President Nikos Christodoulides accepted Michalis Hadjiyiannis’ resignation from the post of deputy culture minister, which was immediately reappointed to academic Vasiliki (Lina) Kassianidou.

The president thanked Hadjiyiannis for the work he carried out during his time as a deputy minister, reflecting on their long-term friendship and wished him success in his future.

“If you know where you are going then you know when it is time to leave, and I did not come here and enter government to earn fame or glory,” Hadjiyiannis said, explaining that he felt a duty to do what he can for the cultural sector.

But Hadjiyiannis, the former performer and pop star, got off to a shaky start at his post with the government – with many expressing surprise at the president’s pick.

The new cabinet was sworn in on March 1.

Hadjiyiannis referenced his long-time friendship with Christodoulides, adding that he first accepted the post with the aim of achieving three main goals – which have been secured.

Those policies, Hadjiyiannis said, included: the professional recognition of artists with about 2,500 being included in the social security payments (future pensions), the pre-paid youth cards worth €200, and the exemption of taxes on funds provided as sponsorships for cultural events.

He also referenced the overhaul of the antiquities department which is now under the deputy culture ministry.

In his resignation letter, Hadjiyiannis emphasises that his greatest goal in life is composing music.

“That’s where I come from and where I shall return,” he said.

Taking over his portfolio is prolific academic Kassianidou, with a statement from the government detailing her long CV.

According to her profile from the University of Cyprus (UCY), Kassianidou has been teaching environmental archaeology and archaeometry at UCY since 1994.

In May 2023 she was elected dean of the Faculty of Letters. From June 2015 to August 2019, she was the director of the archaeological research unit (ARU) of the UCY. Kassianidou has been active in the administration of UCY serving as vice-chair of the Department of History and Archaeology, as a member of the UCY Senate and as a member of various committees.

She is also a member of the Cyprus National Commission for Unesco. From 2014 -2016 she served as the president of the board of trustees of the cultural foundation of the Bank of Cyprus. In October 2018 she was appointed to the board of directors of the newly established national board of research and innovation by the council of ministers. In 2022 she was elected corresponding member of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Kassianidou studied at Bryn Mawr College, USA where she did a double major in chemistry and classical and near eastern archaeology. She received her bachelor degree with a distinction (Cum Laude) in 1989. She continued her studies at the institute of archaeology, University College London where she received her doctoral degree on archaeometallurgy in 1993.

In 1994 she joined the faculty of the Department of History and Archaeology of UCY and has held the position of full professor since 2013. Her research is focused on ancient technology and specifically the production and trade of Cypriot copper through antiquity but also on the impact of this industry on the Cypriot landscape and environment.

She has taken part and directed a number of field and analytical projects regarding her fields of expertise and has an extensive list of publications which include two edited volumes, three co-authored volumes and over fifty articles in peer reviewed journals, edited volumes and conference proceedings.