A total of 12 Turkish Cypriot and nine Greek Cypriot interns have been matched with nine and six companies respectively on opposite sides of the divide as part of the cross-community internship programme.
Through the programme ‘Leading by example’ young Cypriots will gain work experience within the other community, learning professional skills while also mastering the working and cultural environment in the other community.
The project which aims to contribute to the dialogue, trust, cooperation, and reconciliation between civil societies, including the business communities, throughout Cyprus, and increase the involvement of Cyprus` civil society in decision making processes aims at successfully completing 24 cross-community internships.
The programme is expected to conclude in April 2016. The internship salary comes to €500 per month. Addressing the official launch, on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Kemal Baykali said that its cooperation with its Greek Cypriot counterpart, KEVE, was not limited to economic matters.
Both chambers, he said, supported reconciliation and a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible because “we believe that it will help us fulfill our potential in full as Cypriots and will have economic benefits for both communities and Cyprus as whole.”
KEVE’s Lefteris Paschalides said the programme included a range of activities in 2016. He noted that together with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber they would establish a “Park for Cooperation” in the buffer zone across the street from the Ledra Palace, aiming to create a common outdoor space for bazaar – style and cultural bi-communal events. They will also launch the “Nicosia ring tour”, an initiative financing the compiling of a techno-economic feasibility study for a hop – on/ hop off bus service traveling around Nicosia in both communities.
“We are building bridges,” he said, adding that “we hope a solution will be achieved soon and we want to send the message that when the solution comes we will have Greek Cypriots working in Turkish Cypriot companies and vice versa. Besides, we are all Cypriots.”
On her part Michaela Foresti on behalf of the European Commission spoke of the EU support of the Turkish Cypriot community and mainly for development projects and projects promoting reconciliation and civil society. (CNA)