In their first ever joint study trip, ten Heritage Youth Ambassadors from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities are visiting Brussels on 5 and 6 December within the framework of the “Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus”, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Heritage Youth Ambassadors are set to present their work on promoting Cyprus’ rich cultural heritage in their local communities and learn about the EU’s activities in the field of cultural heritage. The 10 Heritage Youth Ambassadors are accompanied by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot co-chairs of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH), representatives of the EU and UNDP.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Bringing the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities closer together is one of the Commission’s priorities in Cyprus. Building trust and understanding among the two communities is essential to pave the way to the reunification of the island. The active engagement of the youth such as this group in the peacebuilding and reconciliation process is crucial as they carry the hope for a peaceful coexistence.”
Head of Office of UNDP Cyprus, Jakhongir Khaydarov, stated: "As we bear witness to this study trip, welcoming ten Heritage Youth Ambassadors representing the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to Brussels, we celebrate their profound dedication to unity, anchored in the rich tapestry of their common cultural heritage. This significant initiative resonates deeply with the UN Charter's principles of solidarity and collaboration. Supported by the European Union, this endeavour emphasizes the pivotal role of youth in preserving and promoting our shared heritage."
The Heritage Youth Ambassadors is an initiative of the TCCH that aims to build the next generation of custodians for Cyprus’s shared cultural heritage by engaging the younger generations in its promotion and preservation. The Youth Ambassadors promote it on social media and in their own circles – some are teachers, architects or historians— and they organise visits and activities such as cleaning and weeding the areas around restored monument.
The EU attaches great importance to the preservation of Cyprus’ cultural heritage, which reflects the diverse and rich cultures and civilizations that have inhabited the island throughout history. So far, the EU has allocated over EUR 27 million to support the work of the TCCH, which has restored or protected more than 130 sites across the island. They include churches, monasteries, mosques, cemeteries, fortifications, hamams, fountains and archaeological sites.
The Youth Ambassadors have meetings with Commissioner Ferreira’s Cabinet and European Commission officials in charge of Cyprus settlement support, EU cultural policies and efforts to digitalise Europe’s cultural heritage in Europe, which is also done in Cyprus. They will also visit the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, as well as the Experience Europe Exhibition Centre and the House of European History.
The support for the TCCH comes from the EU aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, which aims to facilitate Cyprus' reunification. The EU has allocated EUR 688 million to the aid programme since 2006.
- Publication date
- 6 December 2023
- Representation in Cyprus