Berlin, NJ – Throughout the evening, Consul General of Cyprus, Koula Sofianou smiled as she reached out, humbly shaking hands and thanking the Cypriot and Greek community of Philadelphia for their continued support and hospitality to her homeland.

When Sophianou spoke, there was a sense of integrity in her tone and a strength that you believed could carry her country. Sofianou is a metaphor for Cyprus, which continues to be occupied in the north by Turkey now, some 40 years. Judging from the size of the crowd and the applause, it was obvious, that Sofianou’s four years in the US was deeply appreciated.

On the occasion of the Cyprus Society of Greater Philadelphia (Makarios III) annual dinner dance, Sofianou was honored with the Leadership Award. Taking the podium, Sofianou spoke about the importance of preservation of language, her many visits to the Philadelphia area, her loss of her father and the continued battle to liberate Cyprus.

She praised the Greek American community of Philadelphia and reflected on her many visits and participation at Greek Independence Day along the Ben Franklin Parkway. “Not only is it a city with a Greek name, but a city of great historic importance”, said Sophianou. Speaking on her love and preservation of Greek language, she also pointed out the significance of the youth.

Following the presentation of the award by ambassador of Cyprus to the USA, Mr. George Chacalli, Sofianou was greeted by hugs from the Cypriot Dancers of Greater Philadelphia.The Cypriot Dancers then took the floor and performed original folk dancing. Beaming family members and friends looked on and snapped up photos of this historic evening. Tonight, the Cypriot and Greek community stood tall. Their children and Sophianou gave them a sense of great pride.

We spoke with Sofianou about her four years as Consul General of Cyprus in NYC. She described how Philadelphia was not part of her regional duties but expressed a great warmth and friendship and how she was embraced by the Greek and Cypriot community of Philadelphia. The truth is, that we the Greek people of Philadelphia are fortunate to have had a leader of this caliber.