Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou on Tuesday handed out 50 cash prizes of €10,000 to Greek and Turkish Cypriots as part of his effort to consolidate the island’s bicommunal relations.
The aim of the charitable work of Sir Stelios is to establish lasting peace on the island.
During the awards ceremony, held in Nicosia, Sir Stelios said that participation in this year’s bicommunal awards exceeded all expectations, as the number of teams who applied doubled to reach 215, a new record.
The great response was due to the publicity received by the contest page of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation on Facebook.
Sir Stelios added: “We gave the opportunity to Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to join the group Stelios Cyprus Bi-Communal Awards 2016 on Facebook, to meet each other, to network and develop partnerships”.
President Nicos Anastasiades, who attended the event, said the Stelios Foundation not only rewards efforts to promote and develop joint projects between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in different areas, but actively contributes to strengthening socio-economic ties between the two communities.
Anastasiades stressed that the success of the awards is not surprising since Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots worked together for decades proving that their common denominator, which is their Cypriot identity and the desire to prosper together, is strong and durable.
“My presence here today sends a clear message that the Republic of Cyprus remains sincerely committed to support such bicommunal initiatives that support our efforts at the negotiating table, which aim to achieve a comprehensive solution which will end the unacceptable status quo and will reunite our country, its people, its economy and its institutions,” Anastasiades said.
Since 2009, when the awards were introduced, €2m has been granted for bicommunal projects.