Cyprus Mail

Students from across the divide come together in Nicosia

Students in Nicosia's old city on Wednesday

Pupils from both sides of the divide participated in a study visit in Nicosia on Wednesday that took place across the buffer zone of the walled city, an initiative of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education.

The committee’s new initiative concerns island-wide study visits with the first one – ‘Learning from Nicosia’ – taking place across the buffer zone in Nicosia walled city. In total, 52 pupils – 27 Greek Cypriots and 25 Turkish Cypriots – aged between 14 and 15 – had the opportunity to explore elements of the multicultural character of the city.

The pilot phase will continue until the end of 2018-2019 school year and will include study visits to other cities.

“Study visits are designed in ways that provide students with opportunities to and study cultural heritage and physical environments together all over Cyprus,” an announcement said.

The co-chairs of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education, Dr Meltem Onurkan Samani and Dr Michalinos Zembylas, participated in Wednesday’s activities, along with 10 teachers and a representative of the UN good offices mission in Cyprus.
Zembylas told the Cyprus News Agency that the aim of the study visit was to give the opportunity to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot pupils to get to know the multicultural character of the old town of Nicosia in both sides of the divide.
“We are constantly looking into new ideas that will bring together pupils and teachers, or will create opportunities to promote peace, anti-racism and human rights through education, in consistency to our mandate,” Zembylas said. The aim for this year, he said, is to provide seminars for teachers and parents, to create an educational material that will promote these goals and organise conferences and workshops.

The committee also runs the educational programme ‘Imagine’ that continues to bring together Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot pupils and teachers from all areas of Cyprus, the announcement said.

So far, 3,500 pupils have participated in the Imagine project that takes place under the auspices of the committee and implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and the Home for Cooperation with the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, as well as UNFICYP and the UN Good Offices mission.

The committee was established in 2015 after an agreement between the two leaders.