Dr. Iris Charalambidou honoured during Mediterranean Researchers Night

MEDNIGHT gives a voice to Mediterranean scientists, recognising an all-Mediterranean science team from nine countries

A team of eleven scientists from the Mediterranean basin were honoured on 24 September 2021 at the MEDNIGHT gala, held in Alicante, at Casa Mediterráneo, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

Among those honoured on the night were the University of Nicosia’s Iris Charalambidou, Associate Professor in the Department of Life and Health Sciences. Together with Salih Gücel from the Near East University’s Institute of Environmental Sciences and Herbarium, the two biologists conducted a pioneering study that showed the flourishing flora and fauna of what is known as the Green Line in Cyprus, in which living beings have multiplied relatively undisturbed.

Myrtani Pieri, Assistant Professor in the Department of Life and Health Sciences and co-founder of SciCo Cyprus, served as the Moderator of the event. In her opening remarks, she cited the main topics of importance to MEDNIGHT, which include sciences for the future, technology, health, climate change, anthropology, and marine sciences, declaring in the process: “We are here today to give a voice to Mediterranean scientists”.

The gala, attended by over 100 notable figures in the world of science and politics who showed their support for the pioneering MEDNIGHT programme, was promoted with funds from the European Commission as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions and coordinated by the Alicante-based company El caleidoscopio.

The guest of honour at the ceremony was former President of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, founder of Casa Mediterráneo. In his speech, President Zapatero applauded the initiative, which “makes us love science, which is the only faith I profess, which can be universal, embraced in the East and West, in any culture, embraced by all civilisations […] nothing can bring us closer to a single humanity than science and knowledge”. Addressing the honorees, the president offered his congratulations and commended their work, which underlines their “capacity for astonishment” and their focus on “humanism, the strength to contribute to the destiny of others, of our species”.

During the gala, each honoree received a football jersey with the MEDNIGHT coat of arms, signifying their belonging to a pioneering team in the league of science. To symbolize a (football) team, eleven scientists were purposefully chosen, representing the nine countries of the Mediterranean basin: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, France, and Italy — which make this 2021 all-Mediterranean science team a first step toward creating a Mediterranean identity with science as the common nexus.