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Cyprus inaugurated the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations on 15th March 2012 at the Journalist House in Nicosia.
Toula Kouloumou, head of the Department of Social Welfare, opened the event and introduced the keynote speaker, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Sotiroulla Charlambous, who reiterated the importance of the continuous engagement of the elderly in society and the European Union at large. “There are challenges that need to be addressed collectively as a society, based on principles and not based on competition”, she said, and pointed out that “we as a society ought to consider the elderly as a valuable resource of experience and information.”
“Active Ageing is about everyone. Every citizen has the right to be more healthy more autonomous and to continue learning”, remarked the minister.
The event included short presentations from key stakeholders, among them representatives from the Youth Parliament, the Elders Parliament, the Youth Organisation, the Cyprus National Coordinating Committee for Volunteering, the Cyprus Athletic Organisation, the Research Unit in Behaviour and Social Sciences (RUBSI) of the University of Nicosia and the Social Welfare Services.
In addition, through a short panel discussion and a question and answer session, stakeholder representatives and audience members engaged in a vibrant dialogue on the European Year subjects.
The closure of the event included storytelling activity, related by an elderly member of the audience, Michalakis Georgiou, as told to him by his father, underscoring the importance of the solidarity between generations.
The event heralds the opening of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in Cyprus, which will organise several activities in the upcoming months engaging volunteers and bridging the gap amongst generations.
In Cyprus, the Department of Social Welfare Services Division of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is leading the efforts to promote the EY 2012, engaging citizens of all ages and generations to participate in an island-wide programme of activities and initiatives, which will be disseminated in the website www.mlsi.gov.cy/sws.
Pictures of the event, available here.