Vasilis Bollanos: Heroic Leader of Himara

Reprint from, October, 17, 2011

Vasilis Bollanos: Heroic Leader of Himara

by Catherine Tsounis


“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor,’ said Aristotle. The American community had the unique honor of meeting a Greek Orthodox Balkan leader in the 2011 Hermes Expo International at the Tropicana Hotel, April 2nd and 3rd. He is a man fightinh for his heritage, language and traditions in a Muslim country. Vasilis Bollanos is the Mayor of Himara, the Greek speaking region of Northern Epirus, Albania. A quiet, soft spoken, low key person, Mayor Bollanos has put is life on the line representing freedom in the former Iron Curtain country. Middle Class America had the honor of mingling with the Balkan leader at the 2011 Hermes Expo. The Expo is becoming a gateway for trade and freedom of expression within the Balkans.


Many Northern Epirotes (the Greek speaking region of Albania) have fled to Greece and the U.S. with the fall of communism in 1990. “Someone must stay behind,” said Bollanos in a personal interview with this writer. “I am here to promote trade with my region and the U.S.A.,” he explained. “We want an increase of trade and exportation of our products.” Paul Kotrotsios, the Founder of Hermes Expo International, is from an Epirotan village near the Albanian border. He personally invited Mayor Bollanos to address the audience at the grand opening. Mayor Bollanos mentioned that “Pyrros Dimas, ‘the Lion of Himare’ is from my town. He is named after the legendary King Pyrrhus of Epirus.” Pyrros Dimas is the Greek weight-lifting athlete who will go down in history as the only person to win four gold medals in his field.

“I am honored to meet a true championbof hero,” said Georgia Filiotis, United Nations representative for Human Rights and Education. Electrician Billy Litos, a Northern Epirus immigrant views him as a national hero of Hellenism. “Being a hero is staying in a hostile political area and championing the right to practice one’s Hellenic culture, Greek language and Greek Orthodox religion,” he said. “Vasilis Bollanos is that man.”


Mayor of Himara with Georgia
Filiotis, U.N. representative for
Human Rights and Education.
Modern Greek history books state the first Greeks, the Elli, came from the mountains of Epirus. Alexander the Great’s Mother, Olympias, was an Epirus princess. In a 2009 conference in Boston, Vasilis Bollanos said “our responsibility is to keep alive our Greek traditions. You, are the finest ambassadors of Northern Epirus. Your voice is making the difference. You are fighting for us and helping our Greek community. I am honored by the love and devotion you have shown to me.” This is the portrait of a hero.


Mayor Bollanos with members of the Greek Teacher Society “Prometheus” and
prominent persons at the 2011 Hermes Expo International

Mayor Bollanos at the PanEpirotan 2009
Conference in Boston
Links: Bollanos in Boston – Northern Epirus Biography History of Epirus

(Posting date 17 October 2011

HCS encourages readers to view other fine articles ( ) penned by Dr. Catherine Tsounis and press releases about the Modern Greek Studies program at St. John’s University, where she is an adjunct professor. For more information about Dr. Tsounis, see her biographical sketch at

Browse our permanent, extensive archives at the URL


2000 © Hellenic Communication Service, L.L.C. All Rights Reserved.

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