Vassos Lyssarides is known as a man of vision with a firm belief in human equality. A close associate of Archbishop Makarios, he is the founder of EDEK,the first Socialist Party of Cyprus and is now its Honorary President.
Lyssarides has now been awarded by President Jacob Zuma, an honor to foreign nationals and other foreign dignitaries for friendship shown to South Africa and its people. Lyssarides also served as Vice-President of the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO).
Zuma, in a speech at the Pretoria Presidential Palace, emphasized that Lyssarides was awarded for his work when he was head of ICSA (International Committee in Solidarity with South Africa) and worked for the release of Nelson Mandela, through dozens of meetings in all European capitals. He also struggled against racism (apartheid), and led the struggle against the junta in Cyprus with links to the resistance movements in Greece.
In Pretoria, Lyssarides participated in the World Congress of Peoples’ Solidarity, dedicated to the memory of national icon and African National Congress (ANC) President Oliver Reginald Tambo, for whom the National Order is named and with whom Lyssarides had close ties.