Your Excellencies, Your Grace(s), Ladies and Gentlemen…
It is a pleasure to be here with you tonight in this incredible setting and for such a happy occasion.
Our cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes that we inherit from past generations, from those that came before us.
At the same time, it is the wealth that we will bequeath to our children, to those who come after us.
As reflected in the vision and values of Europa Nostra, cultural heritage is unique and irreplaceable—once lost, it is gone forever. So, the responsibility of linking the past with the future—the burden of preservation—is ours.
Tonight, I am proud to be able to say that together we have responded in some small way to this profound challenge.
It is indeed an honor to have Europa Nostra recognize the work that was done to preserve this unique piece of Cyprus’ cultural heritage. The U.S. is proud to have provided the funding that made the project possible and to have been part of the cooperative effort that will ensure that future generations of Cypriot, European, indeed global citizens will be able to appreciate this site, which has been a part of Nicosia’s landscape for over 700 years.
In focusing the world’s attention on the work here, Europa Nostra is recognizing how important it was to save the church and unique school buildings, each of which is a treasure in itself. Beyond that, Europa Nostra is also celebrating the collaborative effort that built bridges not just over time and space, but over a myriad of differences.
Preserving this site became a collective goal—a unifying force—that resulted in the kind of cooperation on which a better future for all Cypriots can be built.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United Nations Development Program, under the leadership of Christopher Louise, for being such a committed and diligent partner to the United States in implementing this restoration project—a significant part of a larger reconciliation effort.
Thank you also to Europa Nostra for the honor it has bestowed on the project and for giving us this opportunity to come together this evening to admire our collective accomplishment.
A landmark is not merely the creation of architects. It is fashioned by those who encounter it, live it and use it. The essential feature of any monument isn’t its design or the stones that it is made of. Rather, it is the place that it comes to hold in people’s memory.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in addition to the memories that existed here already for some of you, the restoration of this site and Europa Nostra’s award add additional memories for all of us to share—for all of Cyprus to consider.
Anchored in the past, work like this provides a new and hopeful beginning.
Thank you for your attention and congratulations to the recipients.