Presentation of the 1st Research Programme of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation (London, 20 November 2017)

Cyprus, 1878: The 28-year-old Foreign Office delegate Horatio Herbert Κitchener undertakes the compilation of a modern map of Cyprus, based on the scientific method of trigonometric surveying, to be used mainly for administrative and tax-collection purposes.

London, 2017: The ‘decoding’ of the map of Cyprus through modern methods impressed the audience in a packed hall at the Hellenic Centre on the evening of 20 November during a presentation of the 1st Research Programme of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation (Vaduz). The programme was conducted in collaboration with Harokopio University (Athens), and its main evidence was an original copy of Lord Kitchener’s historic map of Cyprus (edition of 1885) held in the Foundation’s collection. This map constituted the first scientific mapping of Cyprus and remained the cartographic prototype until the mid-20th century.

Dr Christos Chalkias, Professor in the Geography Department of Harokopio University and Scientific Director of the Research Programme, elaborated on the deciphering of the map, as well as the several different layers and geographical entities that emerged from the study and analysis of the geographic, environmental, financial, historical, cultural and other information included in the map. Thanks to the interactive web application developed by Harokopio University, this multitude of information can now be accessed and utilised by both scholars and non-experts worldwide (free access via the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation website here. Regarding scholarship and the Digital Humanities, the presentation of the programme also attracted experts from King’s College London, who expressed a great interest in collaborating with the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation and Harokopio University.

The event was held under the auspices of the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprusto the United Kingdom, H.E. Mr Euripides Evriviades. In his address, Mr Evriviades stressed the contribution of the 1st Research Programme of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation to preserving the place names of Cyprus and other aspects of the island’s history through primary sources. The audience was also addressed by Mrs Agatha Kalisperas, Director of the Hellenic Centre, and Mrs Artemis Scutari, Director of the Sylvia Ioannou Foundation.

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