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Message from the new Cultural Counsellor of the High Commission of Cyprus in London Dr. Marios Psara

Dear friends and colleagues,

With a great sense of honour and responsibility, I have assumed duties as the new Cultural Counsellor of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus at the High Commission of Cyprus in London. Being an active member of the Cypriot community in London for the last decade, I share the concerns, needs and visions of the Cypriot diaspora. Culture constitutes a fundamental cohesive element, as well as a rudimentary vehicle for the preservation of our heritage and communal bonds. But, it is also a platform through which we enable ourselves to come closer to the Other and develop relationships, which are characterised by mutual respect, collaboration, creativity, and optimism.

Building on the dynamic presence of the Cultural Section of the Cyprus High Commission in the past few years, my personal vision pertains not only to the continuation of its diverse activity but to a coordinated effort at constructing an open, extrovert culture of accommodating, supporting and organising artistic and academic events that promote Cypriot civilisation and culture, both historical and contemporary, and illuminate the way it converses with the British, the broader European and international ones. My objectives as the new Cultural Counsellor include the organisation of events, festivals and other artistic and academic activities through innovative schemes and residencies, the support and promotion of Cypriot studies in the UK, the collaboration with universities and scholars both in Cyprus and the UK, the support of Cypriot artists, whether they are UK or Cyprus based, the collaboration with public and private cultural institutions in the UK as well as with the British media for the promotion of the Cypriot culture, and the continuation of the successful collaboration with other embassies in co-organising events and other artistic and academic projects.

In this venture, I consider significant the support by the vibrant and proactive Cypriot and Greek communities in the UK, the contribution by UK Cypriots both individually and at the level of organised groups, and their participation in every activity that promotes Cypriot cultural and academic production. In addition, I cordially invite artists, academics, students, organised institutions and informal groups to contact our office and submit their proposals and suggestions for cultural and academic activities and collaborations, which would be supported by the Cultural Section of the Cyprus High Commission.

In turbulent times like ours, culture emerges as a weapon for resistance, a vehicle for our shared values, which we can deploy in the perpetual struggle for a better and just world. The contemporary acknowledgement of cultural diplomacy as a dynamic tool for international understanding and cooperation finds Cyprus, a place of vast historical and cultural richness and diversity, in a privileged position. As the new Cultural Counsellor of Cyprus in the UK, it is my mission to fulfil this vision, in close cooperation with the Cyprus High Commissioner and the Cultural Services of Cyprus.

Warm regards,

Dr Marios Psaras

Cultural Counsellor

Cyprus High Commission

13 St. James's Square

London SW1Y 4LB

Tel: 00 44 20 7321 4148

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Marios Psaras has studied Education and Philosophy at the University of Cyprus with a scholarship from the Evi Sofianou Foundation. He graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree and the departmental award of Excellence. He also holds a MA in Film Studies from Queen Mary University of London, for which he was awarded the Drapers Company Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He received his PhD in 2015 from QMUL for his doctoral thesis on contemporary Greek cinema, which provided the source for his first monograph, published within a year under the title The Queer Greek Weird Wave: Ethics, Politics and the Crisis of Meaning (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). As a film scholar, Psaras taught film theory at Queen Mary and King’s College London and lectured at the universities of Oxford, Cyprus and Bochum, Germany, while presenting papers in numerous international academic conferences. He has also published articles, reviews and book chapters on contemporary Greek and European queer cinema in academic journals and edited volumes.

Psaras has worked as a teacher in primary education in Cyprus and Greek supplementary education in the UK. He has also worked as a radio producer for SuperFM Cyprus (2004-2008), and as a TV-host and executive producer on the TV show ‘Imaste Edo” (RIK1, 2004-2009), which was produced by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation and the Youth Board of Cyprus. As a TV-host and reporter, Psaras travelled across the globe, covering youth events and activities and participating in such major youth events as European Youth Week, European Youth Media Days, and the World Festival of Youth and Students, thus being quite proactive on various issues concerning young people, including, education, culture and learning, active citizenship, youth policies and the environment. In 2009, he was awarded the Young European Journalist Award. As a filmmaker, he has directed three short films and two short documentaries. His most recent film, Thin Green Line, has screened at international film festivals in Europe and the United States, including the high-esteemed East End Film Festival 2018 in London and the 41st Short Film Festival in Drama, Greece. Psaras has also directed for the theatre, his most recent work being the critically-acclaimed theatrical performance Etairos, in collaboration with corporiality art collective.

Currently, Psaras is the artistic director of the annual festival Cyprus Short Film Day in London, a member of the pre-selection committee of the National Section of the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus, and a member of the editorial board of the online academic journal Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies. As of September 1st2018, Psaras serves as Cultural Counsellor of the Cyprus High Commission in London.

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