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the team

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George Isaias

George Isaias is the founder and Managing 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]

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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.

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Dora Heracleous

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.

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Elena Tornariti, Ph.D.

Dr. Elena Tornariti, graduated in Classics from the University of Cyprus. She studied Modern Greek and Cultural studies at the University of Athens and Oxford University. She completed her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature at the University of Athens, holding a scholarship from the Ourani Foundation. Her interests cover a range of topics, including Postcolonial Literature, Intersectional Feminism and Posthumanism. Elena is experienced in managing and coordinating projects which primarily focus on cultural activities, socially engaged arts, gender equality and environmental education. She is particularly interested in cultural heritage, cultural management, literature and languages, gender equality, school and Higher education projects.

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Golfo Kateva

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.     

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Alexia Pissa

Alexia graduated from University of Surrey where she obtained a BA in English Literature with primary focus on Modernism and creative writing. She is a junior project officer at SYNTHESIS 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.

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Mary Messiou

Mary Messiou is a graduate from the University, College in Tilburg with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, majoring in the field of Arts and Humanities: Past-Present-Future. Her research predominantly focused on the topics of politics, religion, gender, and culture. Mary has a passion for volunteering and is active in the Bi-Communal initiatives on the island. Mary had the opportunity to intern for the United Nations Development Programme in Nairobi, Kenya and upon graduating from her BA interned for an International Humanitarian Aid Organisation in Amersfoort, Netherlands. These professional experiences reinforced her aspiration to remain active in the areas of human rights, social inclusion, and gender empowerment.

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Christina Michael, Ph.D.

Dr. Christina Michael, PhD, received her Bachelor of Music from City, University of London in 2010. She holds a Master Degree in Historical Musicology from King's College, University of London, and a PhD in Historical Musicology from City, University of London.  Her interests cover a range of topics, including music and literature, theatre studies, intersections of modernism and postmodernism, cultural studies, and gender studies. She is experienced in working with people/students/collaborators from different cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds and contributing positively and proactively to teaching culture, especially considering issues of underrepresentation. Currently, she also works as a music history Lecturer at the Department of Music of University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and as a programme notes annotator for the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. She regularly presents and publishes her academic work in international conferences and established journals. She is particularly interested in projects relating to cultural heritage, cultural education and management, gender equality, and school and Higher education projects.

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Irene Che

Irene Che is SYNTHESIS' Cultural Mediator and project officer. She is a graduate from the University of Buea, Cameroon, where she gained a diploma in Tourism and Hospitality; she also studied English Literature and Economics among other topics. Her academic background but also her experience as a refugee raise in her a passion for the issues related to refugees and asylum seekers, particularly of migrant women or vulnerable women. She has volunteered in a number of actions related to the empowerment of women and participated in conferences in Cyprus and abroad.  She is running SYNTHESIS' Social Cafe, and mentoring/empowering migrant women and victims of trafficking. Her passion is community service, social engagement and personal growth.

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Javier Esteban 

Javier Esteban is a Senior Project Manager. By education, he is a High School Instructor with a Master of Science in Sport Sciences and Physical Education and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education.  He also holds a PGCert in Outdoor activities as applied to education and self-development issued by Granada University (Spain). Javier has over 25 years of experience working in non-formal education with children, minors in care, and individuals with disabilities. In addition, he has five years of experience in the design and implementation of community development, sport, and youth policies, having worked for the Ministry for Youth and Sport Affairs in the Extremadura region of Spain. He has provided human rights advocacy training throughout Europe. He has effectively managed KA2 and KA1 projects and participated in Development Cooperation Programmes in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Ghana. Javier has been involved in European project management for more than 10 years. His passion is youth empowerment and inclusion using outdoor activities in the context of education and  non-formal education.

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Christophoros Demetriou

Christophoros Demetriou graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, obtaining a BA in English Language & Literature. He is a project officer at SYNTHESIS and has a passion for storytelling. When he is not working on a project for work or one of his stories, he is either consuming other people’s stories, contemplating life while holding open the fridge door, or hitting the gym. He has self-published most of his written work under the name Copper Mouflon. Publications include short stories, a novel, and comics created through collaborations with artists. He is keenly interested in anything and everything related to creative writing and storytelling - regardless of the medium - physical wellness, and human behaviour. He is fascinated with the use of storytelling, novels and comics for educational purposes.

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Andri Kyriacou

Andri Kyriacou has studied English Language at the University of Cyprus from where she also obtained her Masters degree in English Literature and Comparative Cultural Studies. She has long experience in project management and implementation of EU and national funded projects (Erasmus+, Alliances for Innovation, IMCAP, etc). Andri has a proven experience in project management and coordination, coordinating consortia of 7 and 13 partners ensuring the proper and timely implementation of the projects and the quality of their deliverables.  Additionally, Andri has participated, as a project manager, in the coordination and writing of various project proposals specifically in the field of entrepreneurship.

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Georgia Karaoli

Georgia Karaoli is a Senior Project Manager. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in School Counselling and Career Guidance from the University of Cyprus, and an MA in Psychoanalysis from the University of Essex. She is currently studying for an MA in Art Psychotherapy under the British Association. She has a multiyear experience in Online Learning and has been working as an EU Projects Manager since 2018, taking upon projects in areas relevant to her expertise like Psychological Resilience, Health & Wellbeing, Creativity, and Employability. She also works with the University of Nicosia - Medical School since 2020 as a Clinical Communications Skills Tutor. She has been freelancing as a writer and an artist, establishing her own distinctive personal style. Her first solo exhibition was conducted in 2014 and her first novel was published in 2023.   Georgia is a keen believer that “we should practice what we preach”, so she carefully cultivates and promotes behaviors connected to mindfulness, health & wellbeing and ultimately support a life full or purpose and meaning.  

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Alissa Essa

Alissa Essa holds all LCCI certificates, from level 1 Certificate in Bookkeeping to level 4 Certificate in Financial Accounting, and is now pursuing a degree in economics at the Open University of Cyprus. She is a technically skilled accountant capable of managing an organization's bookkeeping and accounting operations. She is experienced in a variety of spreadsheet and accounting software packages and is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge through numbers.

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Edit Farkas-Balogh

Edit Farkas-Balogh holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and Economics completed in Hungary. She is a skilled finance professional and spent the last 15 years in various business areas within Finance. She worked for international companies where she developed leadership, the ability to achieve common goals and to work with diverse backgrounds as well as to be result-oriented and culturally aware. She was involved in ERP system implementations with a special focus on project management, project governance and change management. Her passion is the combination of leadership, finance, and project management with lifelong learning for empowerment and social inclusion. 

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Andrea Papouri

Andrea Papouri has a diverse background in law, international relations, and gender studies. She holds a Bachelor (LLB) in Law, a Master (LLM) in International Law/International Relations and a Master (MA) in Gender Studies. As a qualified lawyer, Andrea has professional experience in different legal fields and a strong involvement in the organization and management of different ERASMUS+ projects. Her extensive knowledge and academic expertise cover a range of fields, including gender/sexuality/queer theory, women's rights, LGBTQIA2S+ and disability rights, postcolonialism and posthumanism feminist approaches, with focus on the interrelation of these in the political, social, historical, and educational contexts. Andrea has a keen interest in research, learning and unlearning and in the intersectionality of social issues (gender, sexuality, race, class) in transnational and multicultural contexts and is passionate about promoting equality and social justice for all. She also has a great interest in cultural activities and the arts, recognizing their important role in promoting social cohesion and community engagement as well as in environmental education, ecology and sustainable development practices.

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Maria Ioannou

Maria Ioannou is a Senior Project Manager, and a graduate in Creative Writing and Human Rights from the University of Kingston in London with postgraduate studies in International Relations at the University of Amsterdam. Having completed her studies, she has worked to drive social change at non-governmental organizations including Transparency International, Radiomarathon UK and Ambitious about Autism. She has long-term experience in the management and writing of European Projects including AMIF, CERV, ALLIANCES FOR INNOVATION, AAL, ERASMUS+ as well as Cyprus National Programs under the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry and RIF related to Entrepreneurship. She currently implements projects with a focus on issues of social inclusion, human rights protection, disabilities, education, and community engagement. 

associates

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.

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