The Stelios Bi-Communal Business Awards 2015 ceremony took place in Nicosia on 26th October 2015. The charity, The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, was set up and is funded by Easy Jet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Iouannou and is working for lasting peace in Cyprus . A total of 31 awards were presented to the winners by Sir Haji-Ioannou in person for building Cypriot bi-communal cooperation in the areas of business, arts, sport, life, music and sciences with each winner receiving €10,000. Since its inception seven years ago the charity has so far awarded €2 million and next year Sir Haji-Ioannou has pledged to increase the amount to €500,000. In his speech, Sir Haji-Ioannou, whose parents were both born in Cyprus, said the foundation was one way of repaying his debt to society. He attributed this year’s great increase in applications to the positive political climate and to the opening of the bi-communal café in Nicosia. President Nicos Anastasiades, who was in attendance at the event, praised the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation for bringing together Greek and Cypriot entrepreneurs and said that their success was evidence of the strong desire in both communities to build a prosperous future together and the Republic of Cyprus very much, supports such initiatives.
He reiterated his commitment to finding a comprehensive settlement to unite the island during the current ongoing negotiations.
Continuing his address President Anastasiades said that the benefits of bi-communal cooperation will be greatly magnified once a settlement is reached both economically, and especially in regard to enabling them to live peacefully together once more in a stable European country. He assured all Cypriots both Greek and Turkish of his commitment to work at overcoming the challenges and maintaining a positive climate as they progress towards the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Sir Stelios, as he is affectionately known, was joined by officials, invited guests and the media on a peace walk from the present bi-communal café in the southern side of Nicosia to the site of a second bi-communal café in the north of the city which is currently undergoing renovation.
Sources: www.cyprus-mail.com, www.stelios.org, www.goldnews.com.cy.
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