We congratulate Andreas Matsis and Okan Dagli for receiving the 2018 European Citizen`s Prize for founding the Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative.

At the award ceremony Turkish-speaking Cypriot Okan Dagli said that “we have been countering the division of our town and our island through our contribution to views that unite and participation in actions promoting unity. We have been working on and developing proposals on how to turn Famagusta — a divided and partly evacuated town — into the reunified, multi-cultural space of our dreams.”  Greek-speaking Cypriot Andreas Matsis said that “we would like to bring this spirit of cooperation between the two communities to the new generations which must show greater interest for the future of their country and to act as responsible citizens of the EU, where cooperation between the different nationalities is a precondition for the success of the European integration”. The Bicommunal Famagusta Initiative is a small grass-roots movement of Cypriots from both sides of the island who are envisioning and preparing plans for a reunited city of Famagusta as a model city for the 2020s and beyond.  This is to be achieved through collaboration of all its inhabitants both during town planning, reconstruction and subsequent administration of the city.  It is meant to be a prototype for a modern city but also an example of what cooperation between the two communities can achieve.

Alexandra Matsis, wife of Andreas, is a member of CFP’s board and active in the Cyprus Friendship Program NGO — an organization of adults who organize bicommunal social events and work projects.  The NGO includes CFP’s alumni.