‘Imagine’ is an Educational Program on Anti-racism Education/ Education for a Culture of Peace launched in October 2017, after many months of efforts and with the agreement of the leaders of the two communities on the island.
As per 2020, 5091 students, accompanied by 582 teachers were trained in the Imagine Project. Another 287 teachers were trained in Peace Education both mono-communally and bi-communally.
The program aims to increase contact between the two communities in Cyprus and promotes peace, understanding and anti-racism on the island in the context of a holistic understanding of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence inspired by UN documents, resolutions and plans of action. Initially, our trainers visit classes interested in participating in the bi-communal activities and create safe spaces for discussion about stereotypes, discrimination and racism as components of the prevailing culture of violence. An important aspect of this activity is also to prepare students for contact with fellow students from the other community.
At a second stage, classes from the two communities are paired and asked to choose between two options of activities at the Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone: 1. “Visit at the Home for Cooperation and Anti-racist Workshop”, where children in mixed groups engage in experiential activities related to anti-racism under the umbrella of Education for a Culture of Peace; or 2. Sports activities with NGO Peace Players Cyprus, where children develop skills for teamwork, tolerance and trust through sports activities.
Interested groups of students have the option to further their participation and build on their established contact by taking part in sustainability actions, educational walks in Nicosia or study visits across the island. The sustainability workshops which are offered to primary, lower secondary and upper secondary educational levels in the form of both monocommunal and bicommunal workshops, include a diverse range of activities such as cooking, crafts, stencil-making, drama and photography.
A preparatory mono-communal workshop is held for groups interested in taking part in educational walks of Nicosia and/or study visits. The Nicosia walks provide an interactive option for students, who have previously met, to explore and gain knowledge about the diversity of the walled city in addition to historical, social and cultural aspects of particular sites/monuments by taking part in an interactive tour across the divide. Similar to the Nicosia walks, the study visits offer an option to visit and learn about various significant locations across the divide.
In addition to activities with students, the Imagine project also offers teacher trainings for teachers of primary, lower secondary and upper secondary educational levels. The trainings focus on a Culture of Peace and Non-violence providing an opportunity for teachers to expand their knowledge on peace education and be introduced to related concepts. Teachers who participated in the monocommunal teacher trainings are then able to attend the bicommunal teacher trainings both to learn how to transfer their skills in their classrooms and to interact with their colleagues working in the other community.
Within the scope of Imagine, the first Head Teachers Conference was held in 2019. The bicommunal conference, which the leaders of both communities also attended, provided head teachers with a platform to interact with other school leaders, exchange opinions and ideas about practices and further enhance skills and knowledge on how to develop democratic cultures.
The ‘Imagine’ Project is implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and the Home for Cooperation under the auspices of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education and is funded by the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany. The project is also supported by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus ivil Affairslamaz. da yayincinin yazili izni olmaksizin hicbir Civil Affairs (UNFICYP).