On Saturday 18 January, the Federation hosted a dinner in honour of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Prodromos Prodromou. The Minister was in London to visit community Greek language schools and earlier in the day visited Manor Hill, Ashmole, Potters Bar and Saint Barnabas. During his visit he also participated in the World Education Forum; met with the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore MP; and Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Dr Joanna Newman MBE.
At the dinner with the Federation, Mr Prodromou expressed his strong support and gratitude for the work done by UK Cypriots to teach the next generation of the community the Greek language, traditional songs and dance. The Minister noted that community education is a fundamental part of the Cypriot diaspora and said that “the Government of Cyprus holds utmost appreciation for the teachers, students and parents in their efforts to preserve culture and history through community schools.” He also praised the Cyprus Educational Mission in the UK, which he said is an integral part of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s strategic vision.
Mr Prodromou also spoke about Turkey’s latest announcement that it intends to illegally drill in Block 8 of the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He said that Turkey’s actions are in clear contravention of international law and that the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus would brief his EU colleagues on the latest situation. Mr Prodromou expressed regret that Turkey has opted for this aggressive and illegal course of action rather than engaging in the process of restarting negotiations towards a reunified Cyprus.
In his welcome address, Mr Karaolis paid tribute to the work of community schools and said that “education has been at the heart of the UK Cypriot community for over half a century and multiple generations of UK Cypriots, have worked tirelessly, mostly as volunteers, to educate the children of our community.” He added that, “education is the best way of preserving our cultural heritage, language, history and national story.” He thanked the Minister for the Government of Cyprus’ strong support for community schools over the years by sending teachers, textbooks and other materials. He ended his remarks by raising the need for even greater cooperation between the Government of Cyprus and community schools to tackle problems they face and to ensure that schools remain interesting and relevant for the next generation of children.
Also present at the dinner were, H.E. the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Andreas Kakouris; the Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate, Mr Bambos Charalambous MP; the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nicholas Manolis; the Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus to the UK, Mr Theodoros Gotsis; the Head of the Cyprus Educational Mission in the UK, Dr Vasiliki Kouma; Dr Ioannis Savvides and Sofia Ioannou Georgiou (both from the Ministry of Education & Culture); the President of POMAK, Mr Andreas Papaevripides; the President of NEPOMAK, Mr Christos Tuton; Vice-President of the Federation, Mr Michael Ellinas; Executive Secretaries of the Federation, Mr Andreas Karaolis & Mr Adrian Patsalos; representatives of the Federation’s Secretariat and its member associations; and representatives of various community Greek schools.