Cyprus University of Technology hosts public discussion on “EUt +: A beacon of equal opportunities for all”

22 Sep, 2021

TU Dublin's European University of Technology (EUt +) partner has hosted a public discussion titled "EUt +: A beacon of equal opportunities for all." The event is part of a series of events launching the EUt + consortium bid to create a European University of the future.

This successful bid will support the eight-member transnational Alliance to establish a pioneering collaborative model that will revolutionise the quality and competitiveness of technologically-focused higher education in Europe. 

The discussion was attended by the Acting President of the Republic of Cyprus, President of the House of Representatives, Ms Annita Dimitriou, the Officer at the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights Nasia Dionysiou, the Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Gender issues Ms Josie Christodoulou, Associate Professor of the CUT Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science Dr Dimitris Tsaltas and the postgraduate student George Panayiotou. The discussion was moderated by the Associate Professor at the CUT Department of Nursing, Dr Christiana Kouta.

 The event took place at the Rialto Theater and was joined by the Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology, Professor Panayiotis Zaphiris. The discussion was also attended by the members of the delegations of the seven European Universities as well as CUT members and Executives.

As mentioned during the discussion, one of the objectives of the EU project "European University of Technology" is to promote a Europe for everyone that is inclusive, also highlighting gender equality. It was also noted that the Cyprus University of Technology had made much progress on inclusivity and gender equality, namely developing a protocol to address sexual harassment issues at the workplace as well as developing a gender equality plan.

The Acting President of the Republic, President of the House of Representatives, Mrs Annita Dimitriou, congratulated the Cyprus University of Technology on the actions and initiatives it undertakes and implements in the direction of equality and diversity. At the same time, it ensures equal opportunities for all, without exclusions. She also stressed, inter alia, the need to develop synergies and collaborations between all relevant bodies in order to achieve even greater progress in these important areas, which are, as she pointed out, central pillars for democratic societies.

During the discussion, the House President noted that although significant steps and reforms have been taken in recent years on these issues in addition to various bills of legislation that have been approved, there is still much to be done, and there is room for further improvement. She also expressed the need to put into practice those laws and those reforms that have been decided over the years and to raise public awareness about these issues.

The Officer at the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights, Ms Nasia Dionysiou, referred to the role and the mission of the Office in safeguarding human rights and implementing the principles of equality, including gender equality as well as non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, colour, race, ethnic origin, religion, age, disability etc.

The Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on gender mainstreaming in foreign policy, Ms Josie Christodoulou, stated, inter alia, that there is a setback internationally in terms of issues related to human rights and, in particular, women's rights. She also said that today women are under-represented in decision-making centres and are faced with violence, adding that "we have a long way to go to effectively address all these challenges."

George Panayiotou, a postgraduate student of the Department of Communication and Internet Studies of the Cyprus University of Technology, spoke about his own experiences with a disability, stressed the importance of equality and the need to accept diversity among people. He also highlighted the importance of mutual respect and mutual understanding, which are pivotal for progress in society.   Moreover, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi, who had said: "Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation". Finally, Panayiotou thanked the Cyprus University of Technology for the support and assistance provided to him throughout his studies.

Associate Professor of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science at the Cyprus University of Technology, Dr Dimitris Tsaltas, stressed that each and every one of us, as members of our society, must fight to achieve equality among all people, securing equal opportunities and equal treatment of all citizens and eliminating stereotypes and discrimination. For this purpose, he added, an Equality Committee has been set up at the Cyprus University of Technology, which aims to submit proposals to the Senate for the University's policy regarding equality, gender equality, women's empowerment and the rights of people with disabilities. Furthermore, it is noted that Gender Equality is Goal 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Therefore, one of the strategic goals of the Cyprus University of Technology is to integrate the UN Goals into its operating pillars.

Two more public discussions will take place at the Rialto Theater in Limassol on September 23 and 24, from 11:00 to 13: 00.

The first discussion, entitled "EUt+: Boosting European Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship", will be held on September 23, with the participation of the Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Mr Kyriakos Kokkinos, the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation Dr Nikolaos Mastroyiannopoulos, the CEO of PwC Cyprus Mr Evgenios Evgeniou, the CEO of Theramir Ms Marianna Prokopi, the CEO of LearnWorlds Mr Panos Siozos, the CEO of SignalGeneriX Mr Tasos Kounoudes and the CEO of Metabeta Marius Ursache. The discussion will be moderated by the Professor of the Department of Public Communication of CUT, Dr Nicolas Tsapatsoulis and the Assistant Professor in Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics at the Cyprus University of Technology, Dr Stelios Yiatros.

The second and last in a series of three public discussions, entitled "EUt +: Designing the future of higher education in Europe", will be held on September 24, with the participation of the Director-General of the European Commission for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Mrs Themis Christophidou, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Mr Prodromos Prodromou, the Director of the Technological University of the French city of Troyes Mr Pierre Koch and the Rector of CUT, Professor Panayiotis Zaphiris. The debate will be moderated by EUt Coordinator Timothee Toury.

The Meeting of the Rectors of the eight Universities of the Alliance will take place on Friday, September 24, from 09:00 - 10:30 at the "Drakos" building of the CUT in the presence of the Director-General of the European Commission for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Mrs Themis Christophidou.

During the Rectors' meeting, the "Limassol Agreement" will be signed, which provides, inter alia, setting up an International Teams Coordination Office (ITCO) on each campus and an Erasmus EUt+ Office, in addition to signing an Agreement of Understanding to establish clusters of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programs.

Read more about the European University of Technology here