By Jean Christou
FROM pilot training to beach safes to publishing, fishing, kitesurfing and even repairing cemetery monuments, ten teams comprising of at least one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot yesterday received a cheque for €10,000 from philanthropist Sir Stelios Hadji-Ioannou.
Speaking at the ceremony at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation in old Nicosia, which was addressed by President Nicos Anastasiades, Sir Stelios said his aim was to bring business people together. “If people can come to get to know each other there is a better chance of a lasting peace,” he said.
Sir Stelios, who has been running the awards for six years and has dished out €1.2 million in grants said this year there had been a record number of applicants at 32.
In his address Anastasiades said the Stelios awards had shown real commitment to the development of bi-communal collaboration in a diverse range of sectors.
“The bi-communal business partnerships awarded today send a clear, two-fold message to the people of Cyprus and its political leadership,” he said. This message was that despite current economic challenges, Cyprus was not only well-equipped to accommodate and advance new business projects, but the spirit of entrepreneurship in Cyprus was well-established and could positively contribute to overcoming the difficulties which lie ahead.
It also exemplified the significant benefits associated with Greek and Turkish Cypriots working together, building mutual trust and enjoying joint collaboration, Anastasiades added.
He said there was a real need to implement measures that would restore confidence, rather than measures that increased mistrust through actions that violated international law.
“Unfortunately, the recent actions by Turkey serve neither the purpose of building confidence and trust, nor of establishing a constructive environment that can facilitate the negotiating process. On the contrary: they foster mistrust and raise serious doubts within the Greek Cypriot community as regards Turkey’s true intentions,” he said.
“Cyprus’ natural resource wealth belongs to the State, and, consequently, it is through the solution of the Cyprus problem that all of the legal citizens of the island will be able to benefit from the generated revenues that will arise from the exploitation of our natural resource wealth”.
Anastasiades said the status quo was unacceptable.
“I assure my Turkish Cypriot compatriots that I remain committed and I will work tirelessly and do my utmost to reach a settlement on the Cyprus problem. And this is the exact reason that throughout my term I have consciously avoided negative public comments related to the negotiating process, with the aim of creating a positive atmosphere to ensure that the talks succeed,” he said.
The ten winners:
• Niyazi Kizilyurek and Michael Theodorou – publishing books in three languages
• Constantine Constantine and Hakki Emir – restoring cemetery monuments
• Ozgu Ozun and John Droussiotis – flight school for pilots
• Kyriakos Savvides and Tolay Celebi – beach safes
• Pieris Hadjipieris and Yakup Engin TEL – restoring Apostolos Andreas
• George Kepola and Neshe Yashin – publishing a book on Nicosia
• Gozde Pehlivan and Melanie Pappas-Lemona – child creativity training
• Nick Pissourios and Erçim Uluğ – kite surfing
• John Papadikos and Tosun Altinel – fishing venture
• Costakis Constantinou and Kufi Tulga – fishing venture