Presentation by the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S.

Presentation by H.E. Leonidas Pantelides, PhD,
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the USA
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Loy Henderson Auditorium, Department of State

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) and its Program Chair Sheila Switzer, along with the AAFSW President Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, welcomed his Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the USA, Dr. Leonidas Pantelides. AAFSW members, diplomats, Foreign Service Institute students, and many guests met at the Loy Henderson Auditorium in the Department of State in Washington, DC, where Ambassador Pantelides gave us an inspiring presentation, “Challenges that Cyprus Faces with the Reunification Talks,” followed by a question-and-answer session.

Ambassador Pantelides presented credentials as Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States of America on June 27, 2016. Prior to that, he had been the First Deputy Permanent Secretary/Director of Middle East and North Africa Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia from 2013 to 2016. From 2011 to 2013, Ambassador Pantelides was the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations in Geneva. From 2008 to 2011, he was the Head of the Diplomatic Office of the President of the Republic of Cyprus while he was the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the Russian Federation with parallel accreditations to Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus from 2004 to August 2008. Prior to that, from 2001 to 2004, Ambassador Pantelides was the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Greece with parallel accreditations to Albania, Bulgaria and Romania while from 1998 to 2001 he was the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Sweden with accreditations to Iceland, Norway, Latvia and Denmark. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Director at the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as Director at the Office of the Permanent Secretary, and as Member of the presidential working team during the UN-sponsored inter-communal negotiations. From 1989 to 1993, he was the First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Pantelides studied philosophy and holds a PhD from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Kent, Canterbury, England (1983). The subject of his doctoral dissertation was the concept of time.
Ambassador Pantelides has published a book on Philosophy (2003) and he has also written a number of articles on various philosophical, political, and cultural subjects. Ambassador Pantelides has taught International Affairs as a part-time professor, he is a regular public speaker, and he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Diplomatic Academy of the University of Nicosia.

Ambassador Pantelides outlined the efforts that are undertaken by Cyprus and are focused on reunifying Cyprus, its territory, its people, and its institutions under a federal framework. Giving a brief retrospective on the history of the difficulties that the young Republic faced as Cyprus emerged from British Colonialism at the end of the 1950s, Ambassador Pantelides explained how the multiple challenges faced in the reunification negotiations must be resolved with a power-sharing arrangement. This system will ensure a functional, viable, and sustainable architecture afforded with legitimacy and legal continuity. It will also deliver respect for human rights and optimal security to all Cypriots taking into consideration the particular population and cultural dynamics. At the same time, a power-sharing arrangement will allow Cyprus to fulfill its obligations as a member of the European Union and the international community.

After his Excellency’s remarkable presentation, and given all of his accumulated and intimate knowledge on the intricacies of local and global politics, the Ambassador indulged the AAFSW international audience with an open discussion regarding the role of third parties on the reunification discussions. Further questions brought up the issue of the impact of recent discoveries of natural gas in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Ambassador Pantelides explained how these elements could and should contribute positively to the prospects of a successful outcome to the reunification negotiations of Cyprus.

AAFSW would like to thank His Excellency, Ambassador Pantelides, for answering difficult questions regarding complex issues in a very frank and sincere way while explaining the importance of the bigger picture and the potential future outcomes. Also, Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Program Chair, and Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, AAFSW President, would like to thank the Consul of the Republic of Cyprus to the USA, Mr. Konstantinos Polykarpou, for facilitating the organization of this successful AAFSW event. During the coffee and cookies reception that followed, the AAFSW audience thanked the Ambassador and the Consul for such an insightful and educational presentation.

Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen
AAFSW President