Meet our guest for today: Ms. Antigoni Papadopoulou — a famous Cypriot politician, public person, writer and artist. We asked Ms. Papadopoulou to answer some of our questions.
I received a degree in chemistry and spent 23 years as a quality control manager at a Carlsberg beer factory (1978-2001). I was immediately recruited into the Democratic Party and became its active member. In 1994 I was elected president of the Women’s Organization of the Democratic Party (GODIK), which I continue to be to this day. From 1991 to 1996 I served as Councilor for the Municipality of Strovolos (Nicosia region) and was then elected mayor of Morfu — a city in northeastern Cyprus, which is still part of the Turkish territory. It was a great honor for me to become the first female mayor elected by the citizens of the free territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
From 2001 to 2009 I served as member of the Cyprus Delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and also served as Vice Chair of the PACE Committee on Economic Affairs and Development(2003-2009).
As part of my job I dealt with issues like civil rights, equal opportunities for men and women, EU’s relations with Turkey, etc. As member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2009-2014), I paid specific attention to promoting Cyprus’ culture in Brussels by organizing different cultural events that were quite successful thanks to the help from my colleagues in the Assembly.
As an artist who likes to paint, I held two personal exhibitions and participated in several group exhibitions. Since 2014 I have spent a lot of time practicing art: I paint landscapes using oil, acrylic and watercolor paint. My family and I will soon open an arts and culture center that will serve as a venue for different events and collaborations with local and foreign artists. By doing this I try to satisfy both facets of my life as an artist and as a politician.
I had a really happy childhood and have a lot of memories about it: the orange plantations and the cultural life of my hometown Morfu up until 1974. When I was a child I wanted to study Greek literature, but as I grew older I changed my mind and decided to major in chemistry and study in the US and Britain (as a Fulbright scholar). I received my Bachelor of Science with Honors, a diploma in management and a Master of Science in sociology.
I enjoy life and love absolutely everything that I do! I always try to serve my country and protect its interests. I love poetry and writing books and articles (I’ve written three books). I am interested in gender statistics and art, obviously. Creativity and an open mind have been an inspiration throughout my life. But as an artist, I like to see immediate results: when you are painting, you can see the images appear on the canvas right away. In politics though, things don’t always work that way.
Would you like to hear a joke? My husband likes to say that he married many different women by marrying me. He says he is the happiest man alive because he married a woman who has so many qualifications: a chemist, a politician, a public person and an artist. And all these people are his wife!
I have a dream, an aspiration: I would like to see Cyprus liberated from the Turkish occupation. I would like for it to become a place of peace and prosperity. Cyprus is a bridge between different civilizations, its culture and its people. It is a point of intersection for three different continents. The thing that I like the most about my motherland is its simplicity: its lifestyle, traditions and relationships. It is a safe place to live and to raise your children.
We are a very friendly, hospitable and open people. It is a blessing to live in Cyprus. My idea of a perfect way to relax is to go for an evening swim in Larnaca and then walk down the beach, enjoying the breeze. I also like torelax by reading a good book while sipping on Cypriot wine or ouzo.
I have never been to Russia, but I’d love to visit. I am inspired by many different cultures. Each country has its own traditions, heritage and lifestyle that deserve complete respect.
I would like to invite your readers to come here and spend their vacation enjoying the many facets and beauties of this island. I am sure that your horizons will expand thanks to your experience in Cyprus.
I think it’s easy to be a Cypriot. We work hard every day, overcoming life’s difficulties. This is the fate of a person, who lives in a country of great geopolitical importance. But living here you also enjoy simple things like the blue sky, the wonderful beaches and the sun that is always out!