Cypriot diaspora also taking keen interest in elections, Cyprus Mail 12/02/2023
By Andria Kades and Paul Lambis
With the presidential elections dominating news broadcasts across Cyprus for the past few weeks it is not just those on the island that have been following developments. Despite being thousands of miles away, those in the diaspora also have strong ideas on what they want from the new president.
“Diaspora Cypriots care deeply about the island and its fortunes, and want to know that the island is in good hands going forwards,” head of the world organisation for young overseas Cypriots Nepomak-UK Christos Tuton said.
“While some will have a view on who their preferred candidate might be, I think most young people in the diaspora are eager to support the new president, whoever it is, and give them a chance to do their best for our beloved homeland.”
Heated debates and apathy are two ends of the political engagement that have characterised the election campaign. “I guess like in Cyprus, some Cypriots in the UK are really passionate about the elections and there are a few very interesting debates between people. Others are just interested and others are simply not interested,” head and co-founder of Cypriots in the City Association (London, UK) Theophanis Theophanous said.
In his opinion, whoever is elected should set up Cypriot schools in countries where there are a large number of Cypriots. “We should try through these schools to embrace our Cypriot identity while at the same time promoting our ethnicity and having Cypriot children from all the Cypriot communities spending a few hours per week together.
“I am going a step further to say also teach them the language of the other community.”
Head of the Pancyprian Association of America Philip Christopher argued that no matter what “the diaspora must stay united and Cypriot elections bring an end to division!”
Tuton highlighted the diaspora have a different perspective. “I find that we often have a more romantic and traditional view of the island. So, while we may not be clued up on the latest issues and trends, we can help share our enthusiasm and aspiration for Cyprus to be the best it can be.”
Head of the national federation of Cypriots in the UK Christos Karaolis said the 300,000-strong Cypriot diaspora has enjoyed a close and productive collaboration with all presidents of the Republic of Cyprus.
“There is a wealth of Cypriot diaspora talent at the top levels of all professions in the UK and globally. These individuals care about Cyprus and want to give back. So, there is a very real opportunity for the new government to draw upon this expertise whether formally, or just advisory, to help Cyprus.”
Ultimately, the thing that diaspora Cypriots want most is the reunification of Cyprus, Tuton concluded. “Our dream is to have a president that will inspire us and lead us towards that.”