Stelios to raise bi-communal co-operation cash prize to € 500,000 for next year
Serial entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou handed out cash prizes of EUR 10,000 each to 31 pairs of Greek and Turkish Cypriots who have established joint bi-communal projects and declared that his charity, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, will boost the grant to EUR 500,000 next year for 50 winning teams.
Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony at the foundation’s bi-communal café in old Nicosia, Sir Stelios said: “This is a charity project, not a political one. This is my way of giving back to the island that my family comes from. Both my parents were born on the island. This project is one of my ways of repaying my debt to society. We are working over the last seven years for lasting peace on the island of Cyprus”.
Stelios said that this year the foundation received four times more applications than previous years and attributed the enthusiasm to the positive political climate, the promotion and publicity of the prize and the operation of the café that also played a key role to bring closer Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and managed to strengthen the element of trust and cooperation between them.
Another contributing factor this year was the opening up of the bi-communal cooperation, not just to business but also to arts, sport, literature and sciences.
In his address, President Nicos Anastasiades said that the ‘Stelios Bi-Communal Business Awards’ ceremony is an institution, firmly established as an annual celebration of bicommunal co-operation and creative interaction.
He said that “through these actions, the Foundation is playing an invaluable role in facilitating much needed contact and re-building the socio-economic bonds of the two communities of the island, which existed for many decades”.
The President noted that “the remarkable record number of applications that the Foundation has received for this year’s awards is tangible proof of the genuine, tenacious desire of the people of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, to re-establish and further advance their socio-economic ties and cooperation”.
“The impressive outreach and success of these awards should come as no surprise: Greek and Turkish Cypriots collaborated and co-created successfully for decades, proving that their common denominator, their Cypriot identity, and their common desire to prosper together, are strong and lingering”, President concluded.
After the ceremony Sir Stelios, accompanied by winners and participants walked through the Ledra Street checkpoint to the north where a second bi-communal café will open on Ferah Street early next year.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou announced that he will raise the stakes for next year to EUR 500,000 going to 50 bicommunal teams for 2016. The total grants have reached to EUR 2 mln so far.
This year’s 31 prize winning bi-communal teams, each earning EUR 10,000, are: Nikos Pissourios – Ugur Sayilir, kite surfing; Christos Kartsioulis – Ergec Senturk, worldwide PC support; Vasilis Htisti – Zafer Biler, joint restaurant; Michalis Michael – Sukran Ozerdem, married couple; Eleni Melanidou – Kursat Tilki, bicommunal choir for peace; Costas Kafkarides – Yasar Ersoy, theatre; Michalis Theodorou – Niyazi Kizilyurek, publishing house; Aydin Mehmet Ali – Konstantinos Konstantinou, cycling services for people with mobility problems; Themistoclis Mantis – Erdinch Ustenler, gliding group; Pieris Hadjipieris – Yakup Engin Tel, restoration of Apostolos Andreas monastery; Nicos Vassiliou – Mazlum Kortas, study the economic aspect of a re-united Cyprus; Evren Manner – Christina Demetriades, bilingual animated film project; Charalambos Leonidou – Hasan Ekingen, lace products; Melani Pappas-Lemona – Gozde Pehlivan, kindergarden; Hacer Genc – Panayiotis Constantinou, catalogue for traditional woven baskets; Hakan Djuma-Marios Georgiou-Agapios Agapiou, aolar taxi bike; Dr. Prof. Sophia Serghi – Devrim Celal, sailing around Cyprus; Demos Kinigos – Hasan Hasanbulli, fish trading; Androulla Shati – Samiye Taskin, recycling at schools; Aydin Mehmet Ali – Nicoletta Demetriou, workshops to promote Anglophone literature; Yiannis Papadikos – Tibel Nidai, fish trading; Tania Matsouka – Nazo Canitez, rock climbing and yoga; Anna Argyrou – Gulsen Oztoprak, educational consultants; Tacam Gokboru – Savvas Anastasiou, cycling camps; Antonis Lefconikiatis – Ozfer Ozatay, photo equipment trading and exhibition; Maria Georgiou – Serife Akman, bakery café; Dr. Paul Costeas – Ovgu Ince, Karaiskakio and Kemal Saracoglu Foundations; Sylia Panayiotidou – Erhan Oze, online art gallery; Harris Galazis – Emre Serdar, aluminium business; Larkos Larkou - Hatidje Ardost, “Kyprogenia” bi-communal music group; and, Katie Economidou – Dervish Baha, guided tours.