Federation of Cypriot American Organizations

Pancyprian WIN honors Tasoula Hadjitofi at annual Gala

March 6, 2020

New York – On March 6, 2020, the Pancyprian Women's Initiative Network (WIN) held it's annual at the New York Hilton Club in Midtown Manhattan and honored author and activist, Tasoula Hadjitofi, with the 2020 Woman of the Year Award.

Tasoula Hadjitofi's book "The Icon Hunter," a memoir, was recently translated and published in Cyprus and Greece. In the memoir, she recounts her life and experience as a refugee from Famagusta, and her efforts to recover stolen artifacts from Cyprus, including many icons and religious objects looted after the illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the subsequent years of occupation of the northern third of the island nation. Hadjitofi is nominated by both Cyprus and Holland for the U.S. State Department International Woman of Courage award. Theana Iordanou, the Pancyprian WIN President, gave the welcoming remarks at the event thanking all those present for their support and especially the members of the Board and the young women who helped organize the event, noting that these young women will be the future leaders of WIN. 

The President of the Federation of Cypriot-American Organizations (FCAO), Kyriacos Papastylianou offered his congratulations, on behalf of all the members of the Federation for Hadjitofi's efforts, and quoting the late Melina Mercouri who said that our cultural heritage is our fortune, and if we lose it, we are no one.

The President of the Pancyprian Association Philip Christopher congratulated WIN and its President Theana Iordanou for their selection of Tasoula Hadjitofi as this year's honoree. Philip Christopher pointed out that for 45 years, Pancyprian has been fighting for freedom and justice for Cyprus. He noted that Pancyprian began with its Athletic division and now has six divisions, including the Dance Division, Women's Division, the Choir, and Theatrical Division, and thanked the division presidents for their efforts. 

Tasoula Hadjitofi during her speech she noted how she has struggled throughout her life to find a sense of belonging since she was forced to leave her home in Famagusta. "So I wrote this book and dedicated it to the 65 million refugees, I'm just a normal woman, a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, I did not choose to fight the art traffickers, they fought me, but I decide I'm going to beat them at their game. I wanted to say thank you to all of you for being here tonight. Thank you to the Pancyprian WIN for honoring me, thank you to the dignitaries, the representatives of Greece, Cyprus, and the Netherlands for being here, and of course, the women, and all the WIN committee who worked so hard to honor me tonight. Thank you all so much."

A portion of the proceeds of the WIN Gala will go to Walk of Truth, a charitable organization founded by Tasoula Hadjitofi in Holland that protects the global cultural heritage. 

For More Information:

For more information please contact FCAO,  info@fcaousa.org, Tel: (516) 399-2295.

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