Accomplished Cypriot Diplomat receives EDU Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, His Excellency Irving Le-Vance, was recently received by the accomplished Cypriot diplomat His Excellency Antonis Toumazis.
It was a pleasure for the Secretary-General to speak with Mr. Toumazis, a career diplomat with thirty years experience which allowed him to speak with confidence on a range of diplomatic issues. He was a practicing lawyer prior to becoming a diplomat, with a BA degree in Law from the University of Athens, qualification as a Barrister in Cyprus and a Diploma in Mexican Studies from the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
His diplomatic service has taken him far and wide.
He has served his country in various capacities including First Secretary and Consul, Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Mexico, Political Department on European Affairs (CSCE, Council of Europe, NATO, WEU), Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Athens, Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in Johannesburg and a role as the Dean of the Consular Corps in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
His first appointment as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to Mexico also saw him simultaneously accredited to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Fortunately, he speaks fluent Spanish in addition to his Greek, English and French.
His is the holder of the esteemed “Order of the Aztec Eagle” awarded to him by Mexico in 2004. His return to Europe in that year saw his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to the Kingdom of Denmark and also accredited to Iceland.
He currently serves as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to the Kingdom of Spain.
The principal topic discussed included the effect of Cypriot austerity measures on the economy in general and the education sector in particular.
On a personal note, the two statesmen spoke at length of their experiences of growing up in Famagusta. Both their family homes were located in Varosha and the two discussed their memories of becoming refugees as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion. Varosha has been fenced off and abandoned ever since.
Nature is slowly reclaiming the decaying ghost town of what was once one of the world’s most prestigious tourist destinations.
“My childhood toys are in Varosha” lamented the Secretary-General.
“Mine too!” replied the Ambassador with a wry smile.
Both men agreed that if Varosha serves any purpose today, it is as a silent example of what can happen when diplomacy and dialogue breakdown.