Youth and diplomats discuss young people's role in peacebuilding in Cyprus
The First Diplomat and Youth Gala Dinner successfully took place at the Chateau Status in Nicosia on 9 April 2016 under the theme of: "The Participation of the Youth in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution in Cyprus". The event was co-organised by the bicommunal United Nations Youth and Student Association of Cyprus and the European Parliament Office in Cyprus.
The event constituted the first gathering of youth and diplomats of this scale on the island and aimed to enable the young Cypriots to express their personal opinions on the Cyprus peace process to the foreign diplomats who shall convey the message to the states they represent, while the diplomats, on their end, had the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge they gathered during their diplomatic careers on the subject.
The attendance by the diplomats was significant in numbers. A number of representatives of Permanent UN Security Council Member States attended, such as the US Ambassador Ms. Kathleen Doherty, the UK High Commissioner Mr. Damian Roderic Todd, the French Ambassador Mr. René Troccaz and the Chief of the Political Division of the Chinese Embassy Mr. Li Yangang. Furthermore, ambassadors of Eastern Mediterranean regional states were present, namely, the Palestinian Ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Cyprus Mr. Walid Hasan and the Egyptian Ambassador Mr. Hussein Mubarak. In addition, representatives of several EU Member States were present: the German Ambassador Mr. Nikolai Von Schoepff, the Spanish Ambassador Mr. Angel Lossada, the Italian Ambassador Mr. Guido Cerboni, the Irish Ambassador Mr. Nicolas Twist, the Slovakian Ambassador Ms. Oksana Tomova and the Czech Ambassador Ms. Helena Bambasova. Moreover, Commonwealth diplomats also attended the event; specifically, the Australian High Commissioner Alan Merson Sweetman and the Deputy Indian High Commissioner D.S. Sharma.
The United Nations were also present at the event as the UNFICYP Spokesperson Mr. Aleem Siddique and the Force Commander Major General Kristin Lund attended together with the Senior Advisor Ms. Lynn Hastings.
Lastly, senior Cypriot diplomats also joined the dinner, such as the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Communications and Works Mrs. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the former European Union Commissioner and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Markos Kyprianou and former European Union Commissioner Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou.
The foreign dignitaries were joined at the tables by students from both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and engaged in discussions over the course of the formal dinner. The Vice-President of UNYSA Cyprus Ms. Michelle Nicolaou, the head of the European Parliament Office Mr. Andreas Kettis and the Director of Research at the Nicosia Centre for World Dialogue Professor Farid Mirbagheri delivered the welcoming addresses, which were followed by the keynote speech by Ms. Androulla Vasiliou.
We would like to thank the diplomatic community in Cyprus and each one of the diplomats who attended for their interest in this effort to inform and empower the youth of the island. We would also like to thank the members of UNYSA Cyprus and the Officials of the European Parliament office for their efforts to coordinate and see this event realised, and also the Cyprus Broadcasting Network for the TV coverage.