Cultural Diplomacy and Narratives of Conflict in the Middle East

Friday 9 May, 2014 at 5:00-7:15pm

UNESCO Amphitheater at the University of Nicosia

“Cultural Diplomacy and Narratives of Conflict in the Middle East” was the second conference on the subject of cultural diplomacy organized by the University of Nicosia’s Cyprus Center for Intercultural Studies. The conference looked at cultural diplomacy as a key supplemental or alternative tool for peace processes in the Middle East. It focused specifically on the function and use of narratives—in the form of metanarratives (shared communal narratives), oral histories, and personal stories—to bring closer together divided peoples and break down stereotypes of the Other.

The overall aim of the conference was to consider to what extent culturally based politics, and in particular the force of narratives, can assist in reconciliation and peace in the Middle East and can also be applied to other situations like Cyprus.

The conference was co-organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy. It was co-sponsored by the UNESCO Chair on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue for a Culture of Peace and the Diplomatic Academy—University of Nicosia. It was also supported by the Anna Lindh Foundation under the Common Action entitled “Intercultural Dialogue in Crisis: Listening to NGOs.”

Download the program HERE.

Click here to access the videos of the conference.

Click here to access the photos of the conference.


Mark C. Donfried

After completing his undergraduate studies in European History and French at Columbia University, Mark Donfried then pursued graduate research at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Institut des Études Politiques where he wrote his thesis on “la diplomatie du jazz.” In 2001 he founded the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD, a non-partisan, independent, international, and non-profit and non-governmental organization in New York City and then in 2002, he moved the International Headquarters of ICD to Berlin, Germany. Over the past decade the ICD has grown to become one of Europe’s leading cultural exchange organizations with programs extending to every continent of the world. Donfried is author of numerous articles as well as the recent book “Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy” (co-edited with Prof. Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht, Berghahn Books, Nov 2010).

Ellada Evangelou

Ellada Evangelou is a recent PhD graduate from at the Cyprus University of Technology, her dissertation is entitled “Greek-Cypriot Historical Plays and Contemporary Identity and Culture”. She has an MFA degree in Dramaturgy from State University of New York [SUNY] at Stony Brook, NY (USA) and a BA degree in English Language, Literature and Linguistics from the University of Cyprus. She has collaborated with theatre and educational organizations in Cyprus and abroad. Her own theatre practice follows the philosophy of “theatre for social change” and has recently become interested in Sited work. She has extensive experience in teaching, directing and organisation of seminars and workshops, as well as in archival work.

Hana Kirreh

Hana Kirreh is married with two boys. She taught school and college level for both sexes for 18 years in different schools and colleges. She also worked as a program coordinator for different NGOS. She is a Palestinian women and peace activist. She is also a volunteer and a board member at Wi ’am Conflict Resolution Center. She acts as a trainer, supervisor and educator in women issues. She has held the post of the Middle East Representative for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation women peacemaker Program- Holland for four years. She has participated in many international and local conferences and consultations about gender, peace, Human Rights and interfaith with peace institutions, NGOs and religious committees. She is interested in speaking to international groups about Christians’ status in Palestine and the impact of the separation wall on Palestinian women.

Nur Köprülü

Nur Köprülü is Assistant Professor at the Near East University, in the Department of International Relations. She received her Master and PhD degrees on International Relations at the Middle East Technical University/ Ankara. Her research interests include: processes of democratization, politics of identity and foreign policy in the Middle East.

Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis

Dr. Erato Kozakou−Marcoullis served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus from August 2011 until February 2013 and from July 2007 to February 2008. She also served as Minister of Communications and Works from March 2010 to  August 2011. From May 2008 to March 2010, Dr. Marcoullis was Head of the Working Group on Property, in the UN−sponsored negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. During 2003−2007, Dr. Marcoullis served as Director of the Cyprus Question and the EU−Turkey Affairs Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also accredited as Ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan with residence in Nicosia, from 2005 to 2007. From 1998-2003 she served as Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States of America, with concurrent accreditation as High Commissioner to Canada, Guyana, and Jamaica and as Ambassador to Brazil. She was also accredited to the World Bank, the IMF, ICAO and the Organization of American States. From 1996 to 1998 Dr. Marcoullis served as Ambassador to Sweden with concurrent accreditation to Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis holds degrees in Law and Public Law/Political Science from the University of Athens, as well as a Licentiate (Ph.D.) of Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki. She is married to Dr. George Marcoullis, Oncologist/Haematologist, and Professor of Medicine. They have a son, Panos Marcoullis, MSIST, MSPM.

Tsvia Walden

Tsvia Walden is a psycholinguist, Senior Lecturer and Head of Youth Studies at Ben-Gourion University in the Negev. She is Vice President at Bait Ham Association for Youth at Risk; Signatory – The Geneva Initiative.

Emilios Solomou (Moderator)

Dr. Emilios Solomou is the Executive Vice President for Administration of the University of Nicosia and a faculty member teaching in the Departments of Education and European Studies and International Relations. He started his career at the English School Nicosia where he served as a History Teacher, Head of the History Department, Senior Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher and Acting Head Teacher. Since 2000 he has been teaching Cyprus History on the M.A. in International Relations Programme, and Cyprus History as well as History Teaching Methodology on the B.A. in the Primary Education programme at the University of Nicosia. He has participated in many seminars and conferences on the Theory, Methodology and Teaching of History. He has also contributed to a number of European projects with emphasis on ethnicity and co-operation. Emilios Solomou is the President of the Committee of Cultural Events of the Unesco Chair, a Fellow of the Historical Association of Great Britain and a member of the Historical Association of the United States. In addition he is a member of the Board of the Cyprus Historical Association, the Board of the Mass Media Institute (IMME) as he has been an active member of many Professional Associations and Organisations in Cyprus, the U.K and the USA.