Senior White House, State Department, US Congress and other officials, as well as reporters and producers from many national publications and networks, including CNN, Fox and NBC, learned of an extraordinary example of philotimo, during Greece's current socio-economic crisis, which has helped society to keep its cohesion.
Andreas Dracopoulos proudly presented the First Annual Stavros Niarchos Foundation Philotimo Award to Mobile Medical Units in Greece —a team of 51 MD and PHD scientists who are dedicated to providing free health care to residents in remote islands and other areas of Greece.
Mr. Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, told those in attendance that the Philotimo Award winners, "have been providing free comprehensive and state-of-the-art health care services to thousands of residents of some of Greece's most isolated, remote and neglected islands. Their act constitutes a true manifestation of philotimo for the common good, which becomes even more important during the current critical times for Greek society...we congratulate them for their efforts and hard work, which sends an important message about social cohesiveness and responsibility to one's fellow citizens."
Mr. Dracopoulos defined philotimo as, "just give it all you have, do the right thing, and try to make this world a better place for everyone."
Mr. Dracopoulos closed his remarks by quoting modern Greek philosopher Emmanouil Kriaras who said that "true love can only be achieved by being able to constantly seek your ideals...I urge all of you to do seek your ideals, to do your best to help the ones less fortunate, and in doing so, stay in love."
Dr. Panagiotis Koulouvaris, in accepting this award on behalf of the Mobile Medical Units, said, "We have nothing more than our duty. This is, of course, what philotimo in many ways is all about, a natural, deeply intimate sense of duty...We are trying hard to show everyone that we can overcome the difficulties like our ancestors did, with dignity and honesty. We deeply belive in philotimo and everything good that comes because of it...Philotimo is an individual's most outstanding act during a lifetime."
In explaining why they took these actions, Koulouvairs said, "It was in January 2011 when the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced the renovation of the pediatric intensive care units in Greece. It was that moment that inspired our philotimo. We then realized that we should do more."
The Washington OXI Day Foundation has created a video featuring interviews with 29 leading Hellenes, including among them the co-President of the SNF, Andreas Dracopoulos, who each share their definition of “philotimo”. The video is available here.
To see more pictures from this evening, click here.