Take a look at the short video above. Go on. It’s not very long.
Somewhere towards the end, Turkish Cypriot Alparslan Balci and fellow youth activist, Greek Cypriot Anna Leonidou engage in a mock competition, each trying to rattle off as many words in the other’s language as possible.
It’s a charming moment, very human and warm. Nonetheless, as the video goes on to portray, the young people’s participation in Youth Activism, also means they grapple with the real challenges that exist in fostering understanding and unity amid the island’s two main communities across the generational divide.
What becomes clear, however, is the importance of reaching out to Cyprus’ young people, since, in Anna’s words “if we want to change something in society, we have to start with the young ones, because they’re the most open-minded ones”.
This is a nice encapsulation of the work of the Youth Activism project – one of the most vigorous partners in the Peace it Together network. The aim is not just to bring young Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together through media outreach, workshops, festivals and summer camps, but hopefully also to nurture “active concerned citizens of a united and sustainable Cyprus” in the medium- to long-term.
To achieve this objective, Youth Activism – the joint project for the 12 organisations that make up the Youth Power network, working with the island’s youth in a bi-communal context – rarely rests on its laurels, with a full calendar of events and activities constantly planned.
In fact, The Peace Exchange will very shortly bring you a post about Youth Activism’s upcoming Hope Chest workshops.
Stay tuned, and… see you in the next post!