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Ambassador's remarks for Professor Van Coufoudakis
2002-05-01 21:42:01


I am very excited and deeply honored to be here tonight attending this wonderful event, which is meant to pay tribute to Dr. Van Coufoudakis on the occasion of his retirement, after 35 years of excellence in academic service at Indiana University-Purdue University,Fort Wayne.

For those of us who have come to know Van Coufoudakis through the world of international diplomacy it is not difficult to appreciate the remarkable qualities that have made him such a valuable voice in the efforts to better comprehend the complex relationship between the United States and the volatile region of the Eastern Mediterranean. This is a region that has not always received the attention it deserves from academia, the media or political leadership.

Van Coufoudakis has been for years a tireless advocate of principles. He has been a voice of reason and vision, not always adequately listened to. But he has persisted and has been vindicated. For example, he stubbornly, aggressively and courageously warned that American support for the military junta that seized power in Greece in 1967 was misguided. He convincingly made the case that not only such support is contrary to U.S. ideals and principles, but that it would eventually have catastrophic consequences for the people of Greece and US interests in the region.

Turkey used the pretext of a coup against Cyprus by that abominable Greek Junta in 1974 to invade and partition Cyprus. The Cyprus problem, the forcible division of Cyprus, has remained one of the sad pages in western diplomatic history, because voices of reason like Van Coufoudakis' were not listened to.

Since then, Van Coufoudakis continues his noble struggle advocating international diplomacy on the basis of the rule of law, to resolve the division of Cyprus imposed by Turkey through the use of force and in violation of international law.

The rule of law has been the guiding principle and the very foundation of Van Coufoudakis' thesis for a better world. From the classroom, to panel discussions in think tanks, to brainstorming sessions with policy-makers, in the media and before a multiplicity of audiences, Van Coufoudakis kept loyal to that high principle. He must have felt lonely at times because deep adherence to such ideals is often mistaken for naivet? in the cynical world of international relations.

But as so many conflicts around the world have demonstrated, deviation from the rule of law ultimately leads to tragedy.

Another guiding principle has been his opposition to the application of double standards in foreign policy. He rightly believes that unless fundamental principles are applied uniformly and with equal resolve by all nations, but especially by the great democracies of the world, they will be ineffective.

The application of double-standards has bedeviled the world especially in the cold war period. But in the post-cold war era, when there is so much need to live under a new world order based on the rule of law, double standards in world diplomacy undermine long-term solutions and have led to serious problems.

We in Cyprus are proud of Van Coufoudakis' contribution to strengthening the relations between Cyprus and the United States. He has done it as an educator by talking in a variety of fora, from private counsel to media interviews. He has also done it by challenging approaches and policies that deviated from the rule of law and by constantly reminding political leaders to adhere to principles.

Van Coufoudakis has always been most generous with his thoughts, his knowledge and his advice. He is a shining example of a classic American success story. Combining his Greek heritage and his American experience with a sharp intellect and an exemplary work ethic he has offered invaluable service to international diplomacy.

For Cyprus he has been a wonderful advocate in his capacity as the Honorary Consul of our small nation in the United States. For America he has been an equally worthy spokesman in the Eastern Mediterranean region, offering a better understanding of the policy trends of this great nation. As a scholar he helped thousands of people make sense of the complex issues in US foreign policy, especially towards Europe, including the Cyprus problem.

In honoring Van Coufoudakis you recognize the value of his longstanding commitment in education and international affairs. You also honor through him your own institution, his academic home for the past 35 years, which served as the platform to spread his message of the rule of law, the essence of the democratic way of life.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity and for making me a part of this moving event.

To Van and Marion Coufoudakis I express on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus our warmest thanks and deepest gratitude for all you have done for Cyprus throughout the years and I wish you the very best in the new challenges that lie ahead.

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