Naples, FL – Rudy Giuliani told some 400 people attending the Grand Banquet on February 3, that Hellenic values are at the very basis of our civilization and that “by preserving these values, you not only help yourself, but all of us.”


In his accepting the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, the first time it was given to someone outside the Greek Orthodox American Community, the former New York City Mayor, who gained national attention in his leadership of the city and nation during the tragedy of September 11, delighted the audience by praising Greek Americans for playing a key role in preserving their Orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage, values, he said, that are at the very basis of our respect for human life, our democratic freedom and our civilization.


He also spoke of his admiration for the late Archbishop Iakovos, whom he said had consoled him when he lost his first bid in running for Mayor. He said that sometimes “you learn more from losing than from winning”.


His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, who officiated at the Conference and presented the Award to Giuliani, along with Chairman George D. Behrakis, reminisced on being with Mayor Giuliani on September 11 and credited the Mayor with exhibiting exemplary leadership, speaking of the response that day as having met an “explosion of hatred” with an “explosion of love”.


In a tease to his audience, he said “You may want to ask me if I am going to run for President and the answer is, ‘I think I am’.” Giuliani, who has been traveling across the country since launching an exploratory committee to run for President, has been tentative in his declaration, which he has made more definitive in a recent appearance on CNN’s Larry King Show.


Citing the terrorist attacks of September, 11, 2001, Giuliani said Americans don’t want to be at war, but “they attacked us and are at war with us.” He said the country is not going in the wrong direction and that we have nothing to be pessimistic about, that we can solve the problems of terrorism, energy, education and immigration from strength. He said no nation has had more wealth and opportunity and lifted more people out of poverty.


Regarding immigration, the former Mayor said we should recognize that we are the nation everyone wants to come to and that groups like the Greek Americans, who have preserved their traditions, while successfully integrating into American life, should be a role model for others.

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