2015 Honorees

THE OXI DAY AWARD

Khalil al-Dakhi

For his courage, in the spirit of Oxi Day, to promote freedom and preserve humanity

Before ISIS invaded and overran his village in northern Iraq, Khalil al-Dakhi was a lawyer. Today, he runs a secret network of contacts deep inside ISIS territory that helps families escape through a modern-day underground railroad. ISIS has massacred hundreds of Yazidi men throughout the region and taken as many as 3,000 women and children captive. Some of these women and girls are forced into marriages. Many are raped. Others are subjected to brutal deaths, such as stoning.

As a result of Mr. al-Dakhi’s efforts, over 100 women and children have been rescued. “I can’t imagine not seeing my daughter two or three times a day, talk[ing] to her, hug[ging] her…now, there are hundreds of children like mine who’ve been taken.”

THE OXI DAY BATTLE OF CRETE AWARD

Ms. Leyla Yunus

For her courage, in the spirit of the women in the Battle of Crete, to promote freedom and democracy

Yunus, a prominent human rights activist in Azerbaijan and director of the country’s Institute for Peace and Democracy, was arrested July 30, 2014, and imprisoned. She was charged with treason, large-scale fraud, forgery, tax evasion and illegal business activity. Her husband, Arif, a historian and scholar, was arrested Aug. 5, 2014, and faced similar charges.
Their recent trial ended in convictions and sentences of eight and a half years in prison for Ms. Yunus and seven years for Mr. Yunus. They still face further prosecution on the treason charges. Until their incarceration, Mr. and Ms. Yunus were members of a courageous band of scholars and activists who, by personal example, attempted to show that the brutality and closed-mindedness of the Soviet era were over.

Ms. Yunus was actively involved for years in people-to-people diplomacy with Armenian rights activists, and has won several international prizes and honors for her human rights activities.
The United States and European Union, as well as international groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Federation for Human Rights, have condemned the incarceration of Leyla and Arif Yunus and demanded their immediate release.

THE METROPOLITAN CHRYSOSTOMOS AWARD

Princess Alice (posthumously)

Accepted by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, on behalf of his mother, for her courage during the Holocaust

Princess Alice, the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse, was born Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie in Windsor Castle in 1885. She was diagnosed with deafness as a young child, a quality that many speculate made her especially sensitive to the downtrodden. Princess Alice married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903. The couple had five children: four daughters and a son – Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II of England.

During World War II, Princess Alice lived in the Athens palace of her brother in law, Prince George of Greece, and worked with the Swedish and Swiss Red Cross. In 1941, when Germany invaded Greece, the Cohens, a Jewish family well acquainted with the royals, fled to Athens – then still under Italian rule. Following Italy’s surrender, the Germans occupied Athens and Haimaki Cohen’s widow, Rachel, and her five children desperately needed a place of refuge. Princess Alice heard of the family’s desperate situation and, risking certain death, offered to shelter Rachel and her daughter, Tilde, at her home. One of Rachel’s sons later joined them in hiding. Princess Alice used her deafness to defy the Gestapo, who questioned her on multiple occasions. The Cohens remained in Princess Alice’s residence until liberation.

In January 1949, Princess Alice founded a nursing order of Greek Orthodox nuns – the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. Following the colonels’ coup d’etat in Greece in 1967 she went back to England and moved to Buckingham Palace to be close to her son and his family. She died in London in December 1969 at the age of 84.

In 1993, Yad Vashem bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Princess Alice. Of the honor, Prince Philip said, “I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with deep religious faith and she would have considered it to be a totally human action to fellow human beings in distress.”

THE GREATEST GENERATION AWARD

Senator John Glenn

Honoring an American Veteran who served valiantly in World War II

In March 1942, John Glenn enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet. Transferring to the U.S. Marine Corps during his flight training, Glenn served in Marine squadron VMO-155 after graduating from flight school in March 1943. Assigned to the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, Glenn flew 59 combat missions and sustained damage to his F4U Corsair by anti-aircraft fire on five occasions. Promoted to captain by the end of the war, he remained in the military as a Marine pilot, served as an instructor in advanced flight training, and became known as “MiG Mad Marine”. Beginning in 1954, Glenn served as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland.

In 1959, Glenn was selected by NASA as one of the “Mercury Seven,” the group of military test pilots who would become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn retired from the Marine Corps as a full colonel in December 1964. He holds the Air Medal with 18 Clusters and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions. From 1974 to 1999, Glenn served as a United States Senator from Ohio. He is the recipient of numerous other honors, including the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

THE GREATEST GENERATION AWARD

Mr. James Moshovitis

Honoring a Greek-American Veteran who served valiantly in World War II

James H. Moshovitis was born and raised in Washington, DC. He served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman from 1943 to 1946. During that time, he was involved in action at Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, Guam, Tulagi and Manila Bay. Moshovitis was also on the first ship that arrived in Tokyo Bay on V-J Day. Today, Moshovitis is involved in the restaurant and real estate business in Washington, DC. He supports many philanthropic causes for the Greek Orthodox Church including Leadership 100 and FAITH.

THE GREATEST GENERATION AWARD

General George Douratsos

Honoring a Greek Veteran who served valiantly in World War II

George Douratsos enlisted in the Greek Army upon graduation from high school and rose through the ranks to General. In April of 1941, as Commander of Fort Roupel, Douratsos fiercely defended Greek land from German bombardment and delayed the Nazi invasion.

Though resistance became futile, General Douratsos responded to the German Commander with the historic phrase, “Forts do not surrender. They get captured.” Douratsos agreed to end the resistance only after he received an official order from Athens. General Douratsos, a national hero, received numerous honors for excellence and valor. He retired on May 10, 1950 and lived the remainder of his life, until November 12, 1981, with the family of his brother Antonios.

THE STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION PHILOTIMO AWARD

PRAKSIS and Mr. Tzanetos Antypas

For extraordinary acts of true philotimo

PRAKSIS (Programs Of Development, Social Support And Medical Cooperation) is an independent Non-Governmental Organization in Greece, the main mission of which is the design, application and implementation of humanitarian programs and medical interventions.

PRAKSIS’ main goal is the elimination of the social and economic exclusion of vulnerable social groups and the defense of their personal and social rights. The three axes of their work are prevention, direct intervention/support, lobbying and advocacy.

PRAKSIS implements programs throughout Greece, concentrating on Attica, Central Macedonia, the island of Lesvos and the city of Patras and its surrounding areas. PRAKSIS’ mobile medical units travel to the Northern Aegean islands, to the Dodecanese, and to Northern Greece.

PRAKSIS, through the implementation of European programs, also collaborates and participates in networks with other EU members concerning research, advocacy, policy changes, exchange of good practices, lobbying, and the development of horizontal and vertical information, relating to the defense and support of vulnerable populations.