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Volume 11, No.1 Spring 2008

Message from the Executive Director

As I write this message I am flying over the Atlantic Ocean returning from a monitoring visit to Greece. During our brief time there we witnessed a distribution of animal feed, met with farmers receiving assistance, villagers still struggling to rebuild their lives, and officials from the government and church. You'll read more about our Greece efforts in this issue of News & Needs.

Staring out over the vast ocean I think about my upcoming 15th anniversary with IOCC on April 1st. I recall the countless people I have met, the miles travelled and the time away from home. I wonder where I will get the energy to get back on a plane in three days to visit our operations in Ethiopia.

Then I read the News & Needs stories about the courageous people that IOCC encounters every day, and I am energized. I think about the displaced families returning to their homes in Kosovo with the assistance of the monks of the Visoki Decani monastery and our Belgrade staff.

I am inspired by Marie Chahine, the remarkable school principal in Beirut fighting for a better learning environment for her students, and her partnership with IOCC Lebanon.

I am grateful for our partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and the expansion of our work in Syria. Our $1.98 million project is providing emergency supplies, tuition assistance, and vocational training to thousands of Iraqis and disadvantaged Syrians. Samer Laham, the Director of Development for the Patriarchate, calls this new program, a "sign of solidarity to the most vulnerable."

And I think of you, our supporters, who allow us to keep that solidarity with thousands of men and women around the world — thank you. I am honored to serve you, our hierarchs, the Board and staff of IOCC. I am humbled by the love of my wife and children, who support all that I do. And, most of all, I am blessed by God to participate in His ministry of love and compassion.

Yours In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO

What inspires us?
IOCC beneficiaries who overcome hardship. (from left) Marie in Lebanon finds creative ways to improve her public school; Vinka had the courage to return to Kosovo after fleeing the 1999 conflict; Vasili works hard to keep his family's farm going in the aftermath of last summer’s wildfires in Greece. photo credits: (from left) IOCC Baltimore; N. Prelevic/ IOCC Serbia; Sophia Clark

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