On 25th May, the National Federation of Cypriots held its 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and biennial elections. Alongside a top-team from across the UK Cypriot community, Christos Karaolis was re-elected as President for a fourth term that will run until 2025.
The AGM elected Marios Miniades, President of Greek Orthodox Communities, as Chair of the Meeting and Elections Committee, alongside a committee consisting of Anastasia Tjirkalli, Christopher Michael, George Maifoshis and Pantellis Trattos.
President and Treasurer’s Report
Mr Karaolis reflected on the events and achievements of the previous term of office in his report. Beginning his address, Mr Karaolis reflected on COVID-19 and effects which ‘forced all the Federation members and the Secretariat to rapidly rethink their operating model and tragically took the lives of many, including some people very close to us’ and he asked for a minute of silence in memory of those who passed away.
Despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic, Mr Karaolis was ‘pleased to report that we are well on our way across’ both pledges made at the start of the previous term. These were to ‘continue increasing friends in parliament and outside, as well as driving policy change in the UK’ and to ‘build impactful collaboration with our diaspora to other communities to amplify our voice.’
Central to our work in parliament, Mr Karaolis remarked, is the use of e-campaigns which ‘have now become a core and effective element of our lobbying toolkit.’ Mr Karaolis reported that #HandsOffCyprus, the Federation’s flagship annual e-campaign, ‘now reaches over 70% of MPs, up from ~40% when we first launched them in 2018 [..] and as a result the abolition of guarantees and removal of troops has become a consistent policy of the Labour Party, Lib Dems and the Green Party, and a large number of Conservative MPs.’ The campaign, he noted, leads up to our annual Parliamentary event meeting and reception which ‘now routinely attracts upwards 15-20 Parliamentarians including Ministers and Shadow Ministers.’
Effective mobilisation, social media campaigning and more traditional letter writing also proved key over the last term of office. Mr Karaolis highlighted the Federation’s work against the continued adverts for holidays in occupied Cyprus, ensuring that “some publications who we spoke with, agreed not to publish such adverts again.”
As for building partnerships with other diasporas, Mr Karaolis told the audience that ‘We have begun to build deep partnerships with other diaspora communities, most notable the Jewish, Egyptian, Armenian and Kurdish diasporas.’ With these groups, the Federation has ‘written a number of joint letters with other diaspora to British Government Ministers on issues such as trade and defence’ as well as ‘hosted working meetings with all diasporas to discuss areas of collaboration and common interest.’ These actions work, to ‘collectively highlight why bad actors, like Turkey, should not receive red-carpet treatment by the UK Government.’
Mr Karaolis also expressed thanks to all those who support the Federation. From the Republic of Cyprus, he recognised the ‘staunch and steadfast support’ of ‘our excellent High Commissioner, Consul General and all the team at the High Commission, Archbishop Nikitas, the Greek Ambassador, the President of Cyprus, Foreign Minister and Government Spokesperson.’
From the community, Mr Karaolis gave his deep gratitude for our media partners, who have continued to cover and support our events, namely Parikiaki, Eleftheria, Hellenic TV and LGR.
On behalf of the Treasurer Ninos Koumettou, Christos Karaolis also presented the Federation’s accounts for the last financial year. Mr Karaolis thanked all those who have contributed and donated to the Federation to make its financial health and security possible.
Following the reports, Representatives discussed strategies to encourage community engagement across the country and recent developments in the Cyprus issue.
Election of Secretariat and Officers 2023-2025:
Representatives from member associations elected the new members of the Federation’s Secretariat for 2023-25. In addition to the 30 Secretariat members elected from the Federations member organisations, an additional seven ‘Youth List’ members were elected on the Secretariat, who are aged 28 to 38. The three representatives from NEPOMAK UK, the Federation’s youth-branch, were also ratified as members of the Secretariat (see below for full list). Over a quarter of the Federation’s Secretariat remains under-38, signalling the strong engagement of UK Cypriot youth in the Federation and the wider Cyprus issue.
The election of the Federation’s Officers followed, for President, Vice-President, General Secretary and Treasurer. The following individuals were duly elected: President | Christos Karaolis Vice-Presidents | Michalis Ellinas, Ninos Koumettou, Andreas Papaevripides General Secretary |Antonia Michaelides Treasurer | Bambos Charalambous
Events to mark anniversary of Turkish invasion and POMAK/PSEKA/NEPOMAK Conference in Cyprus
The AGM then moved to discuss the Federation’s annual parliamentary meeting and reception. Federation President, Christos Karaolis announced that the flag-ship event would be taking place at 7:15PM on Tuesday 18th July. H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Costantinos Kombos, was announced as the event’s main speaker. The President also informed members that a Memorial Service & Prayers for the Missing for those who defended Cyprus in 1974 will take place on Sunday 16 July at Panagia Church in Wood Green and will be officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas. In closing, the President also said that the Federation would shortly be launching the annual #HandsOffCyprus e-campaign in the run-up to the Turkish invasion via the Federation’s website www.cypriotfederation.org.uk/mp
Andreas Papaevripides, President of POMAK, also spoke about the upcoming 2023 POMAK-PSEKA World Conference. The annual meeting of the federations of overseas Cypriots will take place from 22 to 25th August 2023. Christos Tuton, President of NEPOMAK, gave an update about the upcoming NEPOMAK Executive Council meeting in Cyprus, also take place during the same period. Members exchanged views and suggestions on the proposed topics for discussion at the annual conference.
The following individuals were elected on the Secretariat from the Federation’s member associations:
Andronicou Nick, Antoniou Michael, Charalambous Bambos, Constantinides Susie, Ellinas Michalis, Georgiou Costas, Georgiou Yiannakis, Gregoriou Andreas, Hadjiphilippou Savvas, Harmanda Katia, Karaolis Christos, Karaolis Mary, Karseras Andreas, Kkolas Petros, Koumettou Ninos, Kouttoukis George, Kouvaros Menicos, Kouvaros Ioannis, Mavrou Vasilis, Michaelides Stelios, Nicolaou Evoulla,
Papaevripides Andreas, Pavlides Savvas, Sakkas Costas, Theodoulou George, Theophanous Phanos, Vourou Tony, Yiacoumi, Michael, Yiacoumi Panayiotis, and Yiannoullou Nicholas,
The following individuals were elected onto the Secretariat via the Youth List:
Adamou Tes, Alexandrou Constantine, Ioannou Chriso, Kitsopoulos Nicole, Michaelides Antonia, Savva Savvas and Tsangaris, Christina
The representatives from the youth branch of the Federation – NEPOMAK UK – had its representatives to the Secretariat ratified:
Bedrossian Katie, Patsalos Adrian and Tuton Christos