The event organised by the Cyprus Peace Council (CPC) dedicated to the Cyprus Peace Award for 2023 took place in a very moving atmosphere on Wednesday, 14 February 2024, at the POED Hall in Nicosia.
Those receiving the Award were Donis Christofinis, teacher and politician, Panagiotis Paschalis†, journalist and the Bicommunal Organisation “Together We Can/Birlikte Başarabiliriz”. Within the framework of the event, the members of the Secretariat of the Cyprus Peace Council explained the rationale for the award.
In his speech, the President of the CPC, Tasos Kosteas pointed out that, at a time when bicommunal understanding in Cyprus and abroad appears to be distant, characterised by distrust and uncertainty, peace movements remain a powerful platform for social and political action to promote this goal.
The event was addressed by AKEL Parliamentary Representative Giorgos Loukaides, on behalf of General Secretary of AKEL Stefanos Stefanou, who referred to the importance of honoring people who, without any self-interest, contributed everything for the good of society as a whole.
The vocal group “KALESMA” participated in the cultural programme that followed, while the awards were designed and made by the sculptor Fotos Demetriou.
A few words about the awardees:
For ten years Donis Christofinis served Cypriot education – with great success and merit. His love for children, his broad smile and his infectiousness were elements that made him a sympathetic teacher for his pupils. It was then that he was won over by politics and wider social action as he became one of the pillars of the youth movement of the Left. He served the peace movement, AKEL, the Left, the young generation and the workers with self-denial and altruism. He fought in the field of solidarity and enlightenment of the Cypriot people like few others. Donis was for years the face of the Cypriot Left abroad – and he was warmly welcomed everywhere. As General Secretary of the Cyprus Peace Council, he forged relationships of mutual respect and trust and envisioned the region of Cyprus as a bridge of peace for all peoples.
Panagiotis Paschalis was one of the most important Cypriot journalists. He stood out for his political reporting and international news, especially on the Palestinian issue, which included many exclusives. He worked for the newspaper “Haravgi” and was a correspondent for the German Democratic Republic television. In 1978 he was arrested by the Israeli authorities and sentenced to five years in prison on the basis of false evidence. It was a political persecution aimed at silencing anyone who supported the just cause of Palestine. From the very moment of his arrest, an unstoppable wave of support for Panagiotis Paschalis was ignited until his release was secured. His release and the personal story of Paschalis is a historic legacy of internationalist solidarity, and in practice it has further forged the fraternal bonds between the Palestinian people and the Cypriot people.
The bi-communal initiative “Together We Can/Birlikte Başarabiliriz” is made up of relatives of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons and victims of the war, founded after the opening of the checkpoints. The aim of the organisation is not only to carry out joint actions to determine the fate of their own people but also to provide joint support for the major problems that arise. The pain is common as is the effort to solve the small and big problems of our country. The “Together We Can” team opens up paths there and when the barbed wire of division seems insurmountable. It has made a significant long-standing contribution to healing the open wounds of the past, while making a substantive contribution to ensuring that the seeds of peace come to fruition in a peaceful and prosperous country, without any more blood of violence, intolerance and chauvinism.

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