One hundred Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriot paired into 50 bicommunal teams will on Tuesday receive their cash awards of €10,000 in the annual Stelios Cyprus Bi-Communal Awards 2019 in Nicosia.
The foundation of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said on Monday that more than 600 Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots joined forces and applied for the Stelios Bi-Communal Awards 2019.
“Despite the particularly negative political climate in Cyprus, the number of applicants this year was only marginally lower than last year, by a factor of around 15 per cent,” a statement said.
One-third of the 600 participants were new applicants, one-third were previous winners and the rest were past applicants that have not yet won.
As in previous years, more than half of the awards will be given to new applicants, as part of efforts to encourage a change of attitude towards the other community on the island.
The aim of the awards is to strengthen the socio-economic ties between the two communities in Cyprus, to encourage cooperation and trust between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Since 2009, the total sum of €3.75m in cash prizes has been awarded.
The winners this year have been selected from the fields of business, science, arts, and sports, as well partnerships of non-profit organisations.
The winning category this year was in the arts, with a total of 12 awards.
“It is a category that prevails, verifying a shared love for culture that is growing each year, proving that theatre and music can bring together people,” the statement said.
The Partners in Life category is also showing a steady increase in participation year on year, the foundation said. It 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”.
“A sad tone in the list of hundreds of applicants was the name of astrophysicist Natalie Christopher, who passed away unexpectedly last summer,” it added.
Natalie had submitted three different applications in the categories of science and sport showing her commitment to peace on the island. Sir Stelios, 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 award ceremony which is held exclusively for the winners and their partner only and will take place on Tuesday at 7pm at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Headquarters, located at 5 Markou Drakou Street, Nicosia, close to Ledra Palace.
For the latest news of all the activities of the Stelios Foundation in Cyprus please visit our local website: www.steliosfoundation.com.cy