NEPOMAK, the world organisation for young overseas Cypriots, has now opened applications for this summer’s tenth annual language and cultural program – the NEPOMAK Discover Cyprus Program (NDCP).
The three-week-long program of cultural activities and intensive Greek language lessons at the University of Cyprus has been, from year to year, a unique experience open to 18 to 22 year olds of Cypriot descent.
With the initiative being heavily subsidised, covering the cost of excursions, the airfare, accommodation and course fees, participants are only expected to make a small contribution.
Brisbane based Demitri Nicolaou, president of NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand, told Neos Kosmos that during the previous five years, the expression of interest among Cypriot Greeks of Australia and New Zealand has always been a constant.
“NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand is permitted to have 10 participants attend the program every year. We have fulfilled our quota for the last 5 years. While we would love to increase the number of participants, the program is currently capped,” Nicolaou told Neos Kosmos.
NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand has been praised for one of the largest ratios of applicants to participant positions of the Discover Cyprus Program. On average, around 30 people apply each year making competition for places extremely tough, as president Nicolaou explained.
In a bid to re-connect the youth with their homeland, local Cypriot communities around Australia also play a role.
“Many of our previous participants have been directed to the program from their local communities. There is always a strong response from the Cypriot Youth of Brisbane with many of their members applying.
“However, we don’t limit ourselves to the communities as most young Cypriots are not involved within the community. This is why we reach out to Hellenic university societies to help us with promotion. In the past we have found that once participants return, their love for Cyprus is amplified and they want to be part of the organisation. This is evident in our Current Executive committee with 15 out of 18 members who have been on the program in the past,” Nicolaou said.
The main aim of the Discover Cyprus Program is to provide young overseas Cypriots, from all around the world, with the opportunity to visit their homeland, participate in a series of cultural events, intensive language courses and many other activities.
“If you have never been to Cyprus before, it is the best opportunity to learn about the history and language by being directly surrounded by our heritage.
“If you have visited Cyprus previously it is a chance to make lifelong friends and visit parts of the island you generally wouldn’t visit,” Nicolaou said.
The NEPOMAK Discover Cyprus Program will run from 1 to 24 July 2014, and is open to young overseas Cypriots from the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany and the UK.
The NDCP is an initiative of ΝEPOMAK, the Cyprus Youth Board and the University of Cyprus and funded by the Government of Cyprus.
For more information and to express your interest, sign up online by registering at www.nepomak.org, or email NEPOMAK at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The online application form can be found at www.nepomak.org/ndcpapplication. Applications close on 1 April.
The NEPOMAK Australia & New Zealand will keep active until then, with its next annual summit to be held this year in Melbourne, at the Cyprus Greek Orthodox Community of Apostolos Andreas, Sunshine, from 25 to 27 April (Anzac Day weekend). All Cypriot Greek youth are welcome to attend. For more details visit www.facebook.com/NEPOMAK.Aus.NZ