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Government officials gather to celebrate International Greek Language Day

Nicosia Music School students shine at Greek Language Day event

Newsroom / CNA

An event to mark International Greek Language Day celebrated on February 9th, the anniversary of the death of the Greek poet Dionysios Solomos, was held on Friday at the Presidential Palace, during which all speakers highlighted the importance of the Greek language and its contribution to western civilization, while explaining why efforts to further upgrade and promote it, are of great significance.

The event, held in the presence of the President of the Republic, the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister of Culture, MPs and other officials of the Ministry began with the performance of songs, accompanied by a piano, by the students of the Music School of Nicosia, under the guidance of professors Glykeria Andreou and Chrysanthos Chrysanthou.

President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides in his address said that strengthening the language literacy of students and the youth in general, as well as promoting the universal values that emerge through it, contribute significantly to the government’s effort to reform the educational system, and create a student-centered and inclusive school.

Christodoulides said that the government has already implemented important strategic goals and has launched a series of actions aimed at modernizing the education system. He also referred to the percentage of 12% of illiterate students graduating from primary education in both mathematics and Greek and the actions that need to be taken to address the issue.

The President also noted that the Greek Language is an integral part of our identity, a way that determines not only the way we communicate with others but also our thoughts, feelings, dreams, the means of understanding how the world works and of conveying the values that feed the global foundations of civilization.

Education Minister Athena Michaelides referred in detail to the Ministry's actions to further promote the Greek language as a mother tongue and as a second language, at all levels of education.

She said that they set up the committee for Greek language, with the participation of experts and with a specific work plan for the promotion of the Greek language which includes, among other things, the strengthening of students' language proficiency as a first and second language, the promotion of illiteracy prevention programs, professional upgrading of teachers, digital literacy, language teaching that leads to critical thinking, the certification of Greek knowledge and better quality education to be able to face the modern challenges.

The Minister also referred to three horizontal actions concerning the establishment of a Greek language week, the strengthening of the full-day high school and further cooperation with the Greek language center.

In his greeting, the president of the Greek language center, member of the Academy of Athens, Theodoros Papaggelis, said that the Greek language may not belong to the so-called powerful languages, but by cultural criteria it is an excellent linguistic instrument and a valuable legacy that has shaped the physiognomy of the West.

He mentioned that the Greek language dominated in the Hellenistic years and in Byzantium, was a driver of the European renaissance and helped to raise the spirit during the years of Turkish rule.

Papaggelis said that the language needs virtue, courage and affection in school, by the press and from those who develop a public discourse. He pledged that the Greek language center will continue its efforts to protect the Greek language and promote its endurance in the years to come.

The Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Ioannis Papameletiou referred to the words of the activist and author Helen Keller about the Greek language, which she described as the most beautiful language and the "violin of human thought", and her love for the ancient authors.

He said that the Greek language is connected to our nation and that when Greece was conquered, it was able to conquer its enemies through the richness of the Greek language.

He referred to the role of the Church for promoting the language and intellectual values during the Turkish rule. He also assured that the Embassy will continue to support efforts to further upgrade the language through events and institutionalized activities.

Mesaoria Bishop Gregorios, speaking on behalf of Archbishop Georgios, referred to the role of the Church in spreading the Greek language, saying that the language is one of the most important ways for our national self-awareness.

He said that language continues to evolve because of its rich past and added that it is not a simple code of communication but a carrier of ideas, ideals and values.

Mesaoria Bishop also said that all the books of the New Testament are in Greek while Apostles Paul and Varnavas preached in Greek.

He also added that the timelessness of the Greek language produces pride in our people while its culture assists with critical ability and thinking.

Cyprus  |  language  |  culture  |  Greek  |  event  |  president  |  government

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