Education for a Culture of Peace as a Vehicle for Reconciliation in Cyprus
When and where
The project "Education for a Culture of Peace as a Means for Reconciliation in Cyprus" is a three-year project that started on July 6, 2014. The project is implemented by the POST RI Research Center and the Historical Dialogue and Research Group and is funded by the European Commission, through the Civil Society Action Program to the Turkish Cypriot community. This program aims to use education as a platform for introducing structural change in society. It applies to Cyprus, a country with a long history of inter-ethnic conflict. In such a context, Education for a Culture of Peace can provide the means by which the transformation of the education system and society can be achieved and the Culture of Peace can be cultivated and maintained. Thus, the main goal of the project is to bring social change and transform the current situation through an approach that utilizes civil society, with the participation of educators, young people, parents and community members, in an educational and transformational process. The project is considered vital, as the two communities in Cyprus still live separately, while elements of violence and war are maintained, with the main actors of change (education system, faith representatives, media) perpetuating this regime, and therefore , to limit the evolution of society to peaceful.
Education for a Culture of Peace is a three-year project which was initiated in July 2014. It is being co-implemented by POST Research Institute (POST RI) and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), both Cyprus-based NGOs. http://postresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/ http://www.ahdr.info/home.php
Background and Overview
This project aims to use Peace Education to bring about structural changes in Cypriot society for a Culture of Peace to be cultivated and sustained.
WHAT IS A CULTURE OF PEACE?
According to UNESCO, Education fora Culture of Peace and Non-Violence is a process which forwards the skills, attitudes and values needed to enable people to prevent and resolve conflict. It is a holistic framework aiming at social change through education. It’s not only the absence of war and physical violence, since even in cases where there is no war between states, there is structural violence. A Culture of Peace includes education for sustainable economic and social development, education for sustainable management of natural resources, respect for human rights, gender equality, participation of citizens in decision-making, respect and tolerance of other cultures and diversity, social justice, freedom of information movement, demilitarization and inner peace.
WHY DO WE NEED IT IN CYPRUS?
Not only is the conflict between the two communities in Cyprus still on-going, given that the main agents of change continue to perpetuate a Culture of War, but Cyprus is also facing new challenges that arise through globalisation. In a diverse, multi-communal society the importance of mutual respect, empowered individuals and the upholding of human rights is paramount.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT?
The aim of the project is to use a Culture of Peace to bring about societal change and transform the current status-quo through a bottom-up approach, by engaging educators, young people, parents, community members, and civil society in an educative and transformational process which will advance knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. We are a team of 5 staff members, supported by a 10 person Project Advisory Board and a Scientific Committee, both consisting of experts in the field of a Culture of Peace among others. As well as training educators and students in a Culture of Peace, we will be conducting research on the existing educational system, producing tri-lingual supplementary educational materials, holding a Multi-communal Summer Youth Camp and an International Conference on a Culture of Peace. We hope to set Cyprus as an example for future initiatives in Europe and elsewhere of how to integrate Education for a Culture of Peace in divided societies.Watch this space!!
The project is being financially supported by the European Commission through the Civil Society in Action IV Program opened for the Turkish Cypriot Community. Website http://www.postresearchinstitute.wordpress.com/