Bi-communal initiatives ‘can help reach a Cyprus settlement’
President Nicos Anastasiades said that the government remains committed to supporting bi-communal initiatives which in turn support efforts at finding a comprehensive settlement that will end the unacceptable status quo and reunite the country, its people, the economy and institutions.
Addressing the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation awardgiving ceremony, Anastasiades said that the significant benefits associated with Greek and Turkish Cypriots working together, will be greatly amplified once a settlement to the Cyprus problem is reached. Above all, it will fulfil the aspiration of our people to live in a modern European homeland under conditions of stability, security and safety, he said, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
The annual awards, fully funded by the serial entrepreneur’s non-profit fund, have been funding bicommunal projects that encourage cooperation, as well as entrepreneurship. This year’s winners totalled 50 who took home 10,000 euros each.
As regards the current state of play in the negotiations, Anastasiades said that “we have now reached a critical stage at which we expect all relevant interested parties and stakeholders to engage constructively and proceed with concrete and tangible steps which will positively reinforce the negotiating process and our efforts of reaching a settlement as soon as possible.”
A settlement which will create a win-win situation for all Cypriots, address the expectations, sensitivities and concerns of both communities and ensure mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and prosperous collaboration between all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, he added.
A total amount of 2 mln euros has been awarded by the Stelios Philanthropic fund since 2009 to projects of all forms of human cooperation including business, sciences, arts, sport, NGO work and community affairs.
Anastasiades expressed his appreciation to the initiative of Stelios Hadjioannou and his Philanthropic Foundation, “as it not only rewards efforts aimed at promoting and developing common endeavours between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in a wide array of fields, but, and most importantly, actively contributes in enhancing the socio-economic bonds of the two communities.”
He said that the impressive outreach and success of these awards should come as no surprise: Greek and Turkish Cypriots jointly worked together for decades, proving that their common denominator, their Cypriot identity and their desire to prosper together, are strong and enduring.
On his part, Hadjioannou said that when he started granting these awards it was all about business. “But over the years I think right in front of our eyes we watched the society and the communities change on the island. So we expanded the scope,” he added. He recalled that in the first year they gave five prizes, for which they received ten applications. He added that over the years the numbers kept going up.
“I am delighted to say that this year, the eighth year, we received a record number of applications from 215 teams that have actively applied to be part of this,” he added.
He noted that “people begin to care and I think that’s a very important change. It’s something to be proud of, it’s something to strive for,” adding that even though only 50 teams have received awards there are 215 winning teams.
During the ceremony, Hadjioannou gave the floor to a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot electrician who elaborated on their cooperation, noting that the money they received will be used to set up a centre for the training of electricians from both sides.
The 50 award-winning bi-communal teams are:
1. Chara Savvidou, Neshe Yashin – Exhibition and Poetry Book in Greek and Turkish 2. Harris Kafkarides, Yasar Ersoy – A web page & book which records the 30 collaborating years of Satiriko & Belediye theatre 3. Costas Kafkarides, Aliye Ummanel – Joint theatre events 4. Natalie Neophytou, Nihat Agdac – Bi-communal chamber orchestra 5. Vasilis Htisti, Zafer Biler – Joint restaurant in the North 6. Marios Nicolaou, Vasvi Ciftcioglu – Souvenir postcards made with recycled paper 7. Yiannis Papadikos, Tibet Nidai – Fish merchants 8. Konstantinos Ahniotis, Nahide Merlen – Bi-communal children’s book 9. Michael Theodorou, Niyazi Kizilyurek translation of GC poet’s Vasilis Michaelides work 10. Socrates Stratis, Esra Can Akbil – Bi-communal team of architects/designers for the reconstruction of Famagusta after the solution 11. Gaston Neocleous, Tuncer Huseyin Bagiskan – Social, cultural and entertaining activities island wide 12. Angeliki Yiassemides, Mehves Beyidoglu Onen Trilingual primary school 13. Sotia Adamidou, Simge Kahvecioglu Zekican – The Cyprus Friendship Program (8 years) an all volunteer peace building project 14. Olga Demetriou, Murat Ilican – Developing of an urban natural vegetable garden 15. Paul Costeas, Ovgu Once campaigns 16. Mike Michael, Sukran Ozerdem Michael - Married couple with a son 17. Antriani Charalambous, Mehmet Birinci – Couple in life and business partners 18. Larkos Larkou, Hatice musicians 19. Vangelis Eleftheriou, Gunce Kozal – Obstacle runs across Cyprus countryside 20. Tania Matsouka, Nazo Canitez – Yoga / climbing retreats 21. Michalis Pantelides, Mustafa Elmas – Tango teachers / classes 22. Nicolas
Costantinou, Ayse Karaoglan –
Bi-communal concert (8 musicians) 23. Panicos Stelikos, Mehmet Gokyigit exhibitions island wide 24. Antigoni Kyriakidou, Mehmet Yigiter – Cyprus Accordion Association 25. Argyro Toumazou, Irina Tryfon, Ozgul Confrontation through Art project (visual arts) 26. Constantinos Kyprianou, Barcin Gokboru – ‘Music Unites The World’ - Musicians 27. Anna Prodromou, Sami Ozuslu – Documentary Airport of the Divided Capital City” 28. Elena Christou, Kadir Yorgancioglu – Granite traders 29. Sotiris Antoniou, Kutret Balci – Honey producers 30. Andreas Louras, Bozdag Balikcilik – Fish merchants 31. George Pixios Kyriacou, Mehmet Nasiboglu – Electrical contractors 32. Prodromos Prodromou, Mustafa Darbaz – Potato traders 33. Zenos Lemis, Minhan Sagiroglou – Lawyers and partners with mutual clients on both sides 34. Anna Marangou, Orhan Tolun – Walks and historical and archaeological sites 35. Andreas Christou, Yucem Rasimoglu – Bi - communal projects (4) in Limassol 36. Giorgos Georgiou, Nerkis Musa – traditional cooking book in both languages 37. Maro Kyprianou, Mehmet Emin Bicommunal folkloric dance group 38. Rita Severis, Gulden Plumer Kuchuk – Bicommunal museum 39. Elias Pantelides, Mustafa Balcioglu – Acheon Akti Polythematic Museum’ at Karpasi peninsula 40. Stelios Diamantis, Ramadan Gilanliogullari – ‘Kilani Village Expatriates Association’ organisation of local events 41. Maro Emmanuel, Mehmet Hoca – Activists for the renovation / rebuilding of Ayia Marina village 42. Marianna Kokota, Duriye Gokcebag – Greek and Turkish language courses 43. Xenia Loizidou, Serdar Atai – Marine Litter Cyprus – Island wide project for the marine environment 44. Antouanetta Katsioloudi, Belgin Demirel – Raising funds for programs for disabled people 45. Michalis Tsiknakis, Tanur Sertuglu – Married couple 46. Constantinos Hadjichristofi, Ceren Ataker Etci – Married couple 47. Marilena Evangelou, Cenk Mutluyakali – Journalists at Politis and Yeniduzen. Both papers are cooperating 48. Andreas Splash Kyriacou, Uygar Erdim – ‘GeekOtopos’ – Workspace for creative professionals 49. Larrys Phylactou, Hassan Ejkein – Masters Swimmers (veterans), taking part at swimming competitions in Cyprus and abroad 50. Antonis Hajiroussos, Ozgur tourism at Kormakitis village