Monthly Archives: April 2012

GUEST POST: CCMC marks new milestone in media collaboration

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You know the bits in the James Bond films when the athletic spy leaps over impossibly wide chasms, or flies across rooftops on a speeding motorbike, all the while keeping his balance, control and direction?

Well, there are situations when the obstacles are not physical, and the means to overcome them are words, ideas, opinions and collaboration – and yet the stakes are just as high.

This week’s guest post is by CCMC‘s Michalis Simopoulos, who shares with Peace Exchange the latest milestone in media collaboration across the divide, with the launch of the Collaborative Media Initiative report.

Take it away Michalis!

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It’s been a long time in coming, but was worth the wait.

Since the Collaborative Media Initiative (CMI) project started back in June 2010, Peace it Together partner CCMC has been grappling with what ‘media collaboration across the divide’ actually means.

Media is not only a broad concept, but a fluid one. After all, in an increasingly globalised information environment, is it really possible to isolate the media in one locality without considering its interdependence on regional, as well as technological developments?

One thing is for sure – the case of the media in Cyprus is not unique. Media in conflict and post-conflict zones has impacted the lives of ordinary citizens in both negative and positive ways.

On the one hand we may recall the incitement of ethnic hatred across the Rwandan airwaves contributing to horrific genocide in 1994. On the other, we can only marvel at the courage of journalists such as Gordana Igric, Director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), whose organisation has changed not only the media landscape across this volatile region, but is transforming the culture of antagonism and hatred of decades gone by.

In the case of Cyprus, the conflict continues to frame relations between the island’s two main communities, placing additional barriers to effective communication and information exchange between them.

It also has the effect of marginalising the voices of those who speak of Cyprus as one, relegating the importance of issues relevant to all communities on the island.

So bringing together media professionals in this environment is a necessary step to promote a culture of trust and understanding between communities.

A Potential Untapped: Media Working Together Across the Divide in Cyprus, the final report of the CMI launched on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at CCMC, highlights the importance as well as the potential of media collaboration for the future of Cyprus.

The report has identified ways in which different stakeholders – be they at the decision-making level, reporting in the field, or at the grass-roots civil society level – can contribute to a greater convergence of the media across the divide.

But equally, it has emphasised the need for organisations like CCMC to further empower people like Osman Kalfaoglu and Giorgos Kakouris, journalists at Yeniduzen and Politis newspapers respectively, who want to “explore ways to allow journalists to be able to exchange information on a daily basis across the divide” and to “open up new fields of inquiry and to connect the issues that concern Cypriots from a new, island-wide perspective”.

The full report is available for download on the CCMC website, and if you have any suggestions on how CCMC can support people like Giorgos and Osman, drop us an email at info@cypruscommunitymedia.org.

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Thanks Michalis, an important milestone indeed!

Please keep the guest posts coming, and Peace Exchange will be back with more good stuff soon.

Have a great weekend and… see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

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Coming together for One Day on Earth

A little over a hundred years ago, with the beginnings of what we would know today as cinema, few would have dared imagine that they would be able to view moving images on a screen as a kind of staple of daily life, let alone record their own lives and share it with people worldwide.

The advent of TV, mainstream news and the internet changed all that, and now, with the proliferation of cheap digital cameras, free editing tools and the vast outreach of online communities, we can effortlessly create content that, to varying degrees, is available – in real time – to all.

Given this amazing potential for capturing and sharing, a grassroots project like One Day on Earth – in which, on October 10, 2010, over 19,000 volunteer filmmakers from across the globe shot more than 3,000 hours of footage from their daily lives to combine into a feature-length documentary – may have seemed an inevitability.

Yet, in the words of the event’s creator, Kyle Ruddick, this first movie to feature footage from every country in the world on the same day: “it was a really challenging task to do” and represented a huge undertaking.

Given that the film highlights priority UNDP issues, such as women’s empowerment and sustainable development, and that filming took place in over 95 UNDP Country Offices, it is unsurprising that UNDP was one of the project’s partners in October 2010.

More specifically, 120 HD video cameras were donated to UNDP by the One day on Earth team and were sent to colleagues in UNDPs Country Offices all over the world, to film UNDP’s work on 10/10/10.

In the case of Cyprus, and as part of its mandate to be involved in grassroots collaborative media initiatives, Peace it Together together partner CCMC also submitted material for the film, shot at the old Nicosia airport.

The footage featured Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth sharing their views and experiences at the airport, which was abandoned after 1974.

So, when do audiences get to see the fruit of this burst of creative collaboration? The answer is, sooner than you think!

One Day on Earth has its world premier on Earth Day, April 22, 2012 and will be shown in over 160 countries around the world, including Cyprus.

CCMC, in partnership with Peace it Together partner Youth Power, will screen the documentary twice this Sunday, at 8pm at the CCMC Community Space in Nicosia’s buffer zone (with Greek subtitles), and in the CCMC Community Space hosted by the Environmental Society of Lefke (with Turkish subtitles), in parallel with screenings around the world at the same time.

More information on the screenings can be found here.

And for filmmakers who might have an interest in being part of this year’s recordings on December 12, 2012, as well as educators of kids aged four to 18, a wealth of resources as well as a community platform can be found on the One Day on Earth website.

Peace Exchange leaves you with a video of Ruddick’s Ted TV talk on the making of One Day on Earth, a project that harnessed the power of that most abundant resource we all share: our stories.

That’s all for this time. See you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

GUEST POST: AHDR’s Teach and Learn! workshop series for educators

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With spring finally having taken a hold of the island, fresh approaches to peacebuilding are blooming and a whole host of activities gathering pace on the Peace it Together front.

This week, we hear from Maria Siakalli of AHDR, who offers us a guest post on Teach and Learn! – a series of free trainings to expose and equip Cyprus  educators to the latest techniques in history teaching.

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The first in a unique series of teacher training workshops, took place on Friday, April 6, at the ever-busy Home for Cooperation.

The workshop was led by experienced teacher trainers, who provided innovative ways to teach history and multiperspectivity, and introduced the latest AHDR supplementary materials for educators: “Learning the History of Cyprus through Artefacts – Teachers’ and Students’ Books”, “The Ottoman Period in Cyprus”, “Introducing Oral History”, “Thinking Historically about Missing Persons”, “Nicosia is Calling” and “A Look at Our Past”.

The turn-out was encouraging and attendees went away with much to put to use in the classroom.

“The seminar was very interesting … I believe it should take place more often and in a more extensive way,” noted classical studies teacher Sophia Arnaouti, adding: “I’m willing to apply both the book materials used in the seminar, as well as all the ideas provided in my own lessons”.

For his part, Charalambos Solonos, also a classical studies educator, stressed that: “schools should show more interest in this initiative, embrace the book materials and support their implementation in school classes”.

Also appreciating the content of the training, Dilek Latif, a Near East University teacher stated: “I find these training seminars to be very useful, and the book materials offer sufficient guidance on how to implement these in the classroom.

“The books are precisely what teachers in Cyprus need because they provide an alternative approach to teaching history. They are a source of information that enhances history teaching, are student-centered and promote independent thinking. ”

The consultants and the AHDR Board were pleased with the participation of so many educators in the first workshop, and hope the experience will help them use these invaluable resources in their classrooms.

Two subsequent training workshops are set to take place on Friday, April 20 at KTOEOS in the Turkish language, and on Thursday, May 10 at the Home for Cooperation in the Greek language.

While the workshops are primarily aimed at history teachers, all interested educators are welcome to attend.

Certificates of attendance will be provided and every participant supplied with a free teacher’s pack of educational materials.

Lastly, the training is offered free of charge, but potential attendees must register for the workshop of their choice by completing a form which can be downloaded from the AHDR website here.

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Definitely an opportunity that’s not to be missed!

Peace Exchange thanks Maria for sharing the news about the workshops, and encourages its readers to keep the guest posts coming.

After all, your efforts for peace and reconciliation are what this blog is all about – and there’s always room to host your adventures, activities and insight here.

That’s all for this time, but we’ll be back again with more good stuff very soon.

Until then, enjoy the weekend and… see you in the next post!

A Greek version of this post can be found here, and a Turkish version here.

GUEST POST: ENGAGE outlines a new resource for peace

Here at the Peace Exchange, when we’re not offering you a peek into the activities of Peace it Together project partners, we spend a lot of time sifting through different articles, videos and podcasts to bring you something juicy each week.

And of course, the internet can be a vast online treasure trove of information on every topic imaginable. Not to mention, a means of quickly building and managing communities of like-minded individuals.

It is with this vast potential for learning, communicating and sharing in mind, that PE is excited to play host this week to Nicholas Papachrysostomou of PiT partner ENGAGE, who has a provocative idea to bring to you…

Read on!

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What would you say to building a very different kind of library? One where there were no dusty books, fraying card catalogues or late fees ever to deal with?

What would you say, in fact, to the idea of an online peace library for Cyprus?

It so happens our partner team, the Peace It Together network is poised to put together just such an innovative electronic resource.

After all, building peace in Cyprus has been taking place intensely in the last decade, so why not let everyone, both in Cyprus and abroad know about it?

Especially when our library would not only contain written material, but also videos and photos, social media sites and links, personal stories in the form of blog posts, eye-witness accounts and any other form of record possible to create.

Acknowledging the importance of this initiative, Dr. Bülent Kanol, Executive Director of the Management Centre noted: “Having worked on peacebuilding and reconciliation issues in Cyprus for some years, I think there is a great need to record the experiences of those involved over time.

“The new initiative called Peace It Together aims to provide the space and resources for all reconciliation actions, not just to cooperate and coordinate but also to develop a knowledge hub and a Reconciliation Index, which in turn can be used by Cypriots and other regional players in order to create more just and reconciled societies in this region of the world.”

Agreeing with him, his ENGAGE counterpart, Michalis Avraam, Executive Director of NGO Support Centre, stressed that: “A well informed,vibrant, active and empowered civil society safeguards and enriches the functioning of democracy, and in the case of Cyprus, plays a very important role in the peace and reconciliation efforts on the island.

“Hence, the Peace it Together network will be sharing, recording and learning from the  experiences of organizations and civil society activists from both communities, who have been involved in peacebuilding, carrying out and analyzing the results of  research and advocating for peace and reconciliation.”

So, looking ahead: by networking and collaborating with local peace activists on the one hand and peace experts from abroad on the other, we can bring all kinds of input together, so that Cypriots and non-Cypriots alike are able to draw from the island’s peacebuilding experience..

Ultimately, we would like our peace library to become an international hub of knowledge, where ideas can be exchanged and dialogue can be developed.

Do you have a Cyprus peace story or experience to share? The Peace it Together Knowledge and Innovation Officers, Mehmet merdogan@mc-med.eu and Ellada ellada@ngo-sc.org look forward to hearing from you!

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Peace Exchange thanks Nicholas for being our guest blogger this week, and will be bringing you more good stuff very soon.

So, start thinking about what you’d like to see on the ‘shelves’ of your online peace library, and… we’ll see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.