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Secretary General of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe to be Featured Speaker At 4th Archon International Conference

Dr. Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis

ATHENS – The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are deeply honored that Dr. Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will address the upcoming Archon International Conference in Athens, Greece. She will speak on “How Freedom of Religion or Belief is Related to Current Global Trends in Human Rights and Humanitarian Need.”

The Conference, which will focus on Human Rights, Democracy, and Religious Freedom, will be hosted at the direction of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, the Brotherhood of Panagia Pammakaristos in Greece, and the Order of the Holy Apostle Paul in Canada, as well as the Archons from Europe and Australia, on May 26-29, 2024.

Dr. Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis has a lengthy and illustrious record of defending and advancing human rights and religious freedom for 27 years in the Council of Europe. She became Secretary General of its Parliamentary Assembly on March 1, 2021. Before that, for well over a decade she led the Council’s Secretariats of the Monitoring and then Political Affairs and Democracy committees. Among many other accomplishments and activities, she also provided advice to four successive Secretaries General of the Assembly, numerous committee Chairpersons and Presidents of the Assembly, and also worked for the Committee of Ministers monitoring procedure at the Directorate of Strategic Planning (DSP).

Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, stated: “Born in Athens, Dr. Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis has worked for democracy, which provides a stable foundation for religious freedom, for years. She has been head of Secretariat of the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee since 2010, and contributed to the establishment of the World Forum of Democracy. Dr. Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis also contributed to the Parliamentary Assembly’s neighborhood policy, by assisting parliamentarians to promote Partnership for Democracy status.”

“Before her work with the Council of Europe,” Dr. Limberakis added, “she has served as a lawyer for the European Commission of Human Rights. And in keeping with the Archons’ indefatigable commitment to fostering the full participation of women in the Church and in society in general, I am pleased to note that Dr. Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis is the first woman to be elected secretary general in the 74-year history of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are a devoted group of passionate leaders, relentlessly focused on protecting religious freedom for everyone and ensuring the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – the historical spiritual center for the world’s 300+ million Orthodox Christians.

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