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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary

Cultural Heritage Commissions

Oxi Day at Liberty State Park

Secretary Way welcomed the members of the NJ Hellenic-American Heritage Commission, newly appointed by Governor Murphy, and participated in the commemoration of Oxi Day at Liberty State Park. This day represents the critical time when the Axis powers sought to have Greece come into their sphere without war, and the Greek Prime Minister said ‘No.’ The event, hosted by Commission Chair Zenon Christodoulou, featured personal presentations and historical documentation on genocide during the 20th century.

New Jersey Hellenic American Heritage Commission

The Commission is authorized to study, recognize and share information on Hellenic heritage, culture and history as it relates to Americans of Hellenic ancestry and their contributions to the State of New Jersey. The Commission coordinates an annual Hellenic Heritage Month celebration in March and provides expertise to the Department of Education for the development of content and curriculum guides for the study of Hellenic culture within the State’s Core Curriculum Content Standards in Social Studies. The Commission is also authorized to assist the New Jersey Tourism Policy Council in promoting cultural exchanges and to assist the Office of International Trade in promoting economic development between the citizens of the State of New Jersey and the nations of Greece and Cyprus.


On October 25, 2019, Governor Philip D. Murphy appointed the following individuals to serve on the NJ Hellenic American Heritage Commission. Secretary of State Tahesha Way welcomed the appointees at the Oxi Day commemorative event at Liberty State Park on October 26.

Dr. Zenon Christodoulou of Branchburg, Chairman
Andrew C. Zachariades of Brick
Georgette Boulegeris of Bedminster
Constantina Meis of Bergenfield
Evellyn Tsiadis of South Plainfield
George G. Horiates, Esq. of Moorestown
Theodore S. Golfinopoulos of Skillman
Elias Anthony Iliadis of Moorestown
James Dimitrios B. Kontolios of Ridgefield
Dean C. Pialtos of Closter
Asteris James Fanikos of Chesterfield
Stathis Theodoropoulos of Kearny
James Kirkos of Lyndhurst

Arab-American Heritage Commission

The commission is authorized to study, recognize and share information on Arab heritage, culture and history as it relates to Americans of Arab ancestry and their contributions to the State of New Jersey. The commission also provides expertise to the Department of Education in an effort to develop content and curriculum guides on the heritage, culture and history of Americans of Arab ancestry to both public and non-public schools in the effort to promote tolerance and respect for all citizens of the state. The commission will also assist the Department of State in the coordination of events that recognize and share Arab American culture and heritage with the observance of Arab heritage month in April of each year.

Asian American Study Foundation

This Foundation is established as a non-profit organization devoted to developing and coordinating state wide programs that recognize the continuing contributions of Asian Americans to the State of New Jersey. The Board of Trustees will be responsible for the establishment of guidelines and By-Laws setting forth the structure, offices, powers and duties of the foundation. Observance of various heritage, cultural and historic events will be coordinated by the Foundation in recognition of those Americans of Asian ancestry. The Foundation members will have representative from several state agencies that will foster collaboration to enrich education and promote tourism and economic development between the State of New Jersey and the countries of Asia.

Ethnic Advisory Council

The Ethnic Advisory Council is comprised of members appointed by the Governor to make recommendations regarding issues on ethnic studies and programs offered in public schools, colleges and the State University. The Council is also responsible for increasing the participation of ethnic organizations in governmental affairs; providing community and social services; promoting ethnic and cultural events; providing expertise on polices that may impact ethnic communities and increase public awareness of the rich ethnic history and culture of the state.



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