Activities that stem from the educational programme ‘Imagine’ of the Bi-communal Technical Committee were completed earlier in June.
The programme, 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.
A press release said ’Imagine’ takes place under the auspices of the Bi-Communal Technical Committee 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.
To mark the completion of the peace education training, a festival in the buffer zone at the auspicious occasion of 1 June, International Children`s Day took place with the participation of 100 primary school children ages 10-12, coming from 2 Turkish Cypriot and 2 Greek Cypriot schools.
All teachers who have participated in ‘Imagine’ were awarded certificates of participation during the ceremony. 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, Meltem Onurkan Samani and 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.
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.
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.