloniki


Democrats Abroad Thessaloniki Chapter members will gather for a Debate Watch of the Democratic Party Presidential Primary Candidates in their November 2019 Debate.

Members are encouraged to bring friends, family, colleagues, and people they know who follow U.S. Politics - and to invite Study Abroad and other students they know to join in too. We’ll watch the candidates on You Tube (the Debate will have been broadcast live from Atlanta on 20 November), voice our opinions – and order out for pizza and beer.

When: Saturday, 23 November, 19:00 – 21:00

Where: Democrats Abroad/Thessaloniki Chapter charter member, Mary Kosmidis, has kindly offered a space for us at: 
Iasonidou 19, 3rd Floor. Near Kamara, between Filippou and Olympou Streets. Ring the downstairs doorbell marked Mary Kosmidis.

Ten candidates have met the polling and donor thresholds to participate: Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.


DAGR has lost a Champion

Democrats Abroad GREECE has lost its Chair, Steve Medeiros at 63 years young.

After a 5-year battle with prostate cancer, Steve died Thursday at home, with his husband, Tony, at his side.

A service of remembrance and honor will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 9 at the First Cemetery of Athens. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund in his memory is being created for the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens). Details on contributing to this will be forthcoming.

Although Steve was not religious, it comes as no surprise that he died on the eve of the "Feast of Angels" here in Greece. Steve was truly an earth angel--an easy going, patient man, tolerant of all, a leader who always held everyone as an equal in both deed and thought.

A nurturer by nature, Steve spent 40 years as an educator, mentor, administrator and friend to thousands of students, parents and teachers in the American Community Schools of Athens.

Democrats Abroad enjoyed his leadership skills first as Counsel, next as Athens Chapter Chair, then Vice-Chair and as of January 2019 Chair of our Country Committee. Within DAGR he was instrumental in implementing GOTV for study abroad programs in Greece, the global primary, GOTV and LGTBQ for Greece.

Steve was born on March 1st in 1956; he was a native of Bedford Massachusetts and eventually became an "adopted" Athenian. In discussing his life in Greece, Steve said, “I arrived in Greece in 1981, for a two-year stint as a teacher. 38 years on, I am still here! I met my future partner and husband, Dr. Anthony Rompos, in 1982. In 2013, we were married in Massachusetts; in 2016, we had our 15-minutes of fame as the first gay couple to be granted a civil partnership in Greece. Social and political changes have had a profound personal impact on our lives together. It’s a lesson I carry with me every day."

He earned a BA from Yale, following up with a Master’s program; he continued his formal education throughout his career.

These titles do not do justice to the giving, loving, kind human being that was Steve, but it is best we have, to draw a portrait of such a wonderful person.

His legacy lives on in his learners - his students, his colleagues, his friends and his family.

May he rest in peace and may his memory be eternal in our hearts.


Dems Descend on Athens for Regional Meeting!

For 3 days more than 100 Democrats Abroad members in the regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa came together in Athens. From October 11th to 13th men and women from Sweden to Israel, Italy to the UAE, met to share their best practices for their home countries, delineate new policies and usage of online tools in preparation for registering US Citizens living abroad to vote in the 2020 races. Presentations included an opening address from Global Chair, Julia Bryan and Regional Vice-Chair, Will Bakker. Brady Kiesling, member of Democrats Abroad Greece, former diplomat, author and historian, addressed the assembly on "Defending Democracy: Lessons from the Athenians."

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Regional Vice-Chair Will Bakker said, “Democrats Abroad leaders and volunteers from all across the region met this weekend – in person in Athens as well as joining us remotely – to organize, strategize, and strengthen our plan for the crucial election year ahead.” He added, “We must do everything we can to support the American community around the world over the next 12 months – and beyond. Americans abroad face a unique range of issues, on everything from taxation to ensuring our votes are counted back home, and so many of us are concerned about the direction that our government has headed under the Trump administration.” Bakker went on to say, “What happens next is up to each and every American to do their part, no matter where they live. Our fellow Americans abroad are depending on us, and we – and the country – are depending on them.”

 

Along with the meetings and presentations, members gathered over meals and music, dinners and dancing, antiquated temples and the Saronic Gulf. Peggy Pelonis, Dean of 

Students at the American Community Schools in Athens discussed the role of women and youth in shaping democratic societies at the Women's Caucus Luncheon. Informal gatherings, although social by nature, gave members a chance to exchange political perspectives and share ideas in a safe setting in these politically polarized times. Athens became a destination to be returned to; a place where strangers meet, find common ground and form long lasting bonds both in political perspectives and friendship.

 

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Democrats Abroad Descend on Athens

Democrats Abroad Greece is rolling out the red carpet for the Regional Conference of Democrats Abroad on the weekend of October 11th to 13th.  Members of country committees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, will gather in the birthplace of modern democracy.

There will be meetings, training sessions, presentations and social gatherings as the purpose of the conference is to bring together like- minded Democrats. Presentations and discussions will focus on issues that affect us, specifically as expats living outside the continental borders of the US, as well as taking back the White House and the Senate in 2020.

The program includes a Welcome Reception, set in the heart of Athens antiquity, surrounded by a modern metropolis, plus a full day and a half of meeting sessions to get all the news and brainstorm strategies. In between, there will be breaks for Greek cuisine and cocktails, to socialize and talk seriously in casual settings. A GALA Dinner is on the program for Saturday night with rooftop views of the Athens skyline and the opportunity to grab some great art and unique items up for auction that will help support Democrats Abroad coffers.

WebEx participation is available for those who cannot attend in person, allowing you to listen and contribute to most aspects of the meeting from your home. Please contribute the requested donation amount for WebEx participation to help DA defray the costs associated with our high-quality integration of remote participants.

You will need to register through the links below to attend any parts of the conference. The conference is only open to registered members of Democrats Abroad, so please have your friends that have been on the fence, register now. Have them follow the links below to register to vote and join Democrats Abroad.

Join Democrats Abroad
Sign up to Vote from Abroad

The EMEA Conference Program

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
Welcome Reception
Webster University Cultural Center, Plaka
8 to 10 pm

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
Conference Meetings
Hotel Electra Metropolis
9 am to 5 pm

Lunching at Metropolis area restaurants
12:30 – 2 pm

Pre-GALA Cocktails
Hotel Electra, Ermou St
Hotel Bar
6:30 pm to 8 pm

GALA Dinner
Hotel Electra, Ermou St
8 to 11 pm

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
Conference Meetings
Hotel Electra Metropolis
9 am to 1 pm

Women’s Caucus Luncheon
Hermione Restaurant, Plaka
1:30 to 4 pm

 

REGISTRATION

To register for the meetings:
RSVP and registration links can be found here

To register for the food and drink go here.

We also will need volunteers to assist with the smooth administration of the conference. Join the fun and lend a helping hand by following the link for signing up below. 
To register as a volunteer sign up here 

DAGR members are looking forward to welcoming Expats from the region and offering them a taste of Greek hospitality as we work together to ensure major wins at home in 2020!

For more information about the conference go here.  

Questions and concerns can be directed to Will Bakker (Regional Vice-Chair) directly here or to DAGR here 


Thessaloniki Chapter Celebrates Labor Day

A spirited amalgam of U.S. citizens with their families and friends celebrated Labor Day in the welcoming garden of Thessaloniki Chapter Chair Peter Baiter’s suburban Pylaia home overlooking the port and city center. The end-of-summer social gathering going late and noisily into the night drew top administrators, teachers and alumni from the city’s pivotal U.S. educational institutions: Pinewood American International School, Anatolia College’s American College of Thessaloniki, and the American Farm School’s Perrotis College, as well as faculty and students from Aristotle University, and others from the cultural and business sectors. Christine Willis, founding member in 2010 of DAGR Thessaloniki commented, “There is so much diversity, people of such quality here tonight!”

Former Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Australia and Pinewood alumna, Ersie Burke, urged the gathering to “get out there and battle for the Democratic win in 2020.” Thessaloniki targets are strengthening the push to register local and Study Abroad voters and reaching out to secure the Thessaloniki volunteers and other resources essential to running a Global Presidential Primary in March 2020.

 

“I’m delighted so many people with such a variety of backgrounds are enjoying each other’s company and the food and famous sweets of Thessaloniki, while hearing from my fellow host, Thessaloniki Chapter Representative Randall Warner about the nitty-gritty of what we all need to do to vote from abroad in the 2020 elections,” Baiter remarked. He also thanked Demetri Chriss, CEO of Tuvunu, for supporting this Democrats Abroad event with Vergina Beer and Tuvunu mountain tea and soda.


DAGR Welcomes Congresswoman Dina Titus to Athens

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Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) Nevada met informally with members of Democrats Abroad Greece on Saturday at a central Athens location. Titus is in Greece on a family vacation and gave DAGR an evening to discuss issues-particularly tax, which she has championed, for American citizens living overseas.

Serving the First Congressional District of Nevada, Congresswoman Dina Titus has built a strong record of achievement as both an educator and a public servant. Titus is one of the strongest supporters on issues facing Americans abroad in Congress. She is a great friend of DA by going on record with the Ways & Means Committee to ease the financial burdens placed upon Americans abroad by the U.S. citizenship-based taxation system.

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Currently in her fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dina is the dean of Nevada’s Congressional delegation. She is a proud member of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security. In 2018, Dina was elected to become the Chair of a key Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, where she works to help Nevada’s communities better respond to natural disasters, address the devastating impacts of climate change, and fight for infrastructure projects that will benefit the most vulnerable.

Alice Costandina Titus, better known to her Nevada constituents as Dina, grew up in Georgia, has lived in Nevada for over 35 years, and proudly represents Nevada’s First District in the United States Congress. 

Dina’s Greek heritage has always been close to her heart. As a proud granddaughter of Greek immigrant Arthur Costandinos Cathones, Dina considers her Greek background to be an important part of her life even though she did not have the privilege of living in a large Greek community. Growing up in a small town in Georgia where her grandfather operated a restaurant, the family would have to drive to the nearest city – over a hundred miles away in Florida – to find feta cheese and Kalamata olives.

Dina’s grandfather emigrated from Greece in 1911, landing at Ellis Island. Growing up, Dina had a close relationship with him, spending much of her free time helping him around his restaurant. Since there was no church or Greek school nearby, her grandfather taught her to count and write the alphabet in Greek and introduced her to wonderful Greek food. When they took family trips, the first thing Dina looked for at any restaurant was a calendar with a picture of the Parthenon on the walls to see if it was run by Greeks. Later Dina honored the life and memory of her grandfather by purchasing a brick with his name on it at the restored Ellis Island. Additionally, when she took the oath of office at the beginning of her tenure in Congress, she did so with her hand on her grandfather’s Greek Bible.

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As an adult, Dina has fully embraced her Hellenic heritage. She first traveled to Greece in 1980, visiting relatives in Athens and Trikala, and has since returned a number of times. She loves traveling throughout the country with books on Greece’s rich history in hand in order to get a deeper understanding the country’s regions, ruins, culture, and cuisine. In Las Vegas, Dina attends the St. John the Baptist Church and participates in activities of the Philoptochos Society and Daughters of Penelope. And, of course, she keeps in close touch with her fellow members of the Greek community in Las Vegas and around the country.

As a proud Greek woman, Dina’s heritage has greatly influenced her outlook and perspective on life and the world. She has spoken out in favor of Hellenism in the classroom throughout her thirty-four-year tenure as a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as in the Nevada legislature where she sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek. The Pan-Macedonian Association of America distinguished her for this effort. She also received the Pericles award for civic leadership from the American Hellenic Council in Los Angeles in 2009 and was recognized by PSEKA at the 26th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. More recently, Dina was honored at the 2012 Salute to Women event hosted by the Daughters of Penelope. 

In Congress, Dina is a member of the Hellenic Caucus and has stood in strong support of efforts to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, reunify Cyprus, and maintain the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia. 

Dina has also been a leader in the effort to pass resolutions in the House recognizing the independence of Greece and the Daughters of Penelope. She is also a founding member of the Greek-Israeli Caucus started in 2013 and is currently the only Greek woman in the U.S. Congress. Throughout her tenure in Washington, she has sought the wise counsel of members of the Greek community on these important issues and considers Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) close friends and mentors.

In June of 2009, Dina was honored to represent President Obama at the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where she met with Greek leaders to discuss the important relationship between the United States and Greece. Later that year, she was privileged to meet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he came to Washington in November. Dina’s work in building strong relationships with the embassies of Greece and Cyprus has further increased cooperation between Athens, Nicosia, and Washington. 

As a professor, Dr. Titus taught American and Nevada government classes from 1979 through June 2011 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she has professor emeritus status. A noted non-fiction writer, she is internationally known for her expertise in the history and policies related to nuclear power, weaponry, and waste as well as for her knowledge of the popular lore of "Atomic Culture."

In 1988, Dina was elected to represent the people of District Seven in the Nevada State Senate, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008. During her service in the Legislature, Dina was a champion for quality education and renewable energy development, and a strong advocate on behalf of Nevada’s children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

Dina has received numerous awards from various state and local organizations, but one of her proudest moments came in 2006 with the dedication of the Dina Titus Estates, an innovative affordable housing complex for disabled Nevadans, named in recognition of Dina's tireless advocacy.
After helping the Las Vegas community recover from the deadliest shooting in modern American history, Dina has emerged as one of the leading voices in Congress for substantive action to reduce gun violence. She is a strong advocate for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. An expert on matters of nuclear energy and waste, Dina leads the effort in Congress to oppose the revitalization of Yucca Mountain.

Dina grew up in the small town of Tifton, Georgia, with her parents, Joe and Betty Titus, and her younger sister, Dr. Rho Hudson, who is a professor of special education and founding faculty member of Nevada State College. Dina is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and earned her Doctorate at Florida State University.

Dina has been married to Professor Thomas C. Wright for over 35 years. Tom, a Latin American historian, received the prestigious UNLV Distinguished Professor award in 2008 and is the author of a number of award-winning books, most notably on political exile and human rights. John Wright Hall on campus is named after his father, pioneer professor at UNLV.

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2019 EMEA Regional Meeting!

Great News!

DAGR Selected to host 2019 DA EMEA Regional Meeting in Athens, Oct. 11-13, 2019

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Last week, DAGR was named host of the 2019 Democrats Abroad EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Regional Meeting in Athens, which will take place October 11-13. Athens’ bid won out over strong bids from Vienna and Amsterdam, and the response from our fellow Democrats throughout the region has been heartening. Folks are excited to come to Athens and partake in all that our great city has to offer! The focus of the meeting will be on preparing for next spring’s DA Global Presidential Primary and for 2020 Get Out the Vote initiatives.

To have been selected is an honor for DAGR, and provides us with a strong platform from which to raise our profile in Greece and internationally, expand our membership, and to engage and mobilize our membership to work to ensure that we elect a Democratic President, House, and Senate (and to state offices across the country) in 2020. You’ll be hearing lots more about this event in the weeks and months to come as plans are firmed up and the itinerary is developed. The Regional Meeting offers DAGR members a great opportunity to interact with DA members from throughout the EMEA region. As you can imagine, hosting the event will require that we have a strong team of volunteers in place, so I am inviting you to volunteer to become part of our organizational team. There is lots of work to do!

So, volunteer now to be part of our team. Drop me a line at chairdemocratsabroadgreece@gmail.com



2019 Pride The Streets Tell Our Story

Equality, Freedom, Inclusion

These were the resounding themes as PRIDE was celebrated in Athens Greece on Saturday June 8th.

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In the city’s central square of Syntagma, with a foreground of the parliament building and a background of the Parthenon, residents came out filling the space in full color resonating the rights of equality and freedom.

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Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) was there from 11 am until 8 pm with a booth, promoting equality, inclusion and freedom as well as voter registration, of which there were several inquiries. The kiosk had some funky buttons to send loud and clear messages in the heart of democracy’s place of birth. 

DAGR Chair, Steve Medeiros, said, “What has been especially heartening and exciting during the five years that DAGR has participated in Athens Pride events has been to watch the steady growth in participation each year and the way in which our city has come to embrace the celebration. Amazing to watch out and proud Athenians come together with their fellow citizens to celebrate Pride and support and promote the rights of LGBTQ citizens in Greece. DAGR is proud to have once again been a part of this clarion call for dignity, freedom and equality for all. Though much has been accomplished, this is no time for complacency. Under the Trump administration, LGBTQ rights are again under attack across America. We must remain vigilant and keep up the fight. ”

Volunteers gathered from early on greeting visitors to the booth and marching in the parade that took place at 6:30pm.

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This year’s event was dedicated  to a well-known drag queen - “Zackie O” /Zack Kostopoulos who was brutally murdered last September in what has been labelled a hate crime.

Athens Pride 2019 highlighted the role of “the road as a democratic area of ​​ revolution, and triumph in the face of injustice and brutality. This year’s poster, celebrating Athens Pride in its 15th year, presents emblematic moments from the history of LGBTQI.

 “On June 8, 2019, people marched across the historic streets of Athens to claim their PRIDE-freedom, equality, inclusion. But that is not enough. On every road we walk, we claim our freedom and our security from any form of abuse and violence. The street belongs to all of us equally.”, Athens Pride 2019 posted.

For 3 minutes of Athens Pride 2019 on You Tube by Yiannis Papastathopoulos

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