About us


Sidestreets began its activities in October 2007. These include organizing a wide range of exhibitions of arts and cultural projects, hosting an artists/scholars-in-residence program, and screening films for children on Saturday afternoons.


Sidestreets offers a broad selection of English language courses, from general to professional English, intensive summer language programs for high school students, preparation courses for international qualifications such as the IELTS and TOEFL, and editing and proofreading services for professionals. Greek language courses are being offered beginning in September 2008, and courses will soon be expanded to include Turkish, and other European languages.


Sidestreets' initiatives are based on a vision of language, cultural dynamism, and critical thinking as the main natural and renewable resources of civil society; and on the conviction that development in these areas will contribute significantly to the sustainable development of shared values, respect for diversity, peaceful co-existence, and social and economic growth in Cyprus and the region.


Sidestreets Administration & Staff


Johann Pillai (Co-founder and Director), B.A., Yale University (1987); M.A., Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Buffalo (1989, 1991). Dr. Pillai works as an independent scholar and director of cultural and educational programs at Sidestreets. He has taught in various academic disciplines at SUNY at Buffalo, Bilkent University, Middle East Technical University, Central Connecticut State University; and most recently at Eastern Mediterranean University, where as a Department Chair and as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, he founded and developed  several departments, and played a key role in setting up  international exchange agreements and university-wide interdisciplinary cultural and educational programs. An Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Dr. Pillai has published on a wide range of subjects related to culture and education.


Anber Onar (Co-founder and General Secretary), B.F.A. (Visual Arts), Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University (1987); M.A., Eastern Mediterranean University (2002). Ms Onar  works as an independent artist and scholar, and developer of cultural programs at Sidestreets. She has taught in the fine arts and art history at Bilkent University; and at Eastern Mediterranean University, where she also worked as a design consultant and was the founder of several arts associations for students. She has participated in art exhibitions in Cyprus and  internationally, from the USA to France, Greece, and Luxembourg.


Christopher Coupland (Instructor) received his M.A. degree in General Studies from St. Andrews University in Scotland in 2006, and continued his studies with further CELTA and TEFL certification in English language teaching. After serving as a Delegation Manager and trainer for the People-to-People Ambassador Program of ECE International in England, he spent a year teaching English as a Foreign Language for Language Link Ltd. in Moscow, Russia. Before joining Sidestreets in 2007, he worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language to European and Central American students, in both the junior and adult educational programs of Atlantic SEAL, in the Republic of Ireland. He is currently an M.Ed. candidate in TESOL at the University of Exeter.



Sidestreets Advisory Board


Rana Zincir Celal, B.A., Columbia University (1997); M.Sc., London School of Economics (1998). Ms Celal is currently Vice President for Programs at the Chrest Foundation. Her recent efforts, in partnership with Anadolu Kultur, have led to the establishment of a new program for cultural cooperation in the Caucasus, particularly Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. Her work also entails enhancing relations between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, as a member of the Greek-Turkish Forum;  she has also worked as a coordinator of several conflict resolution projects.


Emin Çizenel, B.A., M.A., Istanbul Fine Arts Academy (1973-1974). Emin Çizenel works as an independent professional artist and has participated as artist-in-residence in programs in Turkey and Vienna and as a Fulbright fellow in New York. Since the 1970s he has participated in numerous international and local exhibitions/ biennials in countries including England, Cyprus, Turkey, Sweden, Austria, Greece, Luxembourg, and the USA. He is the recipient of many regional and international awards for his work.


Gül İnanç, B.A., Boğaziçi University (1991); M.A., Ph.D., Dokuz Eylül University (1999); Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University (2000-01); Research Fellow at Princeton and Georgetown (2007). Dr. İnanç has taught at Boğaziçi University, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of Cyprus; and is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Mediterranean University. Dr. İnanç is the author of a variety of books and articles on regional history and diplomacy.


Michael J. K. Walsh, B.A. (Leicester Polytechnic, 1989); M.Phil (University of St. Andrews, 1991); Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Cambridge University, 1994); Ph.D. (York University, 2001). Dr. Walsh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Archeology and Art History at Eastern Mediterranean University. He is the author of several books and numerous academic articles on modernist art. Through his efforts the city of Famagusta was placed on the list of endangered world heritage sites by the World Monuments Fund in 2007.