By Christina Katsantoni

Dakis Joannou is an entrepreneur working in the construction and hospitality industries and a collector of works of modern art, with international recognition.  

He was born in Nicosia and graduated from Athens College in 1958. Later, he studied civil engineering in Cornell University, followed by his Master’s in Columbia University and his doctoral studies in architecture in the University of Rome. 

He is the founder and president of “DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art” while he participates in various meetings of well-known museums from all over the world. He is member of the Board of Trustees of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, member of the International Councils of Tate, of the Design Museum of London as well as of the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. From 1995 to 2005 he was a founding member and president of the International Directors’ Council of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York. 


Watch the Leaders Talk Here



His social contribution, in Cyprus, includes Stelios Ioannou Foundation and Saint Christopher Foundation for people with special needs. He is a donor to the school “Stelios Ioannou Research Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies” of Oxford University and to the University of Cyprus regarding the construction of the “Centre of Information and Library Stelios Ioannou” – both works in memory of his father. 

In his Leaders Talk, the entrepreneur and top art collector, Dakis Joannou, talks about the milestones of his life, his relationship with art, the artworks that changed his perspective towards the world and his need to focus on the intersection points between contemporary culture and art. He explains how he managed to create a unique collection and how important its role can be for the promotion of dialogue in art, in connection with humanity.