One of the key characteristics of Cypriots is their willingness to dispense with formality and not to stand on ceremony. After all, small spaces usually mean people don’t stay strangers to each other very long.
The person you meet across an office desk might well show up the next time you stop off at a petrol station to refuel, or pant at the running machine next to yours at the gym, or share an anxious moment with you in the same hospital waiting room.
It’s just the way it is on this island – familiarity means the most natural thing is to chat or to come together – to engage with each other. And there is great potential, great power in that.
Led by the Management Centre and the NGO Support Centre, the Engage, Do Your Part for Peace project works in partnership with civil society across the island to provide a platform for dialogue, advocacy and increased citizen involvement in reconciliation efforts.
The video above, recording the occasion where over 50 civil society organisations from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, gathered in the UN Protected Area to express their support for the ongoing peace negotiations, bears testimony to the people to people power that the Engage project aims to harness in support of reconciliation.
As the Engage team members express in the video, the goal is to create “a synergy in both communities, and hopefully Engage will be contributing to that big time”.
To achieve this goal, the Engage project supports an active civil society not only in taking action at the grass roots level, but also in advocating for change at the policy level.
The Peace Exchange will be bringing you more on Engage activities in future posts, but in the meantime, wanted to leave you with this thought:
People to people power, at a time when the world is transfixed by dramatic political changes happening all around us, is not just a remote force to be reckoned with; it is universal and lies waiting to be tapped in any place, in any given situation.
When we engage with it, what might we achieve, both on the national and international level, for peace?
That’s all for the moment, so, till very soon, stay warm, have a great weekend and… see you in the next post!