Cyprus and Israel have solidified their commitment to cultural collaboration by signing, in mid-June, a comprehensive work plan that encompasses various fields. The agreement, covering the years 2023 to 2026, aims to enhance cooperation in culture, education, science, youth, and sports. This significant milestone was marked by a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education, attended by dignitaries and representatives from the relevant sectors.
Representing Cyprus, Minister of Education, Sport, and Youth, Dr Athena Michaelidou, along with Nurit Tinari, the Head of the Cultural Diplomacy Division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement from the Israeli side. Both officials delivered speeches during the ceremony, lauding the exceptional relations between the two nations and expressing their mutual desire to deepen these ties further. They hailed the work plan as a tangible manifestation of the strong bilateral relationship and expressed hope for the growth and development of both countries' educational and cultural institutions. The event received extensive media coverage from the state television channel.
This recent development follows the call made by Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides, who emphasized the importance of transforming Cyprus into a cultural hub and positioning the nation as a bridge connecting continents. President Christodoulides highlighted the need for a strategic approach to cultural diplomacy, pointing to Israel as a successful example of employing culture to convey messages, foster influence, and strengthen people-to-people connections.
In the wake of the signing ceremony, Israeli Ambassador Oren Anolik and Nurit Tinari engaged in a series of meetings with heads of divisions and departments from the Ministries of Education, Culture, and Foreign Affairs, as well as with officials from the Cypriot Sports Administration. They also held discussions with Michalis Hadjiyiannis, the Deputy Minister of Culture who is renowned as a singer in Greece and Cyprus. During these meetings, Hadjiyiannis provided updates on the imminent ratification of a film co-production agreement between the two countries.
Later in the evening, a reception was hosted at the ambassador's residence, attended by numerous prominent figures from Cyprus' cultural scene. Among the distinguished guests were George Papageorgiou, the artistic director of the Nicosia International Festival; Elmos Neocleus, the director of programs at the Cypriot public television CYBC; and Petros Petrou, CEO of the popular broadcast channel ALPHA. These influential individuals, along with other esteemed Cypriot artistic directors, producers, musicians, and artists interested in fostering cultural ties, gathered to discuss opportunities for collaboration between the two nations.
Several exciting ideas were explored during these discussions, including an upcoming event at the Nicosia International Festival titled "Israel - A Country in Focus." This event will showcase performances from Israel and feature screenings of jointly produced films. Additionally, plans were discussed for a television series festival, trilateral cooperation with Greece in the field of theater, collaborative projects between students at music academies in both countries, and the creation of a joint series addressing the topic of detention camps in Cyprus.
Ambassador Anolik: “The Israel-Cyprus relationship is strong and diverse, with collaboration in energy, tourism, trade, healthcare, innovation, security, and emergency response. It's an alliance based on shared values of stability, democracy, and prosperity. The new Working Program emphasizes our dedication to strengthening our bonds in culture, education, science, youth, and sport”.
The festivities surrounding the signing ceremony were brought to a close with a performance by the Inbal Pinto troupe. “Living Room” is Inbal Pinto Dance Company’s newest work and original production of Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre. "Living Room" features long-time collaborator dancer Moran Miller and dancer/choreographer Itamar Seroussi who returns to the stage after being based in Europe. Approximately 150 individuals witnessed the captivating dance piece titled "Living Room" at the Rialto Theater in Limassol.