On Friday, February 10th, 2023, thirty-four students, two teachers and ten parents from Koraes St. Constantine and Helen of Palos Hills, Illinois visited our Research Center. On behalf of the Research Board, George Mavropoulos, president of AMPRC welcomed everyone and thanked teachers Stavros Kariofilis and Vivian Nielstrom who took the initiative to organize the visit. In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Mavropoulos stated, “It would be wonderful for other schools to follow Koraes example to visit the Center.”
He continued to remark on the history and contributions of the Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontos as an important chapter in the Greek history and western world. Mavropoulos stated, “Today, you will learn the accomplishments of the well-known Greeks in Asia Minor who contributed to philosophy, math, science, and civilization in general. Unfortunately, 100-years ago the 3,000 -year presence of the Greeks in Asia Minor and Pontos come to an end.
Those who survived after the catastrophic events in 1913-1923 are forced to leave their homeland and become refugees in other countries and mainly Greece. My parents who were from Pontos were forced to leave their village and to arrive in Greece in 1923.”
Mavropoulos continued, “Early last year, I was invited to visit your school to review your historic exhibit on the occasion of the 100 -year of the Smyrna’s catastrophe and the end of Greek presence in Asia Minor. Your work was impressive; I am delighted to see your involvement and care for this important chapter of our history. Today you will learn more from our educator Ms. Anastasia Spiridis who is a high school teacher, president of the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago and board member of the Research Center. For years she has been participating in workshops with other educators from the Holocaust education group as well as the Armenians and other ethnic groups presenting the story of the Greeks of Asia Minor.”