The Executive Council of NEPOMAK met in South Africa over the Christmas period from 27-30 December 2011. Members of the Executive Council from around the world, as well as young Cypriots, SAE Youth and NAHYSOSA representatives from across South Africa and Africa participated in the meeting.
The meeting was officially initiated on Tuesday 27 December at the St George’s Hotel in Pretoria. The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony was George Bizos, a prominent Human Rights lawyer, as well as Nelson Mandela’s lawyer. Mr. Bizos spoke about the importance of rule of law, identity and his experiences in South Africa. Other speakers who addressed the opening ceremony were the Archbishop of Pretoria and Johannesburg Damaskinos, Mr. Cleopa Elia (President of the Cyprus Brotherhood of South Africa), Mr. Christos Karaolis (President of NEPOMAK), Mr. Philip Papathanasiou (President of NAHYSOSA) and Mr. Michael Pappas (President of NEPOMAK South Africa).
The meeting of the Executive Council focused on establishing new programmes for members, new partnerships with other NGOs and charities as well as outlining ways in which NEPOMAK can continue to support Cyprus and lobby decision makers even more effectively.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to begin developing the plans for the celebrations of NEPOMAK’s 10th anniversary in 2012. The Executive Council discussed the recently launched NEPOMAK logo re-design competition, how to coordinate events across member organisations to celebrate NEPOMAK’s 10 year anniversary, and also how to refresh and update NEPOMAK’s strategic goals to ensure NEPOMAK remains relevant over the next 10 years.
NEPOMAK President, Christos Karaolis, said “We are exceptionally grateful to the South African and Zimbabwean Cypriot communities for the warm welcome that they gave us. During the course of our meeting we put in place proposals for new programmes and initiatives that will ensure we continue to deliver on our core aims: raising awareness of the Cyprus issue and maintaining Cypriot culture and identity across the diaspora. With these activities, I am confident that NEPOMAK will continue to go from strength to strength over the next 10 years”
Members of the Executive Council also visited the Hellenic Cypriot Brotherhood of South Africa and Cypriot communities in Cape Town and Zimbabwe.