Home for Cooperation inaugurated
A unique centre for inter-communal dialogue and cooperation in the buffer-zone of Nicosia, Cyprus was inaugurated today in the presence of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders. The Home for Cooperation has been co-funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
In the presence of the Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Derviþ Eroðlu, the Home for Cooperation (H4C) was today officially opened. The two leaders expressed their strong support to the Home and their hopes for it to play role in strengthening cooperation and dialogue between the two communities on the island.
Ambassador for the EEA and Norway Grants, Ingrid Schulerud, said in her address that “With the Home for Cooperation, a visible step is being taken in facilitating dialogue between the two communities on the island. We hope and expect that the centre will increase the possibilities for meeting across the divide”
A dream comes true
This is a dream coming true for the Cypriot Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (ADHR) which in 2008 was awarded €750,000 in EEA and Norway Grants funding to buy and renovate a building in the buffer zone. This has now become a unique centre providing facilities for hosting conferences and exhibitions, and housing a library, an archive, offices for various NGOs, and a café.
Dr. Chara Makriyianni, President of AHDR and Dr. Meltem Onurkan Samani, Secretary of AHDR, in their joint speech stated that it was back in 2007 that the AHDR came up with the idea of looking for a meeting place in the Buffer Zone in order to help to give the 'dead zone' a new purpose and role, and transform it from a symbol of separation to a symbol of cooperation.
“The Home”, Dr Makriyianni and Dr Onurkan Samani stressed, “symbolizes both the process and the outcome of cooperation; it is an example of how praxis driven by theory, even in places where barbed wires wound the land, can result in great achievements.”
Bi-communal dialogue and cooperation
The AHDR aims for the H4C to promote of inter-cultural dialogue, cooperation and understanding in Cyprus, and to encourage Cypriots to demonstrate the benefits of cooperation across the existing divide. Located in the Nicosia buffer zone, the centre is a symbol of cooperation, with a welcoming environment for people from both communities.
Other international donors and supporters, including UNFICYP, UNDP, Council of Europe, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States were also present at today’s official inauguration.
Read also the contribution from our guest writer, Yiannis Papadakis from the University of Cyprus, on the situation in Cyprus and how initiatives such as the Home for Cooperation are needed to overcome distrust and help towards creating a dialogue among opposing historical narratives between the two communities in Cyprus.