Since the founding of the Center in September 2012, we have been working on creating an interdisciplinary space for dialogue that can connect students, scholars, activists, artists, governmental officials, private sector representatives, senior and young professionals both locally and internationally.
The Center’s inaugural conference entitled “Intercultural Dialogue and Cultural Diplomacy in Practice”explored the political nature of culture and considered to what extent culturally based politics in particular can be beneficial in bringing together divided communities
“The 1st Diversity Arts Festival” celebrated the island’s diversity of arts and cultures. The Festival program consisted of academic presentations, an art exhibition, and musical performances by artists living on the island.
Our conference on “The Role of Education in a Multicultural Cyprus” addressed how education can better attend to current problems of coexistence in Cyprus. It was a great honor for us that this event was placed under the patronage of Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
The Center then supported an initiative by the University of Nicosia’s UNESCO Chair: “Multicultural Cyprus: The Armenian Community.” This is the first of a series of events that will celebrate the historical communities of the island.
Organized in collaboration with The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia, the Cyprus Association of Family Planning, European Public Space, Mediazone, and Music TV, the Cypriot initiative for the global “One Billion Rising” campaign sought to raise awareness, break the silence, and rise against injustice toward women.
The Center also co-organized a presentation of the results and a discussion of the report “Violence against women in the context of political transformations and economic crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean region; trends and recommendations toward equality and justice” published by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.
Recently, the Center held its second conference on the subject of cultural diplomacy, entitled “Cultural Diplomacy and Narratives of Conflict in the Middle East.” The event focused on the force of narratives to assist in reconciliation and peace.
“The Booth Project: Hear Me OUT” collected and preserved narratives of people’s sexually diverse identities living in Cyprus. This information will be used to create instructional materials that can address homophobia within and outside school settings.
“Crete and Cyprus at the Crossroads of Civilisations” explored commonalities in Cretan and Cypriot histories and cultures.
The “2nd Diversity Arts Festival” consisted of a 5-day program with exhibitions from students and foreign artists living in Cyprus, a literary evening, a concert, as well as music, dance, photography and creative writing workshops. The festival was held at Famagusta Gate, a symbolic crosspoint of diverse communities.
I look forward to seeing the Center evolve further and invite other members of the academic community to join me in contributing to this endeavor.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, suggestions, or ideas for collaboration at [email protected].
Marilena Zackheos, Ph.D.
Director, The Cyprus Center for Intercultural Studies