Photo: Kerim Belet / UNDP Cyprus

Nicosia, 8 November 2021 - An event marking the occasion of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH) being awarded the 2021 European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award and the Grand Prix Laureate in the category for “Dedicated Service to Heritage by Organisations and Individuals” was held at the Home for Cooperation at 11 AM on 8 November 2021.

The event celebrated the TCCH having been selected from amongst exemplary heritage achievements across Europe to receive the region's top honor in the field of conservation projects. In attendance at the event were diplomatic corps, Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and Europa Nostra members, representatives from the European Commission, UN and UNDP as well as TCCH’s Heritage Youth Ambassadors who have been volunteering to engage and promote the preservation of cultural heritage In Cyprus.

The event included speeches from Ms. Myrto Zambarta, Head of Representation in Cyprus, European Commission, Mr. Jakhongir Khaydarov, UNDP’s Head of Office, Mrs. Naciye Doratli, Member of Europa Nostra, Mrs. Androula Vassilou, the Senior Vice President of Europa Nostra, Mr. Takis Hadjidemetriou and Mr. Ali Tuncay, the co-chairs of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. The speakers were introduced by Deniz Ozdiren and Andreas Panayiotou, Heritage Youth Ambassadors of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

Myrto Zambarta, Head of Representation in Cyprus, European Commission was the first to congratulate TCCH and said: “As one of the winners of 2021 European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards and Grand Prix Laureate in the category of “Dedicated Service to Heritage by Organisations and Individuals” the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage remains a key component of the reconciliation and confidence building actions supported by the EU in Cyprus. The Committee’s work centres cultural heritage as a powerful tool for peaceful cooperation and for the creation of a climate of reconciliation.”

Jakhongir Khaydarov, UNDP’s Head of Office expressed his appreciation for TCCH and said “Thank you for entrusting UNDP with the implementation of over 80 projects thus far. We thank you for your guidance and vision which enables the UNDP team to work with enthusiasm and professionalism, and to continue to invest efforts to ensure that together we deliver on what we promise. We stand before you today as proud partners. Thank you for entrusting UNDP with the implementation of your projects.”

Naciye Doratli, Member of Europa Nostra commended TCCH and spoke about cultural heritage as seeking “to promote a positive vision of cultural diversity, highlighting it as a source of innovation, dialogue, and peace”

Andriel Vassilou, Senior Vice President of Europa Nostra, highlighted that, “By awarding the Grand Prix to the TCCH we wanted to pass on a strong message: that people of different language, religion and culture can and should try to overcome their differences and work together for the common good and that cultural heritage is the glue that unites people, both among local communities and across borders.”

Takis Hadjidemetriou, Co-chair of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage spoke about the work of TCCH saying that, “If the Technical Committee has been working constructively for so many years, we owe it mainly to the spirit of honesty and trust that, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, have established between us, far from any expediencies or controversies, with only concern for Cyprus and its monuments.”

Ali Tuncay, Co-chair of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage concluded the speeches saying that “Cyprus is an island at the crossroads of three continents. Traditions and customs of all these civilisations, like Mycenaean, Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman left their mark on almost all parts of the island. Both the mosque and the church are ours. As the members of the Technical Committee, we acknowledge the responsibility and duty of preserving this richness and handing it over to future generations.”

Since 2012, 88 cultural heritage sites island-wide have been conserved, structurally supported, physically protected or restored by TCCH and UNDP, with funding from the EU. Approximately €22.4 million have been provided by the European Commission to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage for the preservation of the island-wide cultural heritage in Cyprus. The European Union is the biggest supporter of the work of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus.

For further information and media enquiries please contact UNDP at: media.cy@undp.org or Tel. +357 22874733 or +90392 2200027.

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