Restoring the historical infrastructure for peace

Peace Exchange was musing the other day at how common heritage crops up in different ways and in various guises.

It can be heard in the dialects of a language, and mirrored in the shared values of people living in the same geographical location.

It can flow as the undercurrent in folktales, poetry and traditions. It can even determine the names of children, in a bid to remember, honour and renew.

But where history’s influence is unmistakable is in a country’s infrastructure and in its public spaces.

And of course, those structures that have bound together the people of any age still resonate with the power to unite through common usage and as important gathering points.

For this reason, Peace it Together’s various Cultural Heritage partners and the Future Together Project partners have turned their efforts towards not merely restoring important structures from Cyprus’ past, but identifying best practices arising from stakeholders participating in such restoration – and in this way doing their part for reconciliation.

You might say that the Cultural Heritage partners and Future Together partners take peacebuilding rather literally!

To date, the Cultural Heritage initiatives have overseen the restoration or rehabilitation of seven key buildings and monuments, including an Armenian Church and Monastery, Peristerona House, the Grand Turkish Bath, Prophet Elias Monastery, Cultural Heritage Circle Preservation, Day Care Centre at Paphos Gate and the Church of Agios Neophytos in Troulli.

Meanwhile, Future Together is helping existing partners and other interested parties to extract lessons from already established participatory development models, to produce a Best Practices Guide for both Cypriot and regional practitioners.

Peace Exchange invites you to watch the video above on the opening of the Turkmenkoy/Kontea peace park, as an example of the positive impact of participatory planning – and making an asset of common heritage in bringing people together.

Another project that aptly demonstrates this dynamic is summed up in a podcast on the provision of a day care centre for the mentally handicapped in Favierou. You can listen to the moving story here.

As ever, more good stuff to follow, so stay tuned and… see you in the next post!

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