In honor of Mrs. Katherine Clerides, Commissioner of Humanitarian Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, the Executive Board of the National Philoptochos Society hosted an afternoon tea on April 3 at the Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy. National President Aphrodite Skeadas, together with Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos President Jennifer Constantin and Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos President Anne Michals, warmly welcomed Mrs. Clerides and the Honorable Consul General of Cyprus, Ambassador Vasilios Philippou. Offering greetings as well were National Board First Vice President Arlene Siavelis Kehl, and National Board Legal Advisor Anita Kartalopoulos.
While handmade Lenten tea sandwiches and pastries were enjoyed, the dignitaries and members present discussed critical aid to our brethren in Greece and Cyprus, for which the army of women who make up the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society have in 2012 and 2013 donated $425,000.
Commissioner Clerides also discussed her leadership in philanthropic organizations for people with learning difficulties and for road safety. Around the table, a valuable and emotional discussion took place whereby the women of Philoptochos shared moving stories of outreach to victims of natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and the recent program assisting those who suffered from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The frank discussion underscored the magnitude of impact Philoptochos has on those in need, both on the Chapter and Metropolis levels and throughout the National Philoptochos network as we work together serving those in need with love and respect. Metropolis of New Jersey and Direct Archdiocese District Presidents Anne Michals and Jennifer Constantin highlighted the essential role their Boards play as the link between the National Philoptochos and the local Philoptochos Chapters.
Mrs. Clerides has spent more than 35 years as a social activist in Cyprus. She studied law in the United Kingdom and served for many years as a Member of Parliament in Cyprus. One year ago she assumed the office of Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, in which she plays a leading role in the issues facing religious minorities, overseas Cypriots, and the efforts for reconciliation and dialogue between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities. She is the daughter of the former President of Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides.