Aris Anagnos was born in Greece where he served in the Greek army in World War II. He came to UCLA for his studies and went on to build a successful business in Southern California. He has distinguished himself as champion of social justice. Aris Anagnos is an activist for peace in Kosovo and Serbia, and for human rights movements in Latin America. He has been awarded the Ralph Bunche Peace Award by the United Nations Association. He is also the founder of American Hellenic Council of Southern California, an organization that promotes Hellenism and the Greek issues in the US. When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, Aris with some other fellow Greeks established the Save Cyprus Council (later renamed the American-Hellenic Council), which grew into a principal political lobbying group dedicated to the promotion of Greek-American interests.
Anagnos has served on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California since the early 1980s, including a two-year term as President of that chapter. He is also the former Executive Vice President of Southern California Americans for Democratic Action. Anagnos sat on the Board of Directors of the Office of the Americas, a non-profit organization dedicated to anti-war and anti-U.S. foreign policy activism. Seeking to help put an end to “the culture of militarism throughout the world,” OA aims to confront “areas of U.S. foreign policy which its Board of Directors considers illegal and/or immoral.” In 2002 Anagnos was a signatory to Not in Our Name’s “Statement of Conscience,” which condemned the Bush administration’s “stark new measures of repression” domestically, and its “unjust, immoral, illegitimate, [and] openly imperial policy towards the world.” In 2018, Anagnos was given a lifetime achievement award by the American Hellenic Council.