As DAGR membership tops 1300 US citizens in Greece, we cannot know everybody. So below are profiles of the candidates who have volunteered to serve for the 2023-2024 Executive Committee. Candidates were asked to provide a photo, a brief biography as well as a statement about serving.
- To see the duties of each position, you can follow the link here.
- To meet our candidates, read on.
Elections will run electronically, from Monday, January 9, 2023 at 9 am until Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 12 noon. A ballot link will be sent by email to all DAGR members.
If you do not receive a link to the electronic ballot on Jan. 9, please contact Nominations and Elections Committee chair Stacey Harris-Papaioannou at [email protected] or by calling 6942 940 720.
Here are the candidates who have declared with the NEC. There will also be space for write-in candidates on the ballot.
Greece Country Chair: John Brady Kiesling
I appreciate the confidence shown me through this nomination as candidate for Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR). I accepted, because I believe Democrats Abroad plays a necessary role in maintaining a proud and active community of American citizens in Greece. Engagement in America’s democratic political process through voting is the only way to protect our interests, and Democrats Abroad fights successfully to help us cast votes that will be counted. Our votes, like those of Greek Americans in the USA, promote strong political relations between the U.S. government and Greece, the country we have chosen as our home.
My experience with Greece dates back to 1979, as a graduate student in ancient history and archaeology at the American School of Classical Studies. Reasonably competent in ancient and modern Greek, I worked for four years as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, 1988-1992 and returned as chief of the Political Section in 2000-2003. I resigned publicly in 2003 to protest Bush Administration policies.
As a private citizen resident in Athens since 2004, I have helped mobilize Americans in support of Democratic candidates. During the 2008 elections I maintained the DA membership database. I then served 2010-2013 as Secretary. When Steve Medeiros passed away in 2019, I agreed to serve for a year as vice chair in support of Stacey Harris-Papaioannou. As DAGR Counsel in 2020-22, I helped modernize and harmonize our Greek and English bylaws. Some of you know me as a phone-banking volunteer, member of the nominating committee, and fellow participant in DAGR events.
I was born in Houston, Texas in 1957, and still vote there. I am a writer and independent researcher living in Athens, with books and articles on diplomacy, on Greek terrorism, and increasingly ancient history/archaeology. My major project in recent years has been a free classics/archaeology app called ToposText. I am married to Regina Tassitano. My daughter Lydia Kiesling is a novelist based in Portland Oregon.
The pandemic years have shifted DAGR more and more to remote/virtual events. The clear benefit has been in empowering our members outside Athens to participate actively. Still, we have missed our Community events and styrofoam Uncle Sam hats – July 4 parties, Thanksgiving Dinners, Debate Nights, Election Night parties – that reward us with the fine company of fellow Democrats. The pandemic has not left us, but we as an organization can keep adapting to make DAGR membership as rewarding as possible. With your support, I will undertake to be an effective public face and voice for American democrats in Greece.
Greece Country Vice-Chair: Sarajane Kidd Leone
Texas born and bred, Sarajane studied psychology and Italian before embarking on a research project in Italy. A chance encounter at an Italian train station would set the trajectory for her: 30+ years of shared life with a man from Napoli who she married several years later in Uganda. During their decade and a half in East Africa, aside from a short hiatus working for the UN, and short posts in New York and Washington, she dedicated her time to her weaving and design atelier, which catered to the East African safari/hotel industry and to private residence consultations. Hailing from a ranching family of West Texas, she was inspired by the familiar open, wild landscapes and colors of her childhood. Sarajane also served as Chairperson to Friends of the Arts of the International School of Kenya, cultivating dynamic local art talent and linking them with the expatriate community through art exhibitions and her work. In 2007, a move to Switzerland changed her course: she was still busy - but with three children, maintaining her artistic pursuits through community engagement, and leading the editorial team of the PTA publications of the International School of Geneva, La Chataigneraie.
Since landing in Greece in August 2014, Sarajane joined DAGR and launched the DAGR Women’s Caucus as the Working Chair. During this time she established the DAGR WC Facebook Interface, was a principal in helping to organize the first Women’s March Athens, created a dynamic program of outings, poetry readings, and a series of !Think Thursdays to discuss issues dear to DAGR WC members. Having left the DAGR WC leadership role in 2017 to serve on the board and subsequently as President of an international club, she remained active in volunteering through GOTV and with her artistic pursuits. Her initiatives of Pi?atas and Lemonade have become a mainstay of the annual July 4th celebration, mobilizing small groups of volunteers and participants. After helping to organize the successful 2019 EMEA Art Auction Fundraiser and constructing the DAGR Mascot, she served on the current DAGR Executive Committee as an active Representative At-Large, initiating and coordinating the Kafeneion online discussion group.
She looks forward to helping DAGR to continue to reach their mandate as Vice Chair.
Secretary: Jan Sylvia Sanders
Born and raised along the Massachusetts coast, I am a life-long Democrat from a family of Republican uncles who thought my father was mad for sending his daughters to college. As they feared, college opened a new world to me, one where different points of view were possible and disagreement with the status quo was not only allowed but encouraged. This new world also included Greece where I arrived as a student in 1976. Joining an archaeological excavation on Melos that summer, I found much more than ancient things; Guy and I have been together 45 years, 35 of them in Greece living and working between urban Athens and the countryside in Ancient Corinth.
My professional life has been spent in international education, as faculty and Director of Arcadia University's College of Global Studies center in Athens, a program. The Arcadia Center welcomed 100's of US undergraduate students, supported them in their academic work and, more importantly, developed strategies to help and challenge them to navigate the realities of modern Greece. Frequent discussions with the students kept me up to date with the changing social and political landscapes in the US in a way that surpasses news sources and other media outlets.
Though a long-time member of Democrats Abroad, I have not been a very visible one. Now that time allows, I would be happy to fulfil the duties of Secretary.
Treasurer: Marion A. Kavallieros
Marion Kavallieros was born in 1964 in Boston, MA. She holds a BA in English from the University of Athens and an MA in Education from Boston University. She has worked as an English instructor and translator in multicultural settings. Marion has exhibited a keen interest in politics and is committed to democratic values. She joined the women's movement at 18 and has served as an elected member in various women's organizations and committees among which is University Women of Greece. Marion is a Massachusetts voter.
Marion has served both as Athens Chapter Chair and Athens Chapter Representative for Democrats Abroad Greece since 2015. She is a hard worker and has gained a reputation among DAGR leaders as the one who keeps meticulous notes, a boon for the account keeping role. Marion has always gone the extra mile and isn’t afraid to pitch in when work needs doing. Her enthusiasm and creativity lend themselves to events and projects that help our members abroad activate, engage and elect Democrats.
Counsel: Charity Moschopoulos
Charity has been a part of DA since 2004, first in Italy and then in Greece. After leading the very large ‘Greeting’ committee for the 2009 Obama Inaugural at ACS, she was persuaded to chair communications in 2014 and edited DAGR’s first online newsletter. In 2015, she was elected to her first term as Secretary of DAGR. That the membership rolls and online publishing facility would move to a new platform came as a surprise later that year. Charity hung in, learned the new systems, and carried on through a second two-year term. So, she was well-experienced to lead the GOTV committee, organizing volunteer phone bankers and data return. Simultaneously, she served as At-Large Representative for the 2019-21 term.
Charity was a computer programmer and director of the computer department at Mount Vernon College for 10 years. Afterwards she worked as an analyst for a software company that provided university administrative software in Northern Virginia. In 1995, she moved with her family to Rome where she lived for 10 years before coming to Greece. In Rome, she was an editor and writer for the Expat newsletter. Upon moving to Greece, she took up being the editor for the Newcomers-by-the-Sea newsletter for 8 another years. She has volunteered with Caritas and at the Ellinikon refugee “apothiki,” and, for 8 years as a leader in American Girl Scouts. In her ‘spare’ time, Charity makes custom quilts.
At Large Representative 1: Gina Billy
Hello Democrats Abroad Greece members! I’m a free-lance writer, translator (German to English), editor and English teacher who lives near the Lentas area of southern Crete on the Libyan Sea. My personal and professional background is perhaps best summed up with the words “rolling stone.”
Since my birth (1963) and early childhood in “LA” (Lower Alabama), I’ve lived in Fort Worth, TX; Madison, Ohio (near Cleveland); Alabama again for my studies (BA with honours in 1985 from Samford University in Birmingham, major in Speech and Dramatic Arts, minor in Journalism) and New York, NY (where I continue to vote). In December of 1994, I immigrated (for love) to Freiburg, Germany. Following my partner’s death in July of 2007, I slowly came to realize that my main reason for living in Germany had passed away, too. In February of 2009, I immigrated again, this time to this amazing, yet quite isolated part of Crete, where life had nice surprises in store for me. Among many other things, I found love again (with another German.) We married in Heraklion in 2012.
My “patchwork” career highlights include running a jazz radio station, working as a general assignment TV reporter (both in Birmingham), event planner and speech writing (at New York University) and in Germany, and being the Director of Studies for an English as a foreign language school for adults before starting my English language services business in 2003.
I’m a huge believer in grassroots initiatives. On Crete, I serve as the communications officer and am active in fundraising for the Association of Volunteer Firefighters and Environmental Protection, Asterousia, and am a founding member and leader in its projects, “CREaTE GREEN LENTAS “(https://www.lentas-online.com/en/environment/create-green.html) and “Water is Life (www.water-is-life.eu)
Politically, I was officially an independent who voted Dem and joined the Dem party during the “Bush 2” administration. The dark days of the 45th presidency prompted me to join DAGR and during the (virtual) DAGR annual meeting in 2020, I decided to become more active. Since then, I have been assisting with the communications committee work. I would be honoured to serve as one of the organization’s Representatives at Large and believe my varied background (and ability to gladly talk with just about anyone about anything) could inform and support the organization’s work. I am especially committed to doing what I can to encourage all our members to vote and also increase connections between DAGR members – especially those who live beyond the cosmopolitan hubs of Athens and Thessaloniki.
At Large Representative 2: Daniel Roberts
Daniel has lived in Greece since August 2019, this time. He first lived in Greece from 1976 - 1978, when he attended Pinewood in Thessaloniki as a boarding student. After graduating from Pinewood, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served for four years. He completed his degree (Behaviour and Social Science from the University of Maryland). He is a Risk Manager by profession, has lived and worked around the world, and is currently semi-retired, living in Thessaloniki. He votes in Florida.
After serving on the DAGR Nominating Committee for the past two years, and hosting a few DAGR events at home, it is clear that 2023 and 2024 are critical years. The danger of open insurrection is past, we all hope, but there remain too many, what we call in Greece, "Juntaists" who would happily see the end of American democracy. It is incumbent on us, each of us, to make it clear by our voice and votes, that we will not allow this to happen. I am standing for the At-Large position to ensure that I can do my part to keep this message alive.
DPCA Voting Representative: Karen Lee
Voting in Democratic Party Committees Abroad is proportional to membership. Should DAGR grow to the point that our voting ‘share’ in the global organization is larger than the two basic votes (Country Committee Chair and Vice Chair), one or more Voting Members must be elected. At present, this is on a stand-by basis. However, the voting member must stay abreast of DPCA issues and actions, as well as understanding how the Country Committee’s activity relates to those. My years volunteering both in DAGR and DA global activities serve well.
A native Ohioan, OH voter and OSU graduate, I have been active in the DAGR Country Committee since 2005, as:* Issues chairperson (2005-6) * Global Primary, Election Watch planning/volunteer (2008 & 2016) * Inaugural Celebration volunteer recruiter/coordinator (2009) * Nominating Committee/ballot drafting, Bylaws revision committee (2009-10) * Independence Day events volunteer, planning (2010-2019) * Member Survey, assisted design, Athens Chapter (2010) * International By-laws Revision, DAGR drafting committee (2011) * GOTV phone bank, registration table, planning committee (2010-2020) * Newsletter/news-page contributor (2014 to present) * ExCom, At-Large Representative (2013-2015) * DAGR Chair, completion of DAGR’s Greek non-profit tax status (2015-2019) * Fundraising chair (2019) * Communications chair (2020-2023) * DAGR Secretary (2021-2023)
At the international-regional level (DPCA-EMEA): * DA global Grassroots Organizing Survey Committee (2006-7) * Attended DPCA AGM, voted DAGR proxy, co-presented GOSC findings, Heidelberg (2007) * Attended EMEA regional AGM, Berlin (2010) to promote DAGR re-recognition * Presented DAGR activity, EMEA meeting (2015), Edinburgh * Certified for GR database and email facilities, DA website, WebEx host * Attended DPCA AGM via Webex (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), DA Global Convention (2016) * EMEA monthly regional conference calls (2015-2022) * Digitized DAGR Art Auction for online bids, EMEA regional meeting, Athens (2019) * DA Global Black Caucus, founding steering committee (2017-2021) * DA Global Seniors Caucus steering committee (2021-present) * DA Global ECCC, environmental caucus ‘Watchdogs’ research committee (2021-present) * Co-lead DA Ohio Team (2021-present).
DPCA Non-Voting Representative: Anastasios (Tasos) Gounaris
I was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. I graduated with a BS in General Engineering from UMass-Dartmouth in 1979 and went on to receive my Masters in Theology in 1983 from Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. After working in the supermarket and banking industries, I was ordained to the Greek Orthodox priesthood in 1983 and served parishes in New York City; Saginaw, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana, and Tarpon Springs, Florida over a 32-year career. Of those years, 21 were spent in Indianapolis. I was instrumental in fundraising and planning that resulted in relocation of the parish to a state-of-the-art, $20 million facility in Carmel, Indiana. Before leaving the priesthood and retiring in 2015, I had attained the most senior rank available to a married priest, that of Protopresbyter, and was recognized as a Distinguished Hoosier by Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon.
I have served as At Large Representative in the DAGR ExCom for the past two years. I am also a Greek citizen and from 2015 to 2020 resided in Chania, Crete, for half of each year. I've lived in Chania full time since 2020 and have made it my permanent home. I am registered to vote in Indiana.
I view the lunatic fringe, conservative arcs that the world and America are on with especial alarm and hope that, in some small way, my involvement in Democrats Abroad might contribute to nudging the nation and world back toward some measure of stability and sanity.
Athens Chapter Chair: John Anagnostou
With a background in both business and engineering, John brings a wealth of experience to DAGR. His MS (2) degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering were earned at Columbia University. He then gained an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, which, some years later, led to a term as president of the UM alumni club in Greece. After working in project management for Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, John returned to Greece as a senior consultant for KPMG Management, later applying his skills to CLARUS Energy Services, as head of project development. The Greek economic crisis sent him back to the US for a few years, as project engineer for an aerospace firm in Gainesville, TX.
John lives with his wife and daughter in Bari and collects ‘the best under-reported restaurants in Athens’ in his spare time. A Democrat by inclination, John joined DAGR in 2020. His concerns for the organization, and for the US, draw on his experience in matching visionary programs with do-able solutions. Having worked in the US in better times, John sees service to DAGR as a basic step in helping the US get back on a solid, and fair, economic footing that works for all. And, he plans to use his alumni club experience to organize events that will make the effort all the more rewarding for Athens members.
Athens Chapter Representative: Tyler Boersen
I live in Athens where I work as a press officer supporting the city's international strategy. I have a PhD in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research in New York City, and I spent several years in Athens for field research between 2011 and 2016. My dissertation - in the process of becoming a book - was about the global spread of consumer bankruptcy law and the Greek regulations that protected people from mortgage foreclosures and home evictions for nearly a decade. Before moving permanently to Athens in 2019, I was teaching anthropology at Fordham University and New York University.
I got my start in politics during high school when I was a campaign volunteer and legislative assistant for a member of the Michigan Legislature. After winning the JFK Library's Profile in Courage Essay Contest in 2001, I had an internship in Ted Kennedy's press office in Washington DC where I learned some of the old-school techniques that continue to be part of my work. In 2012, I took time off from graduate school to work for the Obama campaign as a volunteer field organizer leading the groundwork in Livingston County, Michigan.
I am interested in serving DAGR because I think the Democratic Party is ultimately about building a community and sharing a purpose. I want to be part of that community wherever I go, and I also want to keep it moving forward. I want to help create a sense of belonging among Democrats in Athens, especially because that will play a critical role in GOTV in 2024.
Thessaloniki Chapter Chair: Randall Warner
Randall Warner joined Democrats Abroad Greece in 2008, and became Thessaloniki Chapter Representative in 2019-2020 and Thessaloniki Chair in 2021-2022. She votes Democratic in the Eighth District of New Jersey.
Randall invites U.S. and dual citizens into the dynamic of the Democrats Abroad Greece organization, by joining the fellowship of fellow DAGR members and by volunteering their efforts to the hard work ahead for Democratic Party victory in 2024. How? Read, react, contribute to the spirited DAGR Newsletter and online Kafeneion events. Make sure your own voter registration is up to date. Volunteer to guide relatives, friends and others you meet into completing their voter registrations in their home states. What are the benefits? Sharpening your U.S. political awareness. Engaging with political and social issues that mean the most to you. Taking pleasure in the sense of community with other Americans living overseas. Volunteering your time to help others you know to strengthen U.S. democracy with their vote – in the same way you do.
Randall studied Classics at Swarthmore College and pursued a publishing career before moving to Greece in 1989 with her husband, artist Barry Feldman, and son, actor Tasso Feldman. She is a freelance book editor and art agent since retiring as Communications Director of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki Chapter Representative: Peter Baiter
I am an American citizen who has been living and working in Thessaloniki, Greece, for the past forty years plus as a teacher and school administrator at Anatolia College and Pinewood American International School of Thessaloniki. Throughout this time, I have stayed in close touch with the latest developments and trends in America and international education and have been visiting the U.S. regularly at least twice a year for a number of weeks each time. In addition, through my personal and profession contacts, I have tried to stay continually abreast of what has been going on in American society and government.
I have been a Democrat all my life and am a registered voter in Barnstable County, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where I voted by absentee ballot for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on November 3, 2020. I have been involved in Democrats Abroad Greece since the year 2000 when Michael Dukakis visited the American College of Thessaloniki and discussions were started regarding establishing a chapter of DAGR to cover Thessaloniki and Northern Greece. I have served most recently for two years as head of the Thessaloniki Chapter of DAGR and greatly enjoyed the experience of working with such a dedicated group of fellow Democrats, particularly during the recent presidential election, which resulted in such a satisfying final result for all of us.
I am happy to offer my candidacy for the post of Representative for the Thessaloniki Chapter of DAGR for the coming two years and would be delighted to continue to serve on the DAGR ExCom.