President Barack Obama will continue a tradition that has been going for three decades— hosting representatives of the Greek American community at the White House.
Prior to the regular event that began three decades ago, there were periodic presidential meetings with Greek community and church leaders, including a first-ever White House meeting by representatives of AHEPA in 1929.
But the annual community-wide reception that began with President Reagan’s Administration in 1986, will be the 30th consecutive time a sitting U.S. President has opened the Nation’s House to Greek Americans to celebrate Greek Independence Day.
The creators of the event, who have successfully secured this meeting with the President in each of the last 30 years are Mike and Andrew Manatos, well-known Washington DC lobbyists and Greek American community activists.
“This will be our 30th consecutive gathering with the President of the United States. The Irish-American community (1 in 8 Americans) and we (1 in 250 Americans) are the only ethnic groups that are able to secure an annual event with the President of the United States,” Manatos said.
The Greek Orthodox Church is always at the forefront of the event and representing the Greek American community. Prominent members of the Greek American community and supporters of the Greek Orthodox Church are also invited.
The coveted invitation list varies year to year, sometimes including visitors from Greece including prime ministers, members of the Greek government and even Hollywood stars of Greek descent.
Congressional offices also send representatives from their districts and members of Greek descent from throughout the various branches of the Federal government are also invited.