Ambassador from Greece: Who Is Christos Panagopoulos?
The Mediterranean nation of Greece, reeling from the effects of economic collapse and severe austerity imposed from without, sent a new ambassador to Washington, DC, last fall who has significant experience in the United States. Christos P. Panagopoulos, who presented his credentials to President Obama on September 19, 2012, succeeded Vassilis Kaskarelis, who had served since June 2009.
Born in Kalamata, Greece, in 1954, Panagopoulos earned a law degree at the University of Athens and a Master’s Degree in International Law and International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He served in the Greek Navy in the Office of the Admiral, Chief of the Hellenic Fleet. He was also a member of Greece's junior national water polo team.
Panagopoulos joined the Greek Foreign Service in 1978 with service at the Greek Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, an historic rival of Greece. Over the course of a 35-year career at the Greek Foreign Ministry, Panagopoulos has served as head of the European Integration Directorate and head of the Directorate for Balkan Affairs. He is no stranger to the U.S., having served in Boston as consul from 1983 to 1985 and as consul general there until 1989, and as consul general in Los Angeles from September 1994 to 1999.
Panagopoulos served as ambassador of Greece to Cyprus from 2000 to 2005, and as ambassador to Serbia from July 2005 to late 2008. Back in Athens, he was director of the Diplomatic Cabinet of the Foreign Minister, and of the Alternate Minister, from 2008 to 2012.
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