Nicosia to host a new Europa Nostra Heritage Hub

This new regional Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Nicosia will cover the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, focusing on promoting excellence for heritage preservation, advancing sustainability and culture-based climate action, and (re)building cultural bridges across the region.

A significant milestone in the mobilisation of Europe’s cultural heritage stakeholders was achieved on 12 October 2023, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East in the capital city of Cyprus. After Kraków and Athens, Nicosia becomes the third city in Europe where a regional Europa Nostra Heritage Hub is being established.

Nicosia’s readiness to host  this new regional  Europa Nostra Heritage Hub is a testament to the city’s rich (but still endangered) heritage and strong commitment to its preservation.  Three other Cypriot founding partners of the Hub are: the University of Cyprus, The Cyprus Institute and the A.G. Leventis Foundation. This further expansion of the Europa Nostra network underscores the organisation’s dedication to protecting and celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of Europe. The Nicosia Hub will also actively contribute to the implementation of the aims and activities of the European Heritage Hub project.

The MoU underscores the commitment of all founding partners to the cause of preserving and celebrating Europe’s rich heritage in Cyprus and in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The signatories of the MoU included notable figures, each contributing to this momentous initiative, including Constantinos Yiorkadjis, Mayor of Nicosia; Prof. Stavros Malas, President of The Cyprus Institute; Prof. Tasos Christofides, Rector of the University of Cyprus; Agni Petridou, acting on behalf of Tassos Leventis, President of the A. G. Leventis Foundation; Androula Vassiliou, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, who will be responsible for ensuring adequate liaison between the Nicosia Hub and Europa Nostra; and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra.

The partners of the future Nicosia Hub have a longstanding dedication to cultural heritage related preservation, research, innovation, education, communication and management, which forms a strong basis for a meaningful and effective action of the Nicosia Hub. Together the founding partners involved in this historical cooperation agreement will pursue several key objectives and areas of cooperation benefitting from the role of Cyprus as the connecting link between Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

The key objectives and areas of cooperation covered by the Nicosia Hub include:

  • Promoting excellence for heritage preservation: A key  goal of the Nicosia Hub is to actively contribute to the implementation of Europa Nostra’s mission and action plan, as outlined in its Strategic Plan: Horizon 2025. This collaboration will focus on promoting excellence and best practices related to  the safeguarding and promotion of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, a crucial endeavour in preserving the rich historical and artistic legacy of Europe and its close neighbourhood.
  • Sustainability through cultural heritage: The MoU also places a strong emphasis on the European Heritage Hub pilot project, which focuses on harnessing the transformative power of cultural heritage in driving sustainability and a more effective climate action. This project particularly highlights the role of cultural heritage in the triple transformation of society – green, digital, and social. By linking heritage to sustainability and climate action, this collaboration envisions a brighter, more sustainable future for Europe.
  • (Re)Building cultural bridges: Cyprus, with its unique history and location, is a cultural crossroads between Europe, countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Recognising this historical significance, the ambition of the Nicosia Hub is to extend Europa Nostra’s network and the activities of the European Heritage Hub among heritage stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, active in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region. By acknowledging the existence of a shared tangible and intangible heritage, the Nicosia Hub aims to make use of this heritage to foster  cross-border cultural exchange and cooperation in the wider region.

Following the signing of the MoU, the parties will collectively develop an action plan, outlining specific priorities and objectives that will guide their joint efforts. Furthermore, while the agreement already encompasses broad areas of cooperation, it remains flexible, allowing for the negotiation and appending of more detailed collaboration protocols as needed. This dynamic approach ensures a comprehensive and adaptive partnership, for the benefit of the safeguarding of Europe’s cultural heritage and advancing the cause of sustainability.

Europa Nostra has built the largest pan-European network of civil society organisations active in the field of cultural and natural heritage. Over the past six decades, it has fostered strong relationships with European Institutions and a multitude of European and international partners. The Municipality of Nicosia, a long-time Associate Organisation of Europa Nostra, actively participates in various European city networks and maintains relationships with cities in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The Cyprus Institute, through its STARC division, focuses on cross-disciplinary cooperation, nationally and internationally recognised research, and sustainable heritage utilisation. The University of Cyprus is an active member of the alliance Young Universities for the Future of Europe, aspiring to establish a European University. Last but not least, the A.G. Leventis Foundation is a prominent private foundation dedicated to supporting culture and cultural heritage, education, and science in Cyprus and beyond. As such, it has been a long-standing supporter and partner of Europa Nostra.

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