H.E. Mr. Panayiotis Papadopoulos, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cyprus to Hungary was the special guest of the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika who gave a presentation titled “Historical „reminisces” the Congress of Berlin and Cyprus”
H.E. Panayiotis Papadopoulos is representing his country in Hungary and also in the region since 2017. The ambassador acquired his academic qualifications in the United States where he completed his PhD studies in history at the University of Chicago. In 1992 he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus where he fulfilled different positions over the years. He was involved in economic affairs, bilateral relations with Middle East and he was also working on the Global Disarmament and Arms Control Portfolio. Additionally, Mr. Papadopoulos has worked in India and in Switzerland before arriving to Hungary.
The second Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika event of the semester, organised by the International Relations Office, was opened by Dr. habil. Györgyi Nyikos. The NUPS’ Vice-Rector for International Affairs accentuated in her opening speech that the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika is a very important event in the university. She explained that “the event, and especially the special guest, is very popular amongst the students. It is a great opportunity for the university students to get an insight into the world of diplomacy and to get first-hand information about the most recent and important domestic matters and international challenges.”
At the beginning of his speech, His Excellency thanked the opportunity to present at this well-known event. He added that this is a great opportunity to strengthen the fruitful Cypriot-Hungarian relations. According to the title of his presentation, the ambassador talked about the history of his country and the 1878 Congress of Berlin. At the beginning of his speech, with a quote from George Santayana, he reminded the audience to the importance of historical analysis. “For those wishing to forget or not remember the past, they are condemned to relieve it” - he quoted the famous philosopher.
Cyprus and the Cypriots have already coped with many difficult periods of their history. In this process, the 1878 Congress of Berlin was of great importance which is considered as a key event in their history. The period between 1878 and 1959 was mainly determined by the Congress when Cyprus was leased to Britain. “1878 was a decisive year for the Great Powers. The Ottoman Empire weakened, the Russian Tsar strengthened and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 ended accordingly. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Prussia excused themselves. France, licking its wounds from the catastrophic defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, still needed time to recuperate” - described the ambassador the European security policy of the era.
His Excellency then presented how the Congress of Berlin impacted the history of his country and how the centuries-long colonialization affected the island’s population. He also assessed the Congress from the perspective of a highly qualified historian. He said that “each historical event automatically produces an anniversary, whose value takes time to be appreciated. Whether it is worth remembering and celebrating depends on many factors”. He emphasized that the Congress of Berlin was the last time before the First World War when the Great Powers “sat down together to solve a puzzle”. At the same time, it is also true that the interests of small states such as Cyprus were not taken into consideration - summed up the historical facts the ambassador.
The presentation of His Excellency was followed by a roundtable discussion which was moderated by Col. Dr. habil. Zoltán Jobbágy, associate professor and Vice-Dean for Science and International Affairs of the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training. The invited expert of the topic was Mr. Zoltán Egeresi, Junior Research Fellow of the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies, National University of Public Service who is also the Director of Central European Studies special training program at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium. During the panel discussion the experts talked about other significant historical events of Cyprus and actual challenges as well. The audience learned that the Republic of Cyprus greatly supports the free trade and globalisation and that the country has a strong commitment to the European Union. It is also important to note that one of the key drivers of the country’s economy is tourism as Cyprus is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and therefore the country is seeking to maintain excellent bilateral relations with each state.