‘Imagine’ is an educational programme with a focus on anti-racist education and an education for a culture of peace, which was launched after many months of efforts and with the agreement of the leaders of the two main communities on the island of Cyprus.
Peace education in A divided country
Cyprus remains divided to this day as a result of inter-communal violence and foreign interventions. ‘Imagine’ aims to increase contact, communication, and collaboration between the two communities and promotes peace, understanding, and antiracism, together with a holistic understanding of a culture of peace and non-violence.
Preparing and pairing students
Initially, trainers visit classes interested in participating in bi-communal activities and create safe spaces for discussions about stereotypes, discrimination, and racism as components of the prevailing culture of violence. Another crucial aspect of this activity is to prepare students for contact with fellow students from the other community. At a second stage, groups of students from the two communities are paired and choose between two options of activities in the UN buffer zone; a peace education workshop, or sports activities with NGO Peace Players Cyprus. As a third step, sustainable actions and teacher trainings are implemented.
Remove a brick from the wall
So far, 4,595 students and 497 teachers have been trained in peace education. The project’s efforts proved that quiet diplomacy, persistence, and knocking on the doors of people who are not yet on your side helps to create shared spaces. The programme received praise in the Secretary-General of the United Nations' Reports on Cyprus as a good practice for increasing contact and communication between the two communities.
People who were not traditionally positively inclined towards reconciliation, now are curious about joining this project.