Established in May 1979, the A. G. Leventis Foundation is the outcome of the vision of the Cypriot entrepreneur Anastasios G. Leventis (1902-1978), who had set out the primary objectives of action for his eponymous foundation since its inception, with a focus on society, education and culture.
Now in its fourth decade, the A. G. Leventis Foundation – in addition to its extensive public benefit programme and its pioneering activity in the areas of environmental protection and medical research – demonstrates significant involvement in the study of the culture and history of Cyprus, Greece and the Hellenism of the Diaspora. Through an international programme supporting Greek studies (with the fostering of various educational activities, the systematic granting of scholarships, the ongoing contribution to academic research and the production of scientific publications the Foundation consistently adheres to A. G Leventis’ vision.
The Foundation similarly provides for the reconstruction and restoration of a large number of classical, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments. At the same time, it supports research projects and the enrichment of Cypriot antiquities collections in museums around the world, in tune with the Foundation’s concern for disseminating the Greek and Cypriot cultural heritage. With this in view, remarkable collaborations have been developed, such as those with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Museum in London and the Medelhavsmuseet in Stockholm.
An important aspect of the dynamic presence of the A. G. Leventis Foundation in cultural affairs is the Foundation’s art collections: the Paris Collection of European Art, the Collection of Works by Greek Artists of the 19th and 20th Centuries and the Collection of Works by Cypriot Artists. These three collections, which afford a unique aesthetic and educational experience, will soon be united and housed in the new A. G. Leventis Gallery being built in Nicosia, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Architects.
- A.G. Leventis Foundation (Cyprus)
The Cyprus branch of the A. G. Leventis Foundation was established in 1980, and is based in a restored neo-classical house in Gladstonos Street, Nicosia. It is involved mainly with Cypriot projects that focus on the preservation and promotion of the island’s historical and cultural resources.
The foundation is particularly concerned with protecting the cultural heritage of the occupied territory from looting and raiding. It has purchased many important ancient Cypriot artifacts from foreign antiquities markets, and donated them to the Cyprus Museum – most notably those stolen and exported from the Hajiprodromou Collection in Famagusta. As well as this, it funds the preservation and restoration of key archaeological sites and historic monuments, as well as examples of vernacular architecture, collaborating with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. Major contributions have also been made to the restoration of ecclesiastical monuments, funding the restoration of architecture and the conservation of wall paintings at many monasteries, churches and chapels. It matches the contributions made by local communities, and this combined fund is then matched by the government.
On a more academic level, the Foundation also funds research into the history and artistic heritage of Cyprus, and assists in the organisation of international congresses, conferences and other events which aim to promote Cypriot civilisation both at home and abroad. In recent years it has made a major contribution to the newly established “University of Cyprus”. Having bought and restored a neoclassical house in Gladstonos Street in Nicosia, it subsequently provided this to the University to house its Archaeological Research Unit.
The Foundation has also been a dynamic force in the creation of new museums. It has financed the acquisition and restoration of the building which houses the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, and its subsequent organisation. It has also single-handedly sponsored the creation of the Museum of Mycenaean Colonisation, built at the archaeological site of Maa-Palaeokastro. As well as this, Ecclesiastical museums have been established with the Foundation’s support in the Monasteries of Chryssorogiatissa and Machairas, as well as in the villages of Palaichori, Pelendri, Omodhos and Kormakiti (the latter a Maronite village in Northern Cyprus).
From 1989 to 1994 the Foundation collaborated with the European Union to sponsor the groundbreaking Laona Project, a five year programme for the mild and sustainable development of the Laona region in the Akamas Peninsula. This project aims to promote alternative tourism, offering twenty-six restored and ecologically friendly buildings across five villages. Through the NGO Terra Cypria, this project incorporates an internationally significant Environmental Studies Centre based at Kriton Terra in Western Cyprus.
On a more limited scale, social welfare and medical research also fall within the Foundation’s domain. Since 1989 it has been one of the main supporters of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics. Anastasios Leventis financed the establishment of the Home for the Aged in collaboration with Archbishop Makarios II and the foundation continues to support it. It also funded the Department of Intensive Care in Limassol General Hospital and is a major contributor to the Cyprus Red Cross.