Tasoula Hatzitofi is Cyprus' candidate for Women of Europe Award 2007
Nicosia, Nov 13 - Tasoula Gergiou Hatzitofi has been named Cyprus' candidate for the Women of Europe Award 2007, for her efforts to protect the island’s culture heritage, in particular objects stolen from the northern Turkish occupied areas of the country.
During a ceremony on Monday, President of the International Association for the Promotion of Women of Europe AIPFE – Cyprus Ms. Soula Zavou said the Women of Europe Award was founded in 1987 to encourage the participation of women to the European affairs.
Ms. Hatzitofi’s work will be presented in March 2008 in Brussels before a committee, comprising among others EMPs and journalists.
Tasoula Hatzitofi was born in Famagusta in 1959. She studied computer science in Britain, before moving to the Netherlands. Six years later she set up her own company, Octagon. At the age of 26 she was appointed Honorary Consul of Cyprus to the Netherlands as a recognition of her efforts to promote Cyprus related issues.
In the late 1990s she intensified her efforts to locate and bring back home stolen artifacts, a goal that took her to Japan, Germany, Britain and the US. During this time she was often confronted by criminals, involved in smuggling, visited numerous museums around the globe and cooperated extensively with Interpol and Europol.
Her work led to the repatriation of 60 objects, including 6th century mosaics, 15th century icons and 12th century frescoes, all of which are now at the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia.
Some 5,000 archaeological treasures, stolen from Cyprus’ Turkish occupied areas and taken to Germany, have been located by Hatzitofi, through concerted action with the Church of Cyprus, the Cypriot and the German authorities.
Some 350 of these, confiscated in Munich, belong to the Republic of Cyprus which is claiming them back through legal means.