In this year’s last issue, we host an appeal which Cypriot cultural bodies sent collectively in September to the President of the Republic, recommending that the Institution of Annual Honorary Grants to Creators, which is over 63 years old and has now been suspended, be reinstated.
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16th September 2013
To the President of the Republic
Mr. Nicos Anastasiades
As you know, for a number of years, since 2001, many creators who are over the age of 63 have, on the recommendation of two commissioners, been awarded an annual honorary grant, presented to them at a special ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
You also know that a gratuitous monthly allowance is given by the Ministry of Culture to a small group of intellectuals, who have only a small pension. This allowance helps these people spend the last years of their life with dignity.
This excellent action on the part of the State, to acknowledge and honour notable creators in all fields of human knowledge, became with the passage of time an annual institution and an act of culture and recognition. And rightly so, because artists do not produce up to the 63rd year of their life only, but until their death. And often their work makes a contribution to society after their death as well.
Recognising the difficulties our country is facing, we understand that the award of the annual grant could be delayed for a period of time until our country stands on its feet financially again. However, the award ceremony could be held this year so that this praiseworthy custom does not vanish, with the giving of honorary diplomas without (temporarily) the corresponding financial support of 2,500 euro which has accompanied them until now.
However, Mr President, we beg you not to stop the gratuitous financial support to about 100 creators with very little income (who sadly become fewer every year). These people are in absolute need of 500 euro a month. They need the money now, not tomorrow and the State has a moral obligation to offer it to them so that they may live out their lives with dignity.
This letter is last recourse to the Highest Authority in the land since we are afraid that there are negative intentions with regard to the fate of this institution. We appeal to you to form a policy of intervention with the Ministry of Education and Culture, so that this institution which honours our State is not destroyed.
Having listened to your words in Paphos at the Opera Festival, we believe that we can rely on your personal sensitivity on the subject of Culture and Creation to do what is necessary and we hope that we will see you this year too at the Presidential Palace, like your predecessors, among our creators.
Panos Ioannides, President of the Cyprus PEN Centre
Dr Klitos Ioannides, President of the Philosophical Society of Cyprus
Nitsa Hadjigeorgiou, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts.
Costas Katsonis, President of Children’s Books
Andreani Iliofotou, President of the National Association of Writers of Cyprus
Despo Loizia-Konizou, President of the Association of Playwrights
Constantinos Lyras, President of the Actors’ Union of Cyprus
Savvas Savva, President of the Association of Cypriot Composers
Myria Stylianou, President of the Cyprus Dance Association
Chloe Melidou, President of New Movement of Dance Groups and Choreographers
Coordinating Council of Cultural Agencies of Limassol
Copies to: The Ministry of Education and Culture
The Ministry of Finance
Address: Home of Letters and Arts, 53 Xanthis Xenierou, 1015 Nicosia