meet the team
George Isaias is the founder and executive director of the SYNTHESIS Center for Research and Education Ltd and founder of Hub Nicosia. He holds a BS in Business Administration and an MA in Government and Politics from US universities. He is considered the pioneer of the social entrepreneurship movement in Cyprus. Some of his key recommendations have formed the basis of the forthcoming legal framework as well as Cyprus' Action Plan for the development of an ecosystem of social enterprises. He has been involved in educational and social projects for more than twenty years and has a strong experience in the full cycle of projects, from project development to project evaluation. He provides training on entrepreneurial and business related themes. He is the author of the latest report published by the European Commission "Social enterprises and their ecosystems in Europe. Updated country report: Cyprus." He is a recipient of the Stelios Award for Business Cooperation in Cyprus 2013; the award is set by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet. [CV]
Stefania Savva, Ph.D
Dr. Stefania Savva is the director of Research. She holds a PhD in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies from the University of Leicester, UK in 2016, with a focus on developing innovative museum-school partnerships to support diversity and multiliteracies-based pedagogy for the 21st century. Following on from her undergraduate studies in Primary Education in Greece, she completed an MA in Art, Craft and Design Education in London in 2009, investigating art education curriculum for social change and inclusion. Her interdisciplinary research background informs her approach to issues related to social innovation, social entrepreneurship, design thinking, cultural heritage, inclusive education, and technology-enhanced learning. Stefania was awarded and completed a postdoctoral fellowship co-funded by the EU to investigate sustainable and inclusive museum-school partnerships and holds several presentations in international conferences following Scholar Grants received. Her work is featured in academic peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. At the moment, she is actively involved in the preparation and coordination of several European Consortia, to pursue funding under the HORIZON EUROPE programme.
Golfo Kateva is an Educational/School Psychologist and Systemic Counsellor. She provides counselling services to teachers, parents, children and youth with a migrant background, hearing impairments, learning and/or emotional difficulties. She is an expert in assessing learning difficulties and soft entrepreneurial skills. She undertakes research and develops educational material for inclusive education purposes. Golfo has ten years of experience in managing EU projects related to social inclusion and integration of migrants and other disadvantaged groups such as people with hearing impairments. She is interested in Internet and mobile-based psychological interventions (IMIs), positive adaptation of young migrants, the development of resilience skills, and the promotion of intercultural competences to young people in schools.
Maria Georgiou holds a BSc in Sociology specializing in Comparative Criminology and Juvenile Law, and an MSc in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour. She has extensive experience in developing, coordinating, and monitoring large-scale international projects which focus on the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy (UNDEF, EIDHR, EuropeAid). Currently, Maria is overseeing the development and implementation of projects that aim to provide educational and employment opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. She has also been involved in the development of methods and resources in which children have a central role in the design of the learning material and are co-creators of the learning process. Before joining SYNTHESIS, she worked as an international Project Coordinator for a local CSO where she co-developed global projects on digital democracy and citizen-oriented governance. She also conducted research on the impact of AI on fundamental rights and co-drafted policy papers on digital rights and online content regulation.
Dora Heracleous holds a BA in Modern Greek Literature, a BSc in Sociology and an MSSc in Gender Studies from Linköping University, Sweden. Dora is experienced in managing and coordinating projects which primarily focus on gender equality, social inclusion, migrant integration, sustainable development, global education, peace education and youth engagement and empowerment. She has been trained in the use of education for a culture of peace and is currently facilitating peace education workshops with Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot students across the Cyprus divide. She has also accumulated experience in quality assurance process by drafting Monitoring and Evaluation plans, designing entry and exit questionnaires and conducting in-depth interviews. Her interests include gender mainstreaming, global citizenship education, leadership for peace-making and environmental justice. Dora has extensively collaborated with youth at the grassroots level. She has been awarded the Stelios Bi-communal Cyprus Award (2018) offered by Sir Stelios-Hadjioannou Philanthropic Foundation for her feminist grassroots projects and initiatives.
Irene Kamba is the Head of the Adult Education and VET Unit. She is a senior trainer with more than 20 years experience in adult education and training. She holds an BA in Communication, an MA in International Mass Communication, and an MSc in Risk, Crisis & Disaster Management. Irene is also a licensed language teacher. For the past two decades, she has delivered numerous courses on personal and employment skills, as well as training to companies. She has held positions of responsibility as a senior consultant and advisor, and shares a deep passion to personal, professional as well as community development.
Ioanna Athinodorou is a trained lawyer and has practiced with the Anti-Drugs Policy Unit of the European Commission’s DG Migration and Home Affairs, in Brussels and the UNHCR, in Nicosia. Ioanna has expertise in security intelligence analysis and threat evaluation relating to terrorism, insurgency and military conflicts in the MENA region, and working knowledge of new security challenges such as Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE), radicalisation, and indoctrination techniques and methods. Ioanna also has experience in project development, management and coordination. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in law, an LL.M in European Law, and an MA in Political Science with specialisation in International Relations. Her interests and background include radicalisation and extremism that may lead to terrorism, human rights, racism and discrimination, migration, and governance and security.
Maria K. Georgiou. Ph.D.
Maria K. Georgiou is a project officer and brings extensive experience in the education and youth sector. Before SYNTHESIS, Maria worked for the UNDP and the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (Education & Heritage Consultant), the Red Cross (Youth Officer) and the Association of Historical Dialogue and Research (Education Associate). She worked as Teacher Trainer at the European University of Cyprus and as an instructor at UCL, London; also, as a classroom teacher in Greek Community Schools in UK, where she taught ages 4 to adults. She holds a BA in Greek Literature (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), an MA in Comparative Education and a PhD in History Education (UCL Institute of Education). She is a founding member and Editor of Bαhcές Histories* of Cyprus, a public history initiative from young people for young people. Her interests include history education, identities, (global) citizenship and social justice; also, competencies – such as, critical literacy and democratic skills.
Elena Tornariti, Ph.D.
Elena Tornariti, Ph.D., graduated in Classics and Philosophy from the University of Cyprus. She received her Master’s degree from the University of Athens in Cultural Studies, where she also completed her doctoral degree holding a scholarship from the Ourani Foundation. During her doctoral studies she had the opportunity to study at Oxford University at the Faculty of Modern Languages. Elena is experienced in managing and coordinating projects which primarily focus on cultural activities, socially engaged arts, gender equality and education. She has published articles on women’s writing and the role of art in society. She is particularly interested in cultural management, literature and languages, gender equality and school education projects.
Maria Savvides is a project officer. She holds a BA in European Studies and Modern Languages from the University of Cyprus, where she majored in English and German. After working for a year in Brussels in the international youth non-governmental sector and in Berlin in the political sector, she completed her Master of Science in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in Durham, UK. Maria has experience in developing, implementing and monitoring European projects that focus on the promotion of opportunities and innovative educational methodologies for youth, adults and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. She is actively taking part in bicommunal initiatives, as well as trainings related to youth, migration, environmental issues, sustainability and post-conflict cooperation. Her interests lie also in different forms of art, including music, photography and street art.
Panos Kakonitis is a Project Manager / Researcher and Team leader. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the Department of Democritus University of Thrace (BSc, MEng) with postgraduate studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, in Environmental Design and Engineering (MSc). He is also certified as LEED Accredited Professional Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD + C) since 2008 and he is a Certified Training Instructor from HRDA of Cyprus. He has more than 15 years of experience working as an Environmental Consultant/ Engineer, both in Cyprus and abroad.
His experience varies from working on different EU funded projects related to the environmental sector, to preparing Environmental reports for public and private entities and providing consultancy services on various environmental and climate change issues. Panos is very passionate about working on projects aiming at combating climate change, encouraging environmental education and safeguarding the natural environment.
Angela Charalambous graduated with honours from the University of Cyprus receiving a BS's degree in Business and Public Administration with a concentration in Management. She is the Office Administrator and the first point of contact for SYNTHESIS. Her managerial and leadership skills along with her background knowledge in international business, organisational behaviour and business communication are backing her second role as Project Manager Assistant. Angela is creatively curious and she is constantly stretching her limits by exploring different areas of art.
Marisa holds a Bachelor of Laws from Newcastle University, UK (2018) and an MA in Arts, Culture and Society from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands (2021). She is a licensed lawyer since 2019, with particular interest in Intellectual Property and Copyright Law. Her research interests lie in copyright protection for artists (in particular street artists), as well as the interrelationship of nationality, religion and education in Cyprus. She is particularly interested in cultural policy and management, in different forms of art and she is herself an active member of the Cyprus art scene.
Alexia graduated from University of Surrey where she obtained a BA in English Literature with primary focus on Modernism and creative writing. She has a dual role at SYNTHESIS as a project assistant and administrator with a concentration in digital media and communication. Her core skills are content creation and editing, social media management and web design. She also has experience in planning, organising and coordinating events. Alexia has participated in several European programmes as a student which have sparked her interest in the social integration and inclusion of asylum seekers and migrants. She has a deep motivation to learn and expand her knowledge by exploring new cultures and languages through reading, art, traveling and music.
Dr. Christiana Papamichael
Dr. Christiana Papamichael holds a B.Sc (Hons) and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UK universities. During her studies she worked in human clinical trials which led her to pursue a career in managing all aspects of complex international clinical research in children and other vulnerable groups often in under-resourced settings. Christiana has 10 years’ experience in managing multimillion projects, strategizing and consulting on high caliber research, data management, analysis and quality assurance of academic and research of EU, UN and commercially funded projects. She has expertise in pubic engagement and capacity building activities and has facilitated the development of several research protocols, grant proposals and manuscripts. Moreover, Christiana has extensive experience in auditing, monitoring and quality assurance in large-scale European funded projects. She is mainly interested in project management, research facilitation, training individuals and organisations aiming for capacity development and integration of research methods, particularly on large scale, international projects such as those funded under the UNITAID, UK Aid and Horizon 2020.
Dr Nicos Souleles
Dr Nicos Souleles works in Art and Design Higher Education (HE) since 1995. During this time he served in various roles including head of department, course leader and external examiner for various HE institutions. His interests cover educational research, technology-enhanced learning in art and design, design education and design for social change, innovation and social entrepreneurship. Since 2017 he delivers the only cross-disciplinary and cross-departmental HE study unit (Introduction to Social Design, Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship) at Cyprus University of Technology, where groups of students work collaboratively to address social challenges at their local level. Together with a small group of good friends they run the ‘Art Design: elearning lab’ working on research projects in the areas of multiliteracies, curriculum development for the Third Sector, and Cultural and Arts Entrepreneurship for marginalised women.
Professor Patrick Humphreys
Professor Humphreys is Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was the Director at LSE of the EU FP7 Project “CADIC, Cross-enterprise ,'Evaluation and Development of Intellectual Capital (www.cadic-europe.org). Previously he directed the project “Creative Partnerships: Pathways to Value” for the Arts Council England and led the RTD team for the European Union’s Framework 6 Project “InCaS: Intellectual Capital Statement, Europe”. He is responsible for the LML’s joint initiative with Zen Zone Media Lab, Beijing on “Spritivity Workshops”. He has expertise in innovative and creative decision-making, multimedia case study production and decision support for the collaborative authoring of outcomes. He has led a variety of projects on Small and Medium Enterprise improvement and industrial sector development, enhancement of resources for health, culture, development, and networking in local, national and International contexts. He has been involved in initiatives involving organizational transformation and sector development in many countries. He is Co-Editor (with Frederic Adam) of the Encyclopedia of Decision Making and Decision Support Technologies (IGI Global, 2009). He is International Chairman of The International Creative Industries Alliance.
Ana Margarida Ferreira
Ana Margarida Ferreira holds a degree in Industrial Design (1995, IADE), a Postgraduate degree in Product Design (1996, Glasgow School of Art / CPD) and a Ph.D. in Production Engineering/Industrial Design (2008, UBI). She is Assistant Professor at IADE - Universidade Europeia, Portugal, (https://www.iade.europeia.pt/en/iade/about-us), member of the Scientific Board of the same University and Coordinator of ID:CoLab (R&D LAB) from UNIDCOM /IADE (https://www.unidcom-iade.pt/). She is also associate researcher of Brazilian LOGO/ UFSC and ECOAR/UFRN research Labs, and of Cypriot Art + Design: elearning Lab – Design for Social Change/CUT. Ana Margarida is the director and lecturer of academic courses such as Research Methodology, Design, Creativity, Innovation, Sustainability or Production Design (Ph.D., Master and BA Design courses). Currently, she is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in the field of Social Design at CUT. She collaborates with Scientific and Editorial Committees of specialized Journals or Design Conferences and is invited to Evaluation Committees, such as the National Handicraft Award 2017, as specialist. She is also invited to make communications in various forums in the thematic areas of Creativity, Design, Innovation and Sustainability. Since 2018, she is an associate member of Synthesis – Center for Research and Education.
Chrystalla Pallari holds a BA Hons Degree in Business Administration & Management and Accounting & Finance from Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. She is a Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) since 2006 and Fellow Member since 2011. Her long experience in the finance sector comprises services in areas such as accounting, audit, preparation of financial statements, financial support and financial consulting. Her passion and love, however, is Human Empowerment and Growth and to assist professionals and individuals to achieve their goals/dreams or enhance a balanced life. In 2019 she was awarded the EMCC European Quality Award (EQA) Coaching/Mentoring Program (foundation level) by Bluesky International.
Irene Antoniou is a teacher with advanced studies on special and inclusive education. She has studied in Cyprus and the United Kingdom. She has particular experience with children and youth with disabilities or special needs. She has been particular experience with children with autism, Her passion is using arts for empowerment. She has been trained in mentoring methodologies and is delivering training programmes on social and emotional learning. She has been the project administator for the project "Pan European Peer Education” (PEPE) and “Future Europe” (FutEur).