A.G. LEVENTIS FOUNDATION HISTORY
A.G. LEVENTIS FOUNDATION HISTORY
Over the following three years it gradually increased the scope and volume of its activities, so that, within thirty years of its founder’s death, the A.G. Leventis Foundation can claim a fully-fledged operating record of more than twenty five years.
The main areas of the Foundation’s activities were decided on in the early days of its existence; since then there has been an organic development and expansion within these fields but no major change of direction.
From the first, the Trustees took their cue from the range and direction of the philanthropic interests of the Founder himself and decided, in Cyprus, Greece and in other parts of Europe, to focus to a large extend on culture and education with a special emphasis on the cultural heritage of Cyprus.
In Greece the Foundation has supported a wide range of organizations and events in the cultural and historic fields; but the main emphasis has been on the restoration of a number of monuments of various periods, primarily Northern Greece but also in other parts of the country; the collection of Greek paintings of the 19th and 20th century acquired by Anastasios G. Leventis has been studied and expanded.
Elsewhere in Europe, and further afield, there has again been a concentration on the culture and history of Cyprus and Greece and focus on the communities of the Greek diaspora, especially the Cypriot and Greek community in Britain; the cultural, linguistic and religious concerns of the communities have received most attention.
An international programme of support for Greek studies, covering all historical periods, has developed over the years in parallel with the efforts to study and enhance the presentation of Cypriot antiquities in foreign museums.
As to West Africa, the area where Anastasios G. Leventis had spent his early and middle working years, he had long intended to set up an independent Foundation there, but this, for technical reasons, had not been possible.
The Leventis Foundation (Nigeria) was eventually set up in 1988 to continue an already existing philanthropic programme, and its main activity has been the establishment of agricultural schools in Nigeria specializing in innovative ways of training small farmers to improve productivity, efficiency and environmental sensitivity. The schools programme was later extended to Ghana.
There has also been support for other aspects of education and environmental, medical and cultural causes.
The scholarships programme that have been initiated by Anastasios G. Leventis himself was gradually systematized and greatly expanded, almost exclusively at university level because, until 1992, there was no university in Cyprus and because, in the aftermath of the tragic events of 1974, the Cypriot people turned to higher education as a means of confronting the dangers and uncertainties of the future.
The scholarship programme has consistently been the largest item in the Foundation’s expenditure; the new University of Cyprus has also been supported in various ways.
Apart from cultural matters, the arts and education, there have been a number of other areas on which the Foundation has focused, perhaps with less intensity, but consistently over a number of years.
Chief of these have been the environment, with programmes in Cyprus, West Africa and elsewhere targeted as the most pressing problems in each of these locations.
Medical research and disease control and alleviation have also been important subsidiary activities, with support for cardiovascular research in London, for the Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia, for the Carter Centre’s campaign to eliminate guinea-worm in Nigeria and for research into sickle-cell anaemia.
Grants have also been made in support of hospital sand old people’s home in Cyprus, as well as for medical care for individuals in need.
A small part of the Foundation’s budget has been extended on occasional donations for cultural and educational purposes unconnected with Cyprus and Greece.
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