Press release: NEPOMAK UK’s 20th anniversary celebration
NEPOMAK UK 20th Anniversary Celebration
On Thursday 14 July 2022, both current and associate members of NEPOMAK UK celebrated its 20 year anniversary, marking 20 years since the organisation was officially established. The anniversary celebration was hosted at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood in North London, with the Republic of Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, as the Guest of Honour.
Also in attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira & Great Britain, the High Commissioner for Cyprus to the UK, H.E. Mr Andreas Kakouris and diplomats from the Cyprus High Commission and the Hellenic Embassy. The Presidents of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK (C. Karaolis), POMAK (A. Papaevripides), NEPOMAK (C. Tuton) and the Greek Orthodox Communities (M. Minaides) attended, as well as representatives of community associations such as UK branches of Cyprus’s political parties and former and current officers, committee members and members of NEPOMAK UK.
‘Keep it simple, continue the good work and be ready’ were the words of wisdom shared by the Minister during his speech to a packed house on Thursday evening. The Minister thanked NEPOMAK UK for the invitation to be the Guest of Honour and congratulated the organisation, its membership and all those who played their role over the years, highlighting this important milestone and encouraging the current committee to keep up the good work.He welcomed the efforts of the hundreds of volunteers over the years, especially those who stepped up to help the vulnerable and the elderly during the lockdowns created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister Kasoulides, shared his memories from the inaugural conference of NEPOMAK in Nicosia, whilst he was serving his first term as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was delighted to see familiar faces that were present at that first conference, including NEPOMAK UK’s first President Menicos Kouvaros and General Secretary, Christos Karaolis. He commended them both for their work, during their terms as NEPOMAK Officers, but also for staying involved in the community through their roles in NEPOMAK UK’s parent organisation, the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.
Addressing the members of NEPOMAK UK, the Minister encouraged them to “keep it simple and go back to the basics,” when learning about and advocating for a free, united Cyprus. The unfortunate and illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, has shocking parallels to the illegal invasion and occupation of Cypriot land by Turkey. Referring to the recent and ongoing war in Ukraine, he said that it “has made everyone aware of the tragic consequences of illegal invasions and occupations. Whilst showing empathy and solidarity to Ukraine, it is important to remind everyone in the UK of the injustice and the pain the Cypriot people, the hundreds of thousands refugees and the families of the missing have endured for 48 years.”
In conclusion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reminded NEPOMAK UK members of their duty to “be ready, to join, contribute to and continue the work of the Federation in the UK, as well as the work of POMAK & PSEKA.”
Welcoming the Guest of Honour and thanking him for accepting the invitation, NEPOMAK UK’s President Adrian Patsalos, said that “it is rather symbolical, that it is, with the same minister, who was in office when NEPOMAK & NEPOMAK UK were formally established, that we have the opportunity to mark and celebrate this occasion today.”
He paid tribute to the work and efforts of the National Federation of Cypriots Youth (NFCY) Steering Committee prior to 2002, as well as Mr Harry Sophoclides, Mr Andreas Papaevripides, Mrs Ioannis andMrs Victoria Kouvaros, Mr Andreas Karaolis and those in the UK Cypriot community who helped to put together the pillars that the successive committees of NEPOMAK UK have built on over the past 20 years.
Addressing the Minister, NEPOMAK UK’s President thanked His Excellency for all his support over the years. He said that he hoped that “our presence here, 20 years later, is a reassurance, not only for the Ministry, but also for the older generations that, despite NEPOMAK members not being alive when Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus, we understand the pain caused and sympathise with the consequences faced by our parents & grandparents.” He added that “our presence is also a promise, that for as long as NEPOMAK exists, there will be young members of the diaspora that will be ready to continue the tireless work of the many volunteers of the regional Federations, POMAK & PSEKA.”
The President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK (NFC UK) Mr Christos Karaolis spoke on behalf of NEPOMAK UK’s parent organisation, congratulating the U.K. Cypriot youth for reaching this milestone. He paid tribute to all those who helped to formally establish the youth organisation of the community 20 years ago.
He added that “It is therefore a testament to the vision of those who saw the need for NEPOMAK and the multiple generations of individuals who have led and been involved with NEPOMAK UK, that the organisation has reached this fantastic milestone. I know just how much work is involved to keep the organisation thriving, having served as President of NEPOMAK UK, or NEPOMAK for a total of 9 years, so well done to everyone involved. It is an achievement that we should all celebrate and be proud of.”
Upon the completion of their term at the High Commission, NEPOMAK UK & NFC UK jointly recognised and expressed their gratitude to Deputy High Commissioner Mr Nicholas Manolis and Consul General Mr Theodoros Gotsis.
The Membership of NEPOMAK UK also formally acknowledged the unanimous decision taken at their last General Meeting in December, making Constantine Alexandrou the organisation’s First Honorary President, in recognition of his extraordinary efforts and leadership demonstrated to see the organisation through the challenges and barriers created by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Executive Committee of NEPOMAK UK, also recognised the efforts of the First Officer team of NFCY/NEPOMAK UK, paying tribute to the hard work and challenging tasks that the first team of the organisation had to address both after but also prior to the organisation being formally established. The recipients were Menicos Kouvaros (1st President), Androulla Soteri (1st Vice President), Christos Karaolis (1st General Secretary) and Cleo Papaphotis (1st Treasurer).
All the commemorative plaques were kindly presented to the recipients by Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. NEPOMAK UK Vice President Christina Tsangaris, coordinated the formal proceedings of the evening, whilst blessings both prior dinner and the cutting of celebratory cake were given to NEPOMAK UK, its membership and all those present by His Eminence, Archbishop Nikitas. In addition to the blessings, His Eminence stressed the importance of everyone registering to vote, especially young people. The Archdiocese will coordinate a campaign later this year, making the Greek Orthodox Churches voter registration hubs for the community to register at.
NEPOMAK UK would like to express its appreciation to the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood for hosting the celebration in their premises, the caterers Andreas & Anna Kkamaris for their generous support, Mrs Helen Alexandrou for preparing the celebratory cake and to the media coverage provided by Hellenic TV, Parikiaki and Eleftheria Newspapers.