(Press Release: Association for Historical Dialogue and Research)
The Bi-communal Technical Committee on Education, which was established after the agreement between the two leaders in December 2015, continues its efforts to implement confidence building measures in schools of the two educational systems and promote contact and co-operation between students and educators from the two communities.
Educational programme ‘Imagine’ which addresses primary, lower and upper secondary and vocational schools managed to bring together 2000 students and 194 teachers from 40 Turkish Cypriot and 40 Greek Cypriot schools from all areas of Cyprus during the educational year 2017-2018.
’Imagine’, taking place under the auspices of the Bi-Communal Technical Committee of Education and implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and the Home for Cooperation (H4C) with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus has just been successfully completed on June 4, 2018.
A successful school year of peace education trainings ended with a festival in the buffer zone at the auspicious occasion of 1 June, International Children’s Day. The closing event took place with the participation of 100 primary school children ages 10-12, coming from 2 Turkish Cypriot and 2 Greek Cypriot schools.
Grounded in a holistic understanding of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, the programme is being implemented in two stages: in the first stage, experienced trainers visit the schools of participating students and teachers in both communities to facilitate activities that deal with stereotypes, extremism and intolerance, paving the way for voluntary bi-communal contact at the H4C. Then, in the second stage, groups of students from the two communities, who wish to participate, are paired and meet in the buffer zone where they take part in either peace education workshops with the AHDR or sports activities with PeacePlayers International.
All teachers who have participated in ‘Imagine’ were invited for a ceremony and were awarded certificates of participation. The event took place at the Home for Cooperation on June 8, 2018 in the presence of the Co-Chairs of the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Education, Dr. Meltem Onurkan Samani and Dr. Michalinos Zembylas, as well as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Franz Josef Kremp and Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of UNFICYP in Cyprus.