About Us


Chian Societies in the United States were first organized at the beginning of the century. The impetus for their existence was the social interaction of the newly arrived immigrants and the organization of dances and some cultural events.
The need for unity was realized early on but that dream did not become a reality until 1974 due to Turkish threats in the Aegean and the Cyprus tragedy. The danger facing Chios made the leaders of the Chian community in the New York metropolitan area realize that strength lies in unity. A young student from Saint George Sikousis, Nikos Psaros, took the first step on May 24, 1974 by calling a meeting of the presidents and councils of all Chian societies as well as all interested Chians. They met in the Community Center of the Church of the Transfiguration in Corona, New York.
At the meeting, the "Committee of Concerned Chians for Preservation of Peace in the Aegean" was formed. Before the Committee had time to fully organize, the dramatic events that unfolded in Greece and Cyprus speeded the unification of the Chians. Decisions made at the May 24 meeting included the establishment of connections with elected officials and laying the legal foundation for the Chian Federation. An interesting fact that illustrates the commitment of the organizers, at a meeting on July 27th 1974 to discuss the situation in Cyprus, an impromptu collection raised $4,681 for the benefit of the orphans on the tragic island.
Initially the Chian Federation was utilizing Church community halls for their meetings. As the programs and organization expanded, in February 1976 the Federation moved into rented offices in Astoria. Soon after, it was realized that even that space wasn't going to be enough for the anticipated growth and the decision to purchase a building was made. A corner building on 44th Street and Broadway in Astoria, New York was located and purchased. The purchase was made possible with a generous donation of $100,000 by the late President of the Chian Federation George P. Livanos, in memory of his uncle John Livanos.
On October 29th 1978, the grand opening of the "Cultural Center of the Chian Federation" took place with many personalities from here and Greece in attendance. Over the last 21 years the "Chian House" has played host to a large number of events and welcomed many leading personalities such as former President Jimmy Carter, Greek Culture Minister Melina Mercouri, scores of elected officials, men of letters and culture. Today, the building is open every single day of the week welcoming not only Chian but also events from the surrounding community.

In 1977, the Federation established the Homeric Award to recognize personalities fighting for human rights, world peace and support for Greek national issues. The first award was presented to the philhellene Congressman from New York, the late Benjamin Rosenthal. With each passing year the prestige of the award has increased within the Greek-American community The list of honorees, a virtual who's who of American politics, includes, former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Paul Sarbanes, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.

With the realization that for the Federation to prosper the youth has to be involved, in 1978 the Youth Chapter was formed. Over the last 21 years, the Youth can claim many accomplishments and many of the Federation's leaders came from the ranks of the Youth.

The Women's Auxiliary was organized around the same time as the Youth. Their contribution to the Federation has been invaluable. Their philanthropic contributions have included the renovation of the "Chios Home for the Aged" in Chios, financial support for the Ronald McDonald House, Greek Children's Fund, Saint Basil Academy and Saint Michael's Home for the Aged among others. Their crowning achievement has been the organizing of four children's dance groups for ages from five to eighteen with over one hundred dancers. The Women's Auxiliary has been called "the glue that holds the Federation together."

The communication between the 50,000 Chians in the United States was deemed of the utmost importance and in 1976 "Chios Magazine" was first published. The huge costs of publishing a quality magazine necessitated a hiatus in publication in 1996. In the meantime the Federation has been exploring new technologies and was the first Greek American organization with it's own web site at www.chianfed.org. The Internet allows the Federation to use its resources in ways that have more impact than any paper publication.

The Cultural Chapter was first established in 1979 to organize literary and cultural events. After a few years of many successful events, the Chapter went on hiatus for some years but re-emerged a couple years ago stronger than before. It has organized or sponsored literary and celebratory events, theatrical productions, concerts, lectures and other forums. The Cultural Chapter's reorganization of the Chian Federation Library has made it one of the best research tools on Chios history and culture.

The Chian Federation has been at the forefront of Greek national issues. By organizing and taking part in voter registration drives, letter writing campaigns, rallies and personal contact the Federation has managed to educate many elected officials on Greek and Cypriot issues and has pressed for a just resolution to the illegal occupation of Cyprus.

The Federation's accomplishments extend beyond the borders of the United States. On Chios, the Chian Federation has financially aided such organizations as the Nursing Home, environmental groups for the reforestation of the island, the Korais Library and the Office of the Repatriated Chians Organization. With the establishment of the University of the Aegean in 1986, the Federation donated the computer lab, a $100,000 value. Recently, the Federation and its member Societies were at the forefront of the Chian Societies of America and Canada efforts to upgrade the Skilitsion Hospital of Chios.

Some other notable achievements of the Federation were the awarding of the Ionian Medal of Honor to Patriarch Bartholomew and George P. Livanos, the honoring of Greek Composer Mikis Theodorakis, the production of documentaries on Chios and the Greek roots of the U.S. Constitution.

The Chian Federation has grown to be one of the most successful Greek-American organizations. In these difficult times we live in, the need for a strong Chian voice in the United States, makes a strong Chian Federation even more of a necessity.