Negotiations about the Cyprus Issue go on for decades, while lately clearly a lot of effort has been put in order to achieve a solution. Yet, the ones who will actually live the solution on the island, the young people, are never considered as stakeholders or been asked about their opinion.
For this reason, YEU Cyprus, with the support of the Youth Council of Cyprus, has organised a three-days Structured Dialogue conference on the topic of successful activism in the field of the Cyprus Issue. This conference brought together 30 young people from all the communities of the island with the main aim to motivate them to take part in the decision making process on a political level through the discussions on the Cyprus issue and promote successful ways of activism through current and past examples.
The objectives of the project were:
- To empower participants with skills to fight the apathy of youth and the ignorance which comes from politicians against youth
- To increase youngsters awareness on the possibilities they have to get involved in the negotiation of the problem
- To increase their critical thinking and opinion making by examining previous movements happened in Cyprus
- To create ideas on how youth can raise their voice on a national level related to the Cypriot problem
- To raise awareness on how previous European movement can contribute to the Cypriot problem.
Non-formal methodologies were used to reach the objectives of the programme. By the end of the conference, participants created three recommendations on how youth can be more active and engaged in the decision-making process regarding the Cyprus issue.
The conference hosted several stakeholders who had a creative impact on the project and participants and enriched their knowledge and awareness on several issues. More specifically, representatives of the Cyprus Youth Council joined us and discuss the youth dialogue as it is the most relevant organisation on this thematic. Additionally, volunteers for the movement Unite Cyprus Now had a presentation on their activism work happened so far and gave us advice on future activism movements. And last, an educator from the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) had a historical presentation about the two communities of the island and what had happened so far regarding negotiation to solve the issue.
At the end of the conference, participants formed a policy paper with three recommendations on how youth can be more active and engaged in the decision-making process regarding the Cyprus issue. Additionally, they analyzed their ideas regarding the steps that need to be taken to realise their recommendation and bring the change.
The three recommendations are:
- Creation of a new module for High School that will focus on cultural understanding and on gaining the tools to develop critical thinking. Apart from the above, the creation of a common platform to connect the two communities and the creation of a board to discuss the bi communal education.
- Make the voice of youth heard and be taken into consideration on the Cypriot issue. Collection of questionnaires on the Cypriot issue (after presentations in schools and information sessions), survey analysis of the results and sending the results to the negotiators and at the same time, publicize them.
- Demilitarization of the Old City of Nicosia and move the check points outside the walls after consultations with the residents and the Municipalities, European Institutions, the United Nations and other bodies.
The conference was held in the historical building of Nicosia Ledra Palace Hotel between 5-7 of April 2019.
The project is funded by Europe for Citizens and it is under the scope of the long term project #GetUpStandUp which surrounds itself with influential European protests in order to raise awareness of their significance, use them as examples to stimulate debate and finally utilize them as a means of reflection and comparison on their nature and their influence on our society and contemporary protests as well.