Stop press! The Peace Exchange wanted to grab your attention bright and early this week, to let you know about something very important.
Civil society representatives from Cyprus are set to address the House of Commons in London tomorrow,Tuesday May 15, and will also be speaking at an open event at the London School of Economics the following day.
Youth Power’s Katerina Antoniou, who is part of the team that travelled to the UK capital, brings you the details…
Youth Power has put some pretty exciting events in the pipeline, and they ‘ve got me anticipating for an eventful summer. Activities like entrepreneurial trainings, social innovation workshops and trips for regional socialising provide a good basis for skills development, exchange of ideas and new partners for social action.
I must admit though, what’s got me most excited is the chance, on behalf of Youth Power, to present on the role of civil society in Cyprus, along with six other civil society activists on Tuesday, May 15.
The seven-member advocacy team will have the chance to present its work and suggestions at the UK Parliament and the London School of Economics, to British politicians, the local Cypriot diaspora, academics, activists and the wider public.
The key message being conveyed is that it’s time for civil society to directly get involved in the Cyprus peace process, putting an end to a decades-long stagnation.
This will be achieved by making the peace process more transparent, more inclusive and representative of public opinion, and by creating direct links between the process and politically under-represented groups, such as youth.
Opportunities for promoting fresh ideas and airing the voice of new generations are unfortunately minimal within the traditional political scene on the island, leading young people toward political pessimism and apathy.
Yet the peace process is in vital need of new voices and fresh ideas, as the island’s youth today appears more ripe to negotiate and reunite than our political leaders ever did.
The voice of youth has been traditionally marginalised with regards to the local political discourse; perhaps youngsters are considered less experienced, often with unrealistic expectations, and would be better off reinforcing existing momentums.
Yet young people offer a lot more than that: they offer ideas and provoke immediate action; they don’t mind challenging conventional norms nor being cynical towards traditional practices.
In other words, young people are more free to express opinions and provide solutions away from any ideological, political and/or societal restrictions.
Today, many young Cypriots choose to remain politically aware and socially active. Yet youth activism goes beyond reading a book, engaging in a political conversation, criticising leaders or organising social events.
The island’s youth has the potential to bring a new vibe to a malfunctioning peace process, and requests for its voice to be heard and heeded.
I do hope the London presentations will be one of many, where the message of inclusion can be successfully conveyed to provoke thought, generate reaction and achieve change.
Thanks so much Katerina. Stay tuned for more reports and photos coming from other members of the London team later this week.
And meanwhile, won’t you share this post on Facebook and Twitter?
That’s all for right now… see you very, very soon!