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Cyprus/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

Cultural policy in Cyprus operates in a rather centralised and compartmentalised model of approach. Despite the fact that cultural policy for contemporary culture is situated in the Ministry of Education and Culture, a number of other Ministries and semi-governmental bodies have a certain degree of responsibility for various cultural issues (cf. chapter 3).

On the whole, the Cyprus cultural policy model could be described as an idiomatic version of the "architect model" in which the state, through a Ministry of Culture, assumes the responsibility for cultural development.  This includes the municipalities' level, where a great number of cultural activities are subsidised by the Ministry of Education and Culture through a special scheme fund. 

The present model can also be attributed to certain historical facts that may well justify the delayed development of certain institutions at the local level or of civil society cultural initiatives:  From 1571 until 1878, Cyprus was under Ottoman rule, and the right to freedom and cultural life was suppressed by the Ottoman Turks who ruled the island.  The Enlightenment and other intellectual movements that were dominant in the rest of Central Europe, had not reached the population of Cyprus at that time (Persianis 2010).  In this context, only certain individuals who could afford to study abroad came in contact with European cultural and intellectual movements. The social and cultural sphere in Cyprus was therefore affected by the political and ideological discourse prevailing in the rest of Europe only at a later stage.

Chapter published: 05-10-2015

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