Takis Nemitsas’ speech to the award ceremony for the Nemitsas Prize in Chemistry on 7 October 2014 at the Presidential Palace

Your Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic,
Your Beatitude, Your Reverence,
Your Excellency former president Mr. George Vasiliou,
Honourable Ministers,
Dear Ambassadors,
Most distinguished guests,

I welcome you this evening to the 5th Annual Award ceremony since our Foundation was created in 2009.

I also extend a warm welcome all those who have travelled from abroad, to be with us tonight, and to Professor Seiichi Matsuda, Dean at Rice University, who has come all the way from Houston for this occasion.

The 5-minute film you have just seen showed images from the Foundation’s four previous awards, distilling memories of four whole years into that short time.

The Nemitsas Foundation was created to accomplish something that was much-needed in Cyprus, a way of honouring Cypriot scientists and artists who excel in their fields all over the world. Along the way we have found that there are many of them.

The Foundation was set up with the invaluable help of our friends and legal advisors, to whom we owe so much. Not only did we succeed in preparing and registering the Foundation but, within a year of our establishment, we successfully presented our first award, in Medicine.

Each award requires a whole year of preparation. This may seem a long time but that is the reality of the situation.

The Board of Directors, the Academic Council, the committees, the Coordinator, the Secretary and all our other associates work on an entirely voluntary basis.

Tonight we are proud to present the 5th award, bringing the number of honourees to seven; five are notable scientists and two are outstanding artists.

I believe it is worth mentioning them.

In 2010, we jointly honoured Professor Kypros Nicolaides for his work in Foetal Medicine and Professor Eleftherios Diamantis for Fundamental Biometrical Research.

In 2011 we honoured two piano virtuosi; Cyprien Katsaris and Martino Tirimo.

In 2012 we presented our award to Professor Kyriakos Athanasiou for his contribution to Biomedical Engineering. He honours us with his presence tonight for the second year running, along with his wife.

In 2013 our prize-winner was Professor George Efstathiou, honoured for his achievements in Physics.

Tonight our honouree is Professor Kyriakos C. Nicolaou – also known as K.C. – for his tremendous achievements in Chemistry.

Professor K.C. Nicolaou is distinguished worldwide for his enormously important research, which helps doctors all over the world to treat and cure a wide range of diseases with special emphasis on the battle against cancer.

He has been the recipient of a number of prestigious international awards. Professor Marios Mavronicolas, our Foundation’s Coordinator and Vice Chancellor of the University of Cyprus will tell you more about his work. My role tonight is to concentrate on explaining the objects of the Foundation and its activities and development since its establishment.

This year, for the first time, the Board of Directors was obliged to reduce the monetary award from 50.000 euros to 30.000 euros, due to the impact on our income from the current economic crisis.

We appreciate the economic difficulties we face as a country and express our thanks to the President of the Republic for his efforts to help us. We anticipate that, with the gradual improvement in our economy, these efforts will prove successful. The Foundation will then be able to continue with the presentation of its annual awards in the long-term.

The Board of Directors has decided that the 6th Annual Award in 2015, will be dedicated to the Arts and in particular to painting. So we will gather here in October 2015, to present the award to the Cypriot winner or winners. This choice highlights the multifaceted role of the Foundation.

Before I end, I wish to express my gratitude to the President of the Republic who lends prestige to this award with his presence, thus reinforcing its unique and valuable nature.

We also thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Embassies for the help they give us every year, by publicising the awards in all the countries in which we are represented.

We thank the Cultural Services, the Press and Information Office and “Cyprus Today” and “I Kypros Mas” (Our Cyprus) for projecting our Foundation’s activities and the Award ceremonies every year.

Once again, I would like to thank all the staff at the Presidential Palace for their most valuable cooperation and assistance in making this evening such a success.

I express my appreciation to all the members of the Board of Directors for their great interest and unwavering support in all our efforts and to the members of the Academic Council, who selflessly give their time to choose the International Prize Selection Committee every year.

Special heartfelt thanks to our Coordinator, Professor Marios Mavronicolas, and to our Secretary and legal advisor Agis Agapiou for their tireless and most valuable cooperation with us and the Secretariat.

Thank you all for your presence tonight.

7/10/2014 Takis Nemitsas