By Peter Stevenson
THE bi-communal folk dance group ‘Dance for Peace’ has been awarded the European Citizen’s Prize by the European Parliament along with 42 other candidates from other EU member states.
Since 2008, the prize has been awarded to citizens or organisations who have contributed to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between people or to facilitate cross-border or transnational cooperation within the EU.
The dance group’s founders, Andria Kyprianou and Mehmet Emin Eminoglu will receive a medal of honour at an award ceremony in Cyprus and will be invited to a joint event that all 43 winners will be present at, in Brussels on October 16 and 17.
‘Dance for Peace’ was created in 2001 with the aim of showcasing Cypriot traditions and highlighting the common characteristics of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot music and dance.
The group organises events to help promote and strengthen bi-communal relations in Cyprus and other countries.
The winners were nominated by MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou who said that cooperation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots through a shared cultural activity proves to the leaders of both communities that love and solidarity can prevail. “Dance for Peace dances and sings for peace, human rights, universal values and freedom and through their cultural activities promotes European values, principles and human ideals,” he said.
The 43 winners from all Member States were selected on Wednesday June 5, in Brussels by a special committee chaired by the Vice President of the European Parliament Anni Podimata.
The laureates can be citizens, groups, associations or organisations. Every year each MEP has the right to nominate one candidate.
MEPs Andreas Pitsillides, Sophocles Sophocleous, Kyriacos Triantafyllides and Takis Hadjigeorgiou all participated in this year’s Cyprus national council.
2013 is the European Year of Citizens and is dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship.
During the year, the EU will encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society and business at events and conferences around Europe to discuss those EU rights and build a vision of how the EU should be in 2020.