Menendez Chief of Staff Receives Conalis-Kontou Award

Menendez Chief of Staff Receives Conalis-Kontou Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fred Turner, Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, received the prestigious Conalis-Kontou Award from the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) during the 33rd annual Cypress and Hellenic Leadership Conference. The award is given each year to an individual in the Government of Greece or the Government of the United States who, like Marialena Conalis-Kontou, has contributed significantly behind-the-scenes to the bilateral relations between Greece and the United States. 

“I am humbled and deeply moved to be chosen to receive this award,” said Turner. “Marialena was a distinguished woman who devoted her life to improving the relationship between Greece and the United States, and more importantly between the people of our two countries. She inspired me, and countless others – on both sides of the Atlantic – to work every day to strengthen the bonds of friendship based on shared values and a shared view of humanity.  For all of us who work ‘behind the scenes,’ this award is deeply meaningful”.   


Fred Turner delivering his acceptance speech.

The annual conference, which attracts the most active Greek-American and Cypriot-American leaders from across the country, was held June 6-8 in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Turner accepted the award from Marialena’s daughter, Christianna Yontou, on Thursday, June 8, at the Willard Hotel. 

The Conalis-Kontou Award is named for the late Marialena Conalis-Kontou who contributed significantly to bilateral relations between Greece and the U.S. and was a distinguished and beloved Greek public servant. 

Conalis-Kontou served in the Greek Foreign Ministry beginning in 1990, as senior policy adviser to former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, as well as to former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece, George Papandreou.  Starting in 2001, she served as senior policy adviser to the Greek Foreign Ministry, focusing on American foreign policy, trans-Atlantic relations and Greek-American relations.  

A citizen of both the United States and Greece, Conalis-Kontou was educated at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and American University.  She also served as a university professor and a Harvard University Weatherhead Center Fellow.  Marialena passed away in 2005.


at the Greek embassy in Washington