It is with great emotion and fully feeling the honour and the heavy responsibility towards the outstanding personality of Claire Angelidou that I participate in this conference dedicated to her rich and multidimensional contribution to education, culture and the broader progress of our country.
The gifted figure of Claire Angelidou combined the characteristics of morality, conscientiousness, consistency, honesty, intellectual culture and commitment to the Greek-Christian ideals, which allowed her to distinguish herself as a person, as a fighter, as an educator. These characteristics were distinguished by Glafkos Clerides when, upon his election in 1993, he entrusted her with the duties of the demanding portfolio of the Ministry of Education, as the first woman to hold this key position. The problems were many, the world was waiting. And I was waiting for myself," said Claire Angelidou, and I completely understand her from the position I am in today. In a male-dominated society at that time, she had to fight against prejudices, to overcome, as she used to do, obstacles and herself, putting her own vision of education into practice. A vision for the emergence of education as the means for the formation of personality and the cultivation of the soul of the new generation, since, as she herself declared: "Education is not a theory, it is an act that aims to influence and change man and the world."
Laying the foundations for the spiritual development of young people and the entire nation, but also for the cultural development of Cyprus more broadly, the Ministry of Education was renamed, on her own initiative, the Ministry of Education and Culture, emphasizing that for her the concept of education is intertwined with that of culture.
A person with a deep faith in God and a special pride in her national identity and Greek-Christian ideals, having a special love for her homeland and a desire for its reunification, she believed that the cultivation of a national and fighting spirit should be a primary goal of education. At the same time, she believed that education is the best guarantee for the progress and prosperity of Cyprus.
In this direction, and aiming at the promotion of education in our country, she conceived, designed and implemented dozens of innovations concerning the operational needs and the formulation of educational policy, leaving, in the 49 months of her term of office, her indelible mark.
By consolidating all the Ministry's services in the current building, she succeeded in increasing its efficiency both in carrying out its mission and in serving citizens.
An educator herself, she could know better than anyone the long-standing problems and needs in the field of education. Making it a priority to address them, to radically reform and upgrade the quality of the system, she sought personal contact with the educational and student community and did not hesitate to vigorously defend her plans, achieving, after consultations and discussions, together with her colleagues and stakeholders, the modernization of the relevant legislation. He wrote in this regard: "I am an educator and I move forward with educational needs in mind. Everything else does not interest me or change my course.
I note that, during Claire Angelidou's tenure, the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Qualifications, the Council for Educational Assessment and Accreditation of Registered Private Higher Education Courses and the Council for Higher Education, among others, were established."
By way of example, I note that under Claire Angelidou's tenure, the Cyprus Council for the Recognition of Qualifications, the Council for Educational Assessment and Accreditation of Registered Private Higher Education Courses and the Council for Higher Education, among others, were established. Regulations for the operation of Primary Education Schools, Training Centres and Parents' Associations were also adopted, as well as Regulations for the recruitment and employment of School Assistants, and the Law on School Boards was passed.
In another important move, Claire Angelidou signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between Cyprus and Greece in the field of education, aiming to maintain the orientation of our education towards democratic principles and the adaptation of education to the needs and requirements of modern technology and economy, without neglecting its humanitarian character. The Memorandum provided, inter alia, for exchanges of educational staff, training and further training of educational staff, exchange of expertise in curricula, publications and textbooks, as well as cooperation in higher education.
At the same time, it associated its name with innovations such as the extension of the institution of teacher training, the implementation of the Integrated Lyceum, the use of information technology in schools and the strengthening of the European dimension of our country at all levels of education. Of great importance was also its targeted effort to protect young people from the challenges and increased risks they faced on a daily basis through timely information and enlightenment.
In addition, recognizing that quality building and technical facilities enhance pedagogical practices, it invested in their modernization through the construction of more than 35 new school units and improvement works in dozens of others.
Equally important was its concern to strengthen and empower the schools of the Diaspora to carry out their work more effectively, through sending books, increasing the number of teachers in the London community and sending a teacher to the Greek schools of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
In addition, as recorded earlier, Claire Angelidou's vision was to make Cyprus a centre of cultural events, a cradle of intellectual and artistic creation. In this context, she highlighted 'CYPRIA' as the biggest cultural event in Cyprus. It is an institution that to this day is an intellectual beacon and a pole of attraction for artistic personalities and artistic groups from Cyprus and abroad. She contributed to the transformation of the Cyprus State Orchestra into a symphony orchestra, founded the "Elpinikio Library" and proceeded with the reconstruction of the State Gallery and the "Neoptolemos Michaelides" and "Evangelos Loizou" institutions.
At the same time, as a result of the close cooperation and genuine friendship that linked her to Melina Mercouri, she contributed to the cultural connection between Greece and Cyprus. Both through the establishment of the cultural month and the signing of a cultural memorandum, our small Cyprus managed to highlight its cultural tradition and its modern cultural development.
Equally important in this direction were its actions that laid the foundations for the upgrading of the "House of Cyprus" in Athens and the establishment of the Centre for Greek Culture in Cyprus.
In addition to Greece, it concluded Cultural Agreements with eleven countries in Europe, the Middle East and America with the aim of cooperation in cultural matters. Through her own actions, Centres of Greek Studies were established at three universities abroad: at Munster in Germany, La Trobe University in Melbourne and Old Dominion University of Virginia in the United States of America.
It is worth noting that in 1994 she established the use of the Greek language in all government departments and services. In addition, she established a Toponyms Committee and submitted 64,000 toponyms to the United Nations.
Moreover, as a genuine and sincere patriot, having as her beacon and guide her significant participation in the most glorious page of modern Cypriot history, that of the revolutionary four-year period of 1955-59, she set as her goal the preservation of the principles and values that inspired the young men and women who participated in that Struggle.
Moreover, as a genuine and sincere patriot, having as her beacon and guide her significant participation in the most glorious page of modern Cypriot history, that of the revolutionary four-year period of 1955-59, she set as her goal the preservation of the principles and values that inspired the young men and women who participated in that Struggle. In this context, it contributed, in 1993, to the establishment and operation of the Council of Historical Memory of the EOKA Struggle. The Council is responsible for the care of historical sites and monuments related to the Struggle, the collection and preservation of relics, as well as the study, documentation and promotion of the Liberation Struggle. At the same time, through her own actions, the Museum of the Struggle next to the Archbishopric was renovated.
A bloodless ambassador of Cyprus, Claire Angelidou never ceased to highlight our national problem abroad. She envisioned a united and free homeland. She took the lead in raising awareness about the destruction of our cultural heritage and the violation of human rights, calling on foreign governments to assist Cyprus' efforts for vindication. As Minister of Education and Culture, he undertook a campaign to enlighten all European Ministers of Education, twice made a strong denunciation of the destruction of our cultural heritage at the headquarters of UNESCO, was active in an enlightenment campaign at New York Universities, and spearheaded the establishment of the Cultural Heritage Commission in Cyprus and Greece.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I had the good fortune and honour, when I worked at the Pedagogical Institute, to meet Claire Angelidou in her capacity as Minister and later as a concerned fellow citizen on education issues. I was struck by her gentle character, her kindness, her methodicalness, her vision and her perseverance to move our country forward.
As a people and as a State, we feel grateful for Claire Angelidou's multi-dimensional and significant contribution to the educational, cultural, intellectual and political development of our country. We are grateful, which I, as the second woman Minister of Education since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, feel to the greatest extent. The work that she bequeathed to us is our great legacy and the best guide for carrying out the mission we have undertaken towards what is most precious to us, the future of our country, our children.
With full awareness of our duty and with respect to what Claire Angelidou and all our predecessors have achieved, we proceed to implement our plans for the modernization and upgrading of our educational system.
With full awareness of our duty and with respect to what Claire Angelidou and all our predecessors have achieved, we proceed to implement our plans for the modernization and upgrading of our educational system. Our priority is to provide a high quality inclusive education and to shape an optimal learning environment to meet the increasingly competitive demands of the modern world.
Our vision and our duty is the all-round cultivation of tomorrow's democratic active citizens who will be characterized by ethics, commitment to universal human values and full awareness of their historical identity, an essential element in our struggle to assert our national dignity, our inalienable rights and the preservation of the memory of our occupied homeland. We owe this to Claire Angelidou, and this was also the last legacy in her own words. National memory illuminates the past through the elements of cultural tradition, preserves national identity and stimulates national consciousness. In this way, the Greek people, realising traditional values in a dialectical relationship and two-way communication with the new global data, dynamically shapes its national present and correctly defines its future".
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