PAN-LACONIAN CONVENTION 2000 SPARTI, LACONIA
The annual Pan-Laconian Convention is scheduled between July 23 through July 30 in Sparti, Laconia. This year marks the 53rd convention, and the last time it was held in Sparti was five years ago. This is so because the city of Sparti is pegged to host the convention every five years.
The Pan-Laconian Convention will award 15 of the top bright junior high school students from the prefecture of Laconia. In addition, the itinerary includes visiting various towns, archeological sites, and monasteries throughout Laconia. Along with many dignitaries who will be present at the convention, the honorary speaker this year will be the United States Ambassador to Greece, Mr. Nicholas Burns. The final event that is scheduled for this year’s convention is laying a reef in memory of Leonidas, the ancient king and hero of Sparti.
The Pan-Laconian Federation of United States and Canada, Inc., has a rich history, tradition and following. The Federation was first formed back in May, 1948 when delegates from several Laconian Associations and Societies in the US, assembled in a convention held in the city of Chicago, Illinois. They decided to form a Laconian Federation with by-laws and a constitution in order to preserve the customs, traditions, and heritage of Laconia. Thus, the first Pan-Laconian Convention took place in Chicago, Illinois during the month of May 1948. As a matter of fact, the location and principal office of the Federation has always been the state of Illinois since then. During that historic gathering in Chicago back in 1948, the newly formed Federation elected as its first Supreme President Mr. Charles Bucuvalas. Mr. Bucuvalas held this post during two different times. The first was between 1948-1950, and the second was between 1963-1969. It should be noted that according to the constitution, no Supreme President shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. Mr. Bucuvalas has served the longest as Supreme President of the Pan-Laconian Federation than anyone else in its history.
The Federation also has certain policy rules that must be met. One of these rules is that all of the Chapters and Societies should celebrate the feast day of St. Nikon (November 26) annually, which happens to be the Patron Saint of Sparta and the entire prefecture of Laconia. This is just one example of how the Federation is trying to preserve and honor the customs and traditions of Laconia.
To understand and appreciate what the Pan-Laconian Federation is all about, one must look at the purpose for its existence, which is nicely stated in their constitution and by-laws. Besides uniting all Laconians in the United States and Canada, the Federation also tries to stimulate pride in the heritage and tradition of their ancestry. Also, the Federation will aid and assist (in whatever capacity they can) needy members and their families and will strive for the creation and maintenance of homes for the elderly and orphans of Laconian and Greek descent. In addition, the Federation has promoted education by setting up scholarship funds, both academic and athletic. Another important purpose established by the Federation, is to send aid and support to the people living in Laconia. Finally, religion is an important part of our lives and the Pan-Laconian Federation makes to exception to this, in which they promote and support the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Pan-Laconian Federation of United States and Canada, Inc has played an important role throughout the years in the US, Canada, and Greece. They continuously work hard in trying to unite all Laconians and organizations and societies of Laconian descent. The Federation has been vital to the communities of the Laconian Diaspora, but also to the Greek Diaspora in general. They have given back so much to the communities and to the prefecture of Laconia. We hope that the Federation continues with its mission and successfully accomplishes its goals.