The former Greek Cypriot head of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage Takis Hadjidemetriou was awarded the Medal of Excellence for his years of dedicated service during a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace on Thursday.
Hadjidemetriou stepped down from his post last month. He became the head of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in 2008, when the committees were established in Cyprus under then President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader at the time, Mehmet Ali Talat.
Speaking during the award ceremony, Anastasiades paid tribute to Hadjidemetriou, whom he called “a fair and consistent politician, a selfless citizen and a Cypriot who fights for a homeland without barbed wire.”
“In over 70 years in the political arena, not only did he experience important events in the modern history of Cyprus, but he was part of them,” Anastasiades said.
“I had the honour of working closely with him throughout my career and I can honestly say he left an indelible mark on the political and social landscape of Cyprus.
“Above all, however, he always displayed a special love and sensitivity for the importance of culture, which he tried and succeeded in preserving.
“For him the different cultural backgrounds of his associates, the different religions and origins, have never been reasons for friction, but instead he regarded them as wealth for our history and culture.”
Anastasiades also praised Hadjidemetriou and the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for restoring over 90 archaeological sites, both in the republic and in the north.
“His dedicated efforts as the committee’s head contributed significantly to the preservation of the heritage of our country, but also to the creation of a climate of trust and understanding between the two communities, which gives hope to all of us.”
Sotos Ktoris, already a member of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, has been named as the new head replacing Hadjidemetriou.