Washington, DC, November 3, 2017: The Washington Oxi Day Foundation held its 7th Annual Celebration of Oxi courage, past and present, in Washington, DC October 25-27, 2017. Each year, the Foundation recognizes select individuals who stand out around the world in their tireless pursuit of freedom, justice and democratic values in the face of great evil.
L to R: National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, Foundation Advisory Board Member Jim Chanos, Oxi Courage Award honoree Ji Seong-ho, Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award honoree Bruce Mosler, Foundation President Andy Manatos
On October 26, the Foundation awarded North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho and leading voice against Islamist extremism Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the Oxi Courage Award for their David-vs-Goliath courage, in the spirit of the Greeks defiant stand for freedom and democracy in WWII.
US Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin introduced leading humanitarian Bruce Mosler who received the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award for his efforts to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination.
Honorees North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho and Korean War veteran Peter Vlachos with the Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos and Washington Oxi Day Foundation Executive Director Mike Manatos
History-making US Olympic Gold Medalist Helen Maroulis introduced Hirsi Ali and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman introduced Ji. Washington Oxi Day Foundation Board Members Jim Chanos and Nicholas Logothetis delivered remarks and Foundation President Andy Manatos introduced two of the Foundation’s short videos.
Honorees North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho and Korean War veteran Peter Vlachos with the Ambassador of Greece to the US Haris Lalacos and Foundation Executive Director Mike Manatos
Previous recipients of the Oxi Courage Award have included:
· In 2016, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son Beau Biden (posthumously) and escaped ISIS sex slave and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, nominated by Amal Clooney;
· In 2015, Bono selected for our Foundation and introduced Leyla Yunus, a leading human rights activist imprisoned in Azerbaijan;
· In 2014, just weeks after he became the first American brutally and publicly executed by ISIS, conflict journalist James Foley was honored. President Bill Clinton introduced Foley and his parents accepted the award;
· In 2013, Bono selected for our Foundation and introduced John Githongo, a journalist who risked his life fighting corruption in Kenya;
· In 2012, blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, whose US-aided escape from China led the world news in the spring of 2012
WWII Veteran George Possas and his daughter Denise Bocchicchio
Just hours before the Oxi Courage Awards, the Foundation honored at the National World War II Memorial an American, a Greek and a Greek-American WWII veteran with its Greatest Generation Award: former US Senator Daniel Inouye, Greek Lt. Col. Eleftherios Smirniotopoulosand Greek-American George Possas.
The Jaharis Service Award was presented to Peter Vlachos for his service in the Korean War and, in the spirit of Michael Jaharis, his service to the Greek-American community, our country and the world.
L to R: Cyprus Embassy Consul Konstantinos Polykarpou, Andy manatos, Col. Panagiotis Kavidopoulos and WWII veteran George Possas participate in the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Solider
Activities began with a reception at the Greek Ambassador’s residence on October 25 and ended with a moving wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on October 27 in honor of those who lost their lives in WWII when Greece said OXI to surrender.