Rita C. Severis was born in Nicosia. She studied Philosophy, at University College, London University, (BA Hons); received the Diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism and a PhD in History of Art from the University of Bristol.
Her work experience includes two years at the Press and Information Office in Greece with special assignment to the Presidency (1975-77). She subsequently returned to Cyprus where she ran her own antiques business (1977-2000) and was representing Sotheby’s in Cyprus and Greece (1987-1999).
Since 2000 she has been working as a freelance consultant on antiques and works of art and a freelance researcher, writer and lecturer. Her research interests include, travel writing and travel literature through the ages and subjects related to art in Cyprus, art and politics, art and identity and art and travel. She also works with publishing unknown travelogues on Cyprus and bringing to light unknown representations of the island. She firmly believes and works on the reconciliation platform by using culture and art as a tool for bringing the island’s communities together and points to peaceful coexistence from the past for the future.
Rita Severis was awarded a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by the U. S. House of Representatives, (2001) was decorated by the French Government Chevalier dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2007) and by the King of Sweden in 2010. She is also the Honorary Consul for Canada in Cyprus.
She is the co-founder of the Costas and Rita Severis Foundation, a non-profit organisation for the promotion of culture and peaceful coexistence, and executive director of the Centre of Visual Arts and Research, the home of the Foundation. The CVAR has been recognised officially by the government as a museum and has won the Europa Nostra Award 2017 for Education. Training and Awareness-raising, which is the first time this category is won by Cyprus.
Severis served as a member of the Board of various foundations such as the Monagri Foundation, the Cyprus Popular Bank Cultural Foundation, and the Board of Friends of the Leventis Museum. Member of the Selection Committee for the Rescue, Preservation and Promotion of the Archaeological Heritage of Cyprus, 2002 (organised by the Ministry of Communications and Works, awarding individuals and institutions for their work, 2003). She is a member of ASTENE (Association of Study and Travel to Egypt and the Near East), speaker on CyBc in a series of half-hour lectures on the history of the Latin community in Cyprus. She lectures widely on art, art history, travel literature and travelogues pertaining to Cyprus, speaks fluent Greek and English, basic French and is learning Turkish.
Rita Severis organised many cultural events and exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad and is the author and co author of 14 books on Cyprus and a large number of articles on history of art, travel and art and politics pertaining to Cyprus. She has delivered lectures in Cyprus and abroad on her subjects of interest and has participated in many conferences.