Γραφείο Επιτρόπου Προεδρίας

Γραφείο Επιτρόπου Προεδρίας

ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ ΚΥΠΡΙΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΔΙΑΣΠΟΡΑΣ 2022 (ΠΟΜΑΚ-ΠΣΕΚΑ-ΝΕΠΟΜΑΚ)


26/07/2022 - Χαιρετισμός του Προέδρου της ΝΕΠΟΜΑΚ κ. Christos Tuton κατά την τελετή έναρξης των εργασιών του Παγκόσμιου Συνεδρίου Κυπρίων Διασποράς 2022



Εξοχότατε κύριε Πρόεδρε της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας,
Έκλεκτοι προσκέκλημένοι,
Κυρίες και κύριοι,

It is a pleasure to be gathered here again for the first time since 2019 following a painful couple of years. Many of us sit here tonight having sadly lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we keep them close through our thoughts and prayers. Αιωνία τους η μνήμη.

Neither of my parents were born in Cyprus. One of them isn’t Cypriot. Growing up, I was never sure what to make of my identity, but my Yiayia and Bappou were the gateway to my Cypriot heritage. They taught me, and continue to teach me, Cypriot traditions and history. They make sure I am aware of their story, the diaspora story. A story of struggles and hardships, of longing and sacrifice, of hope and opportunity. They talked to me about what it means to be part of the Cypriot diaspora and the special collective experience that brings to us all. Most importantly, they shared their dreams of a thriving Cypriot diaspora throughout the generations. They taught me that the diaspora story never ends.

20 years ago, a group of young, diaspora Cypriots with an exceptional passion for their heritage came together with the dreams of their parents and grandparents in their minds. They built a place for likeminded young Cypriots to be connected with each other and with their homeland. They knew that to do this successfully they had to build an organisation of young, diaspora Cypriots; by young diaspora Cypriots; and for young, diaspora Cypriots. With the assistance and guidance of POMAK and PSEKA, NEPOMAK was created as an autonomous body run entirely by volunteers. 20 years later, NEPOMAK proudly stands as the spiritual home of young Cypriots in the diaspora.

Since its establishment in 2002, NEPOMAK has succeeded in three key ways. We have:

    · connected diaspora Cypriots to their heritage, culture and identity;
    · built long-lasting bonds between our members across the world;
    · proudly supported the people and Government of Cyprus in their just struggle for a free, united island.

I have been involved in NEPOMAK for 7 years. In that time, I have learned more about Cyprus than I could ever imagine. I have seen hundreds of people attend our flagship cultural programmes NDCP and NCCT, including many that hadn’t even been to Cyprus before. I have seen fellow NEPOMAK members grow as individuals and take their first steps as community leaders. I have watched friendships grow between young Cypriots around the world, and just two weeks ago I was at the wedding of a couple who met through NEPOMAK – not the first and not the last. In short, this organisation has changed lives and changed the future of the Cypriot diaspora.

These achievements have come despite countless challenges and reservations. It was said that the younger generation weren’t interested in their Cypriot heritage. It was said that the young people of our diaspora were losing touch with their identity. It was said that the young people of our diaspora had too many other considerations, such as careers and family, to give back to their community. NEPOMAK has proved that to be totally wrong.

Therefore, on this special 20th anniversary of our organisation, I would like to express NEPOMAK’s collective gratitude to all the volunteers who have given their time and energy to help make NEPOMAK the organisation that it is today. A special thanks must also go to our founding members, and our former presidents: Menicos Kouvaros, Christos Karaolis, and Antonia Michaelides. Without all of them, our achievements would not be possible. We are also incredibly grateful to POMAK, PSEKA, and the Cypriot Government for their outstanding support over the years. And to the Youth Board of Cyprus and the University of Cyprus for our ongoing close partnerships.

Ladies and gentlemen,

My grandparents have always had another dream. They dream of a reunified Cyprus, where Cypriots live and prosper together.

My generation are appalled at Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We are horrified by the suffering that we observe. We are frightened by the inability of the international community, despite its best efforts, to prevent this blatant act of aggression. However, for Cypriots, this is sadly far too familiar. We have seen this before. We know that Cypriots went through the same pain, as refugees, as relatives of the missing, and as a people who want peace for our homeland.

Yet we are gathered here today over 48 years since Turkey illegally invaded and occupied well over a third of our beloved Cyprus. Famagusta, Kyrenia, Morphou, Rizokarpasso. These are names that we’ll always fight for. And let’s not forget that tonight, we have travelled to Cyprus from London, New York, Sydney, Toronto, Johannesburg, Athens. We have travelled from all corners of the globe, and we sit in a divided city, the last divided capital city in the world. It is unacceptable, and it is a shame on the international community.

That’s why we are here, Mr President. We are here to offer our assistance to the people of Cyprus and their democratically elected Government to help secure the freedom of our homeland. We are here to reaffirm our commitment to continue the struggle of those generations before us. We will do all that we can to make it clear to our governments back home that if they do not stop Turkey’s actions then they are complicit. They cannot simply sit back and close their eyes as Turkey demands partition and opens Varosi inch-by-inch.

For as long as there are Turkish occupying troops on our beloved island, we will fight for justice for Cyprus. For freedom. For reunification. For the end of the illegal occupation.

In closing, I would like to once again thank those who have contributed NEPOMAK’s successes over the last 20 years. NEPOMAK awakens a passion for Cyprus deep in the bones of young, diaspora Cypriots and gives them opportunities to engage with their roots. We will carry the torch of the Cypriot diaspora into the future.

Thank you


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