More than 600 Greek and Turkish Cypriot have applied for this year’s Stelios Bi-Communal awards, the winners of which will be announced next Tuesday.
The awards will be given for the 11th consecutive year by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to 50 bi-communal teams, consisting of 50 Greek Cypriots and 50 Turkish Cypriots, will win a prize of €10,000 each.
Despite the particularly negative political climate in Cyprus, the number of applicants this year fell only by 15%.
One-third of the 600 participants are new applicants, one-third are previous winners and the rest are past applicants who have not yet won. As in previous years, more than half of the awards will be given to new applicants, as part of the organisation’s efforts to encourage a change of attitude towards the other community on the island of Cyprus.
A sad tone in the list of hundreds of applicants was the name of astrophysicist Natalie Christopher, who passed away unexpectedly in the summer. Natalie had submitted three different applications in the categories of science and sport showing her commitment for peace on the island. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, honouring Natalie’s memory and her will for peaceful coexistence in Cyprus, decided to award €30,000 for the three projects she had dreamt of with her Turkish Cypriot partners: Yenal Ogmen, Evren Cazil and Umrenil Umral.
The aim of the awards is to strengthen socio-economic ties between the two communities in Cyprus, to encourage cooperation and trust between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, thereby helping towards a lasting peace on the island. Since 2009, a total of €3,750,000 in cash prizes has been awarded.
The winners have been selected from the fields of business, science, arts and sports, as well partnerships of non-profit organisations. The winning category this year is Art, with a total of 12 awards. It is a category that verifies a shared love for culture that is growing each year, proving that theatre and music can bring people together.
The Partners in life category continues to shine with a steady increase in participations year on year. The Partners in Life category first appeared in 2015, with only one entry. In the last four years the number of applicants increased significantly showing there is less of a stigma nowadays in forming personal relationships with people from the other community and this year the number of entries rose to 26, of which six will be given awards.
The award ceremony will take place on October 8 at 7pm at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Headquarters near the Ledra Palace.