On June 15th the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK held its biennial elections for its Secretariat and Officers in the presence of the Consul General of the Cyprus High Commission, Mr Ioannis Koukoularides. Christos Karaolis, the first third-generation Cypriot to hold the position, was re-elected as President. Reflecting on his first term, Mr Karaolis said that, “whilst we’ve had a lot of successes over the last two years to advance the Cyprus Issue and the UK Cypriot community, there is still much more to do. I’m looking forward to working with our new team which has an exciting balance of young energy and experience.”
Mr Karaolis spoke of his great pride at the election of a member of our community, Mr Bambos Charalambous, to the House of Commons whilst also thanking Mr David Burrowes, (Mr Charalambous’ predecessor) for his hard work for the Cypriot community. Mr Karaolis also expressed his deep sadness that Sir Alan Meale, a friend of Cyprus for 30 years, had lost his seat in Mansfield. Before concluding his speech, Mr Karaolis took a moment to pay tribute to the work of his predecessors, Dr Homer Habibis, Mr George Christophides, Mr Haris Sophoclides and Mr Peter Droussiotis as well as the Executive Secretary, Mr Andreas Karaolis.
Mr Karaolis stressed the close collaboration of the Federation with the Cypriot High Commission, the Greek Embassy and the Greek Orthodox Church. He also mentioned the numerous events held by the Federation and contacts made between the Federation’s members and stakeholders in Parliament and decision makers in the UK.
Mr Karaolis highlighted key areas of focus for his second term. Firstly, Mr Karaolis spoke of the importance of raising awareness of the Cyprus Issue by further expanding Cyprus’ parliamentary friends, as well as building partnerships with other diasporas and organisations. Secondly, he spoke about the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to engage second- and third-generation Cypriots to further advance the community.
To oversee the smooth running of the elections as well as the counting of votes, a committee was elected by the delegates. Mr Christodoulos Stylianou (Honorary Vice President of the Federation) was elected as Chair and was assisted by a committee composed by Ms Aliki Koumettou; Ms Anastasia Tjirkalli; Mr Andreas Gavrielides; Mr Andreas Karseras; Mr George Michael; Ms Lia Papamichael; Ms Maria Paschali; Ms Maria Kyriacou; Mr Michael Agathou; Mr Nakis Merkis; and Mr Yiannis Efthymiou.
The Federation elected its Secretariat and, from the members of the Secretariat, elected its President, 3 Vice Presidents, General Secretary, and Treasurer. The full list of names and their positions can be found below.
A notable outcome of this year’s election was that, for the first time, a quarter of the Federation’s Secretariat are now under the age of 38. The Federation’s member associations welcomed this as a very positive sign that young, British-born Cypriots are actively engaged with the future of the UK Cypriot diaspora, as well as the Cyprus Issue. The large proportion of younger Secretariat members will bring fresh ideas and energy to the organisation and the UK Cypriot community.
At the very start of the meeting the President Mr. Christos Karaolis gave an update on the Federation’s activities for the term 2015-17 and thanked the Secretariat and the member associations for their hard work during that period. He also expressed his grief for the tragic terrorist attacks in the UK and the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower leading the meeting into a minute’s silence.
The Treasurer, Mr Ninos Koumettou, provided an update on the Federation’s financial position and said that he was very satisfied with the period 2015-17.
After the elections for the Secretariat were concluded, the representatives of Federation member associations that were present discussed the Federation’s latest news. They discussed topics including the Cyprus Pledge Card campaign; the events in July to mark the anniversary of the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation in 1974; the PSEKA Conference in Washington DC on 6-8 June; and the POMAK/PSEKA Conference in Nicosia on 21-23 August which POMAK President Mr Andreas Papaevripides reminded the Federation that each member association can send a delegate to.
One of the major talking points of the AGM was the recent Cyprus Pledge Card campaign that was signed by many candidates before the recent General Election on 8 June. Mr Christos Karaolis thanked the member associations for their help in making the campaign a success and emphasised the importance of grassroots community action when it comes to similar campaigns in the future, as politicians prioritise the letters and concerns of their own constituents. Other delegates at the AGM shared Mr Karaolis’ view and said that they were pleased to with the Cyprus Pledge Card campaign and believed it was important to get politicians to have a common and committed position on the Cyprus Issue, which the Cyprus Pledge Card campaign ensured.
Significantly, Ms Susie Constantinides announced that following police advice and the difficulty in obtaining insurance, the annual Rally for Cyprus will not be held this year. Instead, all efforts will be put into the annual Parliamentary Reception for Cyprus on Tuesday 11 July and the picket for the missing persons that will take place shortly before.
Full election results
The following were elected as Officers of the Federation:
President| Christos Karaolis
Vice Presidents | Andreas Papaevripides, Bambos Charalambous, Michalis Ellinas
General Secretary | Michael Kashis
Treasurer | Ninos Koumettou
Andreas Chimonas (OESEKA)
Andreas Georgiou (Achna Assn of England)
Andreas Gregoriou (AKEL UK)
Andreas Papaevripides (Democratic Rally – DESY UK)
Antonia Michaelides (via NEPOMAK UK)
Bambos Charalambous (AKEL UK)
Caterina Fragkoulidou (DEKFA Students Union)
Chriso Ioannou [YL]
Christina Pippas (NEPOMAK UK) [YL]
Christos Karaolis (Greek Cypriot Brotherhood)
Christos Tuton (via NEPOMAK UK)
Costas Georgiou (Vasili Leonarisso Assn)
Costas Sakkas (Aradippou Assn)
Eleni Palazidou (Union of Cypriots in England – EKA)
Evoulla Nicolaou (Cypriot Women’s League)
George Maifoshis (Enosi Apodimon Periferias Morphou)
George Michaelides (Waltham Forest Cypriot Community)
Harry Charalambous (via NEPOMAK UK)
Ioanna Michaelidou (Greek Parents Assn) [YL]
Katia David Harmanda (Ayios Andronicos Assn)
Lakis Andronikou (Anglo-Cypriot Association of Scientists – EPISTEME)
Mary Helen Karaolis (Rizokarpaso Assn UK)
Menicos Kouvaros (Greek Cypriot Brotherhood)
Michael Kashis (EDEK UK)
Michael Yiakoumi (Cypriot Football League England – KOPA)
Michalakis Michael (Cypriot Football League England – KOPA)
Michalis Ellinas (Democratic Party – DEKO UK)
Neophytos Nicolaou (Parikiaki)
Nikos Andronikou (Democratic Party – DEKO UK)
Ninos Koumettou (Assn of Maronites in the UK)
Panayiotis Yiakoumi (Greek Parents Assn)
Peter Charalambous (NEPOMAK UK) [YL]
Savvas Hadjiphilippou (Organisation of Relatives of Missing Persons UK) [YL]
Savvas Pavlides (Lapithos & Karavas Assn)
Stephanos Habeshis (Komi Kebir Assn) [YL]
Susie Constantinides (Cypriot Women’s League)
Theo Papapavlou (Sydesmos Andistasiakon)
Vasilis Mavrou (Famagusta Assn)
Yiannis Koumettou (Greek Cypriot Brotherhood) [YL]
Yiannis Kouvaros (Organisation of Relatives of Missing Persons UK)
*YL – Youth List Candidates