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Dear Members, on October 5, 2011 the Cyprus U.S. Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Meeting followed by the election of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. It is my pleasure now to introduce myself as your newly elected Chamber President, and on behalf of the newly elected Board of directors, welcome you back to our fall activities. As you may be aware, at the last Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors unanimously elected the Executive Committee for 2011-2013 term:
*On May 1, 2012 Christos Nicolaou replaced our long serving treasurer Kyriacos Skevas who had to step down for personal reasons.
During that same meeting, the Board unanimously voted to acknowledge the long and unwavering service of our outgoing Chairman, Andy Comodromos. Ever since the Chamber’s inception in 1997, Andreas has been a leading figure in the growth of our Chamber and served as its first President. The Board has voted to acknowledge Andy as an Honorary Chairman and one of the Founding Members of the Cyprus U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Andy, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank you for the steadfast commitment and dedication you have demonstrated over the years, and we look forward to having your valuable advice for many more years to come.
I would also like to thank our outgoing President, Dennis Droushiotis, who has been such an inspiration and a role model for all future Presidents of this Chamber. During his tenure, Dennis elevated the importance of our Chamber by cultivating high profile relationships with businesses and professional organizations worldwide. Dennis will now serve as our Vice Chairman. I refer you below to his Letter. Of course, our acknowledgements would be grossly incomplete without due recognition to the solid and consistent support of our Chairman, Peter Kakoyiannis, for his mentorship and leadership, and Costa Kensington, who continues to serve as Legal Counsel to the Chamber. Costa has been honored as our “Member of the Year”, and I refer you to the article on his contributions, below. During the course of 2012 we held two high profile events: The Annual Career Fair and our highly anticipated Annual Merit Awards Gala.
1.2012 Distinguished Merit Award Gala:
This year Noble Energy Inc. and Mr. Charles D. Davidson, chairman & CEO, were the Chamber’s 2012 Distinguished Merit Award recipients for their exploration and development efforts in Cyprus. Once again, our annual Awards dinner was “a smashing hit”, according to Mr. Davidson. The event was attended by over 250 people including Ambassadors from Cyprus, Greece and Israel, as well as a number of dignitaries and diplomatic delegates from various countries.
“Bettering people’s lives is an important motivation for Noble Energy.”
Chairman & CEO, Noble Energy, Inc.
Under the guidance of our trusted Board Member Theana Iordanou, EVP Nick Karacostas and SecretaryNicos Nicolaou, for the first time this year, we initiated a panel conference prior to the awards ceremony. The Chamber’s First Annual Panel Conference was very well attended and informative, with subject matter experts on the panel from Noble Energy, PwC, Abacus, Red Apple Group, and the U.S. Department of Trade. The Conference was covered by ANT1 TV and broadcasted in Greece and Cyprus. It was organized under a Chamber exclusive partnership with PwC and Abacus Cyprus, and was designed to focus on Noble Energy’s ongoing work in Cyprus and expose the related contributions to the Cyprus/U.S. commercial relationships.
Noble Energy’s contribution to the development of Cyprus Economy through drilling and exploration,is immensely important and extends beyond assisting the island becoming energy dependant.
7TCF natural gas discoveries offshore Cyprus are going to drive international investors to position themselves firmly as this new era of natural gas exploration unfolds for Cyprus and the region. Over the medium to long term, we expect to see substantial investments in infrastructure and revenue coming from the sales of hydrocarbons, and we believe Noble Energy is strategically and fundamentally important in helping Cyprus achieve these goals. We also believe that these hydrocarbon discoveries will help facilitate and expedite a much needed solution to the protracted occupation of Cyrpus by Turkey.
Our chamber stands ready to facilitate, assist and become a business catalyst for Noble Energy and any other service provider interested in becoming involved in natural gas exploration in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus.
Already last month, Cyprus decided to negotiate the sale of gas and oil licenses for four additional blocks in its EEZ, which will be concluded in 2013, according to the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Neoklis Sylikiotis. At the moment, Cyprus is in discussions with Italy’s Eni SpA and South Korea’s Korea Gas Corp. on Blocks 2 and 3, and another group including France’s Total, Russia’s Novatek OAO and GPB Global Resources for Block 9, as well as France’s Total on Block 11.
2. Career fair: Our career fair, now in its fifth year, is held every year in New York City and brings together corporate Chamber Members and other potential employers, with potential job candidates. In the last four years we have matched dozens of potential candidates with hiring employers, and we will continue to support this initiative for as long as there is a need from our Members to hire. Every year, we are grateful to have Maggie Stavrianidis, who shares her Human Resource experience with us, and inspires everyone with her colorful delivery, and guides job candidates through the vast employment maze, making this process seem easy and fun. This year we had over 30 corporate Members and other companies participate at the Chamber’s Annual Career Fair. It is our intend to grow this event with t he feedback and support of our Members. I would now like to highlight three very important events for the remainder of this year.
1. EU Presidency: During the second half of 2012, we celebrate the “Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the European Union”.
The Presidency of the Council of the EU is held by each of the 27 member states in turn, for a period of six months. The handover of the chair of the Council of the EU takes place from each rotating Presidency to the next one, on January 1st or July 1st. The assumption of the Presidency is a priviledge and an obligation of each EU member state. On July 1, 2012 Cyprus took the helm of the rotating European Presidency. Year 2012 also marks the 52nd Anniversary of the Independence of Cyprus. To celebrate the Presidency of the Council of the European Union by the Republic of Cyprus and the 52nd Anniversary of Independence, the Chamber will host a cocktail reception for all our Members, the European US Chambers of Commerce, Trade Commissioners from the various diplomatic offices in New York City, and other dignitaries. Mark your calendars for December 17, 2012 and come network with us at Noir New York, 151 East 50th Street.
2. Central Bank of Cyprus: In cooperation with the Hellenic America Bankers Association, the Chamber will be hosting a lecture and presentation by the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Panicos Demetriades. The event will take place on December 11, 2012 at Marsh USA, 1166 Avenue of the Americas.
3. Chamber Christmas Party: Let’s not forget our Chamber’s annual Christmas party in December. This year we are combining our Christmas party with the Cyprus Presidency Celebration at Noir on December 17, 2012. I look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events, and as always, wholeheartedly appreciate your feedback and ongoing support.
Best wishes to all of you
Vassos Vassiliou President