Minister Dr. Ioannis Kasoulides
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus
BiographyIoannis Kasoulides was born on the 10th of August 1948 in Lefkosia (Nicosia), the capital of Cyprus. After completing his secondary education in Cyprus he studied medicine at the University of Lyon, France, from which he graduated with an M.D. in 1974. While at University, he co-founded an association to represent Cypriot students attending French universities and colleges. Afterwards he moved to London where he obtained his specialization in geriatrics in 1981 at the Royal London Hospital (formerly London Hospital): during this period he also worked as a hospital doctor and as a lecturer. After his degree he returned to Nicosia, where he started practising medicine privately.
He began his political career with the centre-right Democratic Rally (DISY) in 1985 and obtained various positions in its youth Organisation, before being elected Chairman of the party's youth Organisation in 1990. In 1991 he was elected to parliament, and two years later obtained his first governmental role as spokesman, a role he would keep until 1997. That year he was appointed to the post of foreign minister in the second cabinet of President Clerides, a post he would hold until the 2003 elections. He is heavily credited with having facilitated the accession talks of Cyprus into the EU, together with his government - thanks also to his long periods spent in France and Britain as a student. He also took steps in improving relations with Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot community.
Always a convinced supporter of the EU and of accession, he was among the first group of Cypriot MEPs to be elected in 2004. Once in Strasburg, he joined the Committee of Foreign Affairs, the Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council and the delegation to the Euro-Mediterranean Assembly, and is a substitute in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and in the delegation for relations with Canada. In June 2009, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the European´s People Party parliamentary Group, responsible for Foreign Affairs.
In February 2008, he ran as a presidential candidate against incumbent President Tassos Papadopoulos in the general elections. He was seen as the candidate backed by the international community, which believed he was the best suited to continue on the road towards reunification, especially after the hard-liner Papadopoulos. Despite accessing to the run-off ballot with 33.51% of votes, he was defeated by the left-wing party Akel's candidate Christofias. Nevertheless, Kasoulides remains rather popular with Cypriot voters due to his open-mindedness and propensity to listen and negotiate. He has received many honours from the Cypriot, Palestinian, Lebanese and Maltese governments for his diplomatic efforts.
Ioannis Kasoulidis is married to Emy Droushiotou and has one daughter, Joanna.