Bicommunal Support Programs

Combating Trafficking in Persons

From 2005 to 2014, the Bicommunal Support Program has supported a variety of programs aimed at combating sex and labor trafficking. Together with the Embassy’s Political Section, local NGOs, the Church of Cyprus, and the Government of Cyprus, activities have included: awareness raising campaigns, international conferences on best practices in developing a multi-disciplinary/referral system to efficiently fight trafficking, a capacity building program on TIP for NGOS, an assessment of the feasibility of the establishment of a TIP hotline, as well as training for the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office, and social workers. In addition, bicommunal delegations of lawyers have traveled for training in Houston, a teaching model with respect to legislation, victim services, and education. And Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot journalists traveled in 2012 across Ukraine to learn about the plight of the trafficked victim and find out what source country Ukraine is doing to combat and prevent TIP.

PeacePlayers International-Cyprus

PeacePlayers International-Cyprus (PPI-CY) brings together children from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities through the game of basketball in a fun filled environment. Stressing the values of sportsmanship and mutual understanding, PPI-CY works with the youth to break down stereotypes and misconceptions, and succeeds in contributing to an environment whereby children who play together can learn to live together. PPI-CY was created in 2006 through a partnership with the UN Development Programme, Action for Cooperation and Trust in Cyprus (UNDP-ACT). Since then, PPI-CY has worked with over 1,000 children, over 20 coaches and youth leaders, and in 15 different regions in Cyprus.

“Jazz Futures”

The “Jazz Futures” program began in June 2008 under the leadership of the Chris Byars and Ari Roland Jazz Quartet. With a view to establishing sustainable inter-communal networks of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot musicians. The program held its final week of training in October 2013, which culminated in a tribute to Daniel Pearl World Music Days. “Jazz Futures” included rigorous musical training, jam sessions and public concerts in venues across the island. The program received significant media attention and was highly successful in building island-wide musical bridges between the communities: participants who knew little or nothing about the other community are continue to work together and performing regularly, despite the fact that the program has officially ended.

Institute of Communication and Languages

Launched in 2008 under the auspices of the Management Centre of the Mediterranean, the Institute of Communication and Languages focuses on the enhancement of English language and communication skills of Turkish Cypriot professionals in order to facilitate professional development, hone the communication skills of those involved in settlement negotiations and European Union activities, and strengthen bicommunal linkages. Since its inception in 2005, the program has made a huge impact on the Turkish Cypriot community. Participants have demonstrated marked improvements in oral, aural and written English language skills. After years of BSP support, the program continues independently to service both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots through a variety of language and capacity building programs.

Youth Leadership and Conflict Transformation Training Program

The “Youth Leadership and Conflict Transformation Training Program” focused on empowering Cypriot teens to engage actively in island-wide projects that built trust and mutual understanding, while honing their leadership capacity. Under the auspices of Northern Illinois University, the program took place in July 2010 and was extremely successful throughout the past few years in ensuring a strong multiplier effect by reaching out to youth in both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities through on-island follow-on activities. Over the years, BSP had supported numerous off-island summer camps for Cypriot teens to encourage tolerance and inter-communal communication.

Cyprus Artefact Treasure in Action

Over several years of BSP funding, The International Children’s Film Festival of Cyprus (ICFFCY), in collaboration with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), embarked on the “Cyprus Artefact Treasure in Action Project.” The project succeeded in producing a pedagogical cross-curricular teaching pack on previously unstudied museum artefacts in Cyprus. The teaching pack, “Unknown Artefacts of Cyprus,” worked to encourage critical thinking and historical understanding. It emphasized the promotion of inquiry skills and evidence-based argumentation. The target audience were teachers, students, parents, educators, teacher trainers, historians, and researchers in both communities in Cyprus and abroad. In addition to the teaching pack, pedagogical tools also included a media literacy component, whereby Cypriot children had the opportunity to learn, in bicommunal groups, how to make an animated film about a specific artefact.