Alumni Profiles

The Peacemaker

On a cold, rainy spring day last year, Cypriot Ambassador to the United States Euripides Evriviades '76 stepped onto the Durham campus for the first time in 28 years. Despite the weather, the homecoming was filled with warmth and powerful memories for the ebullient statesman.

Evriviades had been invited to present his views at a seminar on stability in the Middle East. At the time, the diplomatic buzz was the upcoming referendum on the unification of Cyprus. But, for the moment, Ambassador Evriviades was all about UNH.

"Ask me about UNH," he prompted in an interview before the lecture. "Aren't you going to ask me about UNH?" Clearly, Evriviades was happy to be back. "If you looked inside my body and found my DNA," he stated emphatically, "you would see U-N-H written on it!"

Sponsored by John Rouman, now professor emeritus of classics, Evriviades followed his brother Marios '71 to UNH from Cyprus and witnessed from a distance the 1974 Turkish invasion that split Cyprus into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north. Two years later, on a class trip to the United Nations with political science professor David Larson, he met the Cyprus delegation, an encounter that planted the seeds of his diplomatic career. "They were very interested in him," says Larson, who encouraged Evriviades to pursue foreign service.

Today, as the Cypriot ambassador to the United States, Evriviades works tirelessly to seek solutions to the conflicts that surround his island nation. The failure of the April 24, 2004, referendum to unite the island was a huge disappointment, but the accession of Cyprus into the European Union one week later brought with it possibilities for improved relations, he thinks. Evriviades believes Cyprus can "serve as a bridge by bringing Europe closer to the region and by fostering a new atmosphere of cooperation over conflict and security over instability."

Evriviades is in a unique position to assess the region's politics. He has served in the Cypriot embassies in Libya, Russia, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands. In his current job, he also serves as ambassador to Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Barbados.

Evriviades sees a global world in which faraway conflicts are everyone's business and terrorism threatens us all. The only solution, he says, is "a comprehensive engagement of diplomacy to address the roots of the conflict. We must tackle this problem at its core and pursue policies of engagement and multilateral management, rather than relying so heavily on military force."

So what role can a 3,500-square-mile island play in this drama? It is all about geography, says Evriviades. "There is a lot to be said about geographic proximity to zones of stability, peace and economic prosperity." From his seat in Washington and through his global travels, Evriviades will be an integral part of these shifting and dramatic world issues. At the same time, he will keep an eye on the small New Hampshire town where he found his career. And he will still cheer for the Wildcats.

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