When Youth Programs Work, Peace Happens!


There was an article in the Washington Post newspaper about the New Story Leadership Program that brings young men and women together from Israel and Palestine to the US with the hope that they will build lasting friendships. Although the article began with photos of a pair who seem to get along greatly, the main message of the article was that, in spite of this friendship, the two communities were still at war.

Yes, it is correct that war still exists, but why don’t we acknowledge another program where the same method is working? We at HasNa, have been running the Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) for 5 years and the mood of the Island has improved as evidenced by the growing cooperation and interaction among the youth in Cyprus. CFP was modeled after the Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland (CFPNI) and today, the communities are addressing needs for cooperation.

What propels us to seek peace is finding hope that arises from successful efforts of ordinary people. Let us look with determination and when we find any grain of success, let us share it with everyone, just as much as we share our failures. In the comments, let us know other examples where this method of building peace is working?

Cyprus Friendship Program 2011

HasNa’s Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) is in its 3rd year!

CFP focuses on fostering trust and understanding through friendships between Turkish Cypriot teens and Greek Cypriot teens. CFP prepares these future leaders to find bi-communal solutions for living harmoniously together in Cyprus.

An impressive turnout--over 200 parents and teens attend a CFP briefing in Cyprus.

This year the program is expanding tremendously. The group of 60 young, future leaders from Cyprus will live in Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, as well as Washington, DC and Northern Virginia for a month of leadership training, team building, and community service.  This is a big step forward since CFP began in 2009 with 20 teens living in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia.

The enthusiasm for the Cyprus Friendship Program continues to grow as well, as both teens and host families prepare for the arrival in the U.S.

HasNa would like to recognize the extraordinary efforts of the volunteers that made CFP 2011 possible:

Warren Muir, Executive Director and Chair


Cheron Calder, Portland, OR Coordinator

Cassie Cleverly, New Hampshire Coordinator

Tom McCarthy, Maryland Coordinator

Mike Messinger, Northern Virginia Coordinator

Liz Swenson, Connecticut Coordinator

Priyanka Komala, Webmaster

Kim Bell, Transportation Coordinator

Don Guziewicz, Transportation Coordinator


Nicos Anastasiou

Sarper Ince

Sotia Adamidou

Cise Sakalli

Simge Kahvecioglu

Theano Kalavana

Meral Akinci

By Ciara Masterson

CFP Alumni featured in The Elders’ Documentary

Missing persons in Cyprus has been a painful subject for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots for many years. During the inter-communal conflict in the 1960s, many were killed whose remains were never recovered. As of 2006, “Some 1,500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots are officially registered as missing on Cyprus.”*

CFP alumni, Idil, Tayfun, Thalia, and Michael, with Desmond Tutu, Lakhdar Brahimi, and Jimmy Carter

The Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) alumni are continuing to build on their experience with CFP to spread the message of building trust and understanding through interaction.

On Tuesday, February 8th, the official launching of The Elders** documentary, Cyprus: Digging the Past in Search of the Future was held at Chateau Status in Nicosia, Cyprus. The documentary features four of our CFP alumni, Idil, Tayfun, Thalia, and Michael, as they accompany three of the Elders, Desmond Tutu, Lakhdar Brahimi, and Jimmy Carter, on a journey to learn about the search for the remains of missing persons in Cyprus.

The documentary will air on television in Cyprus later this year.  We hope that this film will help Cypriots to realize their shared experiences and to open a dialogue that will foster mutual understanding. We are very proud to see CFP alumni making a positive impact on the future of the island.

Michael, one of the CFP alumni featured in the film, is blogging on The Elders website.  To read his article, Crossing borders with friendship, click here. To view a trailer for Cyprus: Digging the Past in Search of the Future on The Elders website, click here.

By Ciara Masterson


**The Elders are a group of eminent global leaders working to support peace building, to help address major causes of human suffering, and to promote the shared interests of humanity

CFP aboard the Peace Boat

HasNa’s Cyprus Friendship Program is not merely a month long program in the U.S. The goal of CFP is to instill a lifelong commitment of promoting peace in the CFP teenagers and encourage them to participate in activities after they return to Cyprus.

On November 21, 2010, CFP teens met with a group of students aboard the Peace Boat. Peace Boat is a Japan-based, international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development, and respect for the environment. Peace Boat carries out its main activities aboard a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages.

8 CFP teens met with about 25 passengers from the Peace Boat in the city of Nicosia, Cyprus. The CFP teens gave joint speeches to explain their experience with CFP and how it had impacted their lives and the lives of their families. George and Halil, CFP 2010 teens, expressed that their experience in the program had ultimately given them, “…a different outlook on life and the importance of peace.”

The Peace Boat friends had many questions about whether others share the CFP teens’ opinions, what difficulties they face as young peace builders, and what hopes they have for a solution to problems in Cyprus. Natasa and Buse, also CFP 2010 teens, emphasized: “We got so used to each other that we forgot who was Greek Cypriot and who was Turkish Cypriot. That didn’t matter. The most important thing was that we were and still are friends…” Indeed, friendship has great potential to build mutual respect and erase distinctions that people feel they have with others. The simplicity of this message is powerful. CFP Coordinator, Nicos Anastasiou said that, “the strength of the applause in the end clearly indicated how valuable the experience was for our guests”.

Later, the teens and their new friends headed toward the port in Limassol, Cyprus for dinner aboard the Boat. A total of 40 members of the CFP family were invited to the Boat for the evening event, including teens, parents, and coordinators from the 2009 and 2010 groups.

The CFP teens continue to impress, showing a true commitment to the values of the program and the greater peace movement.

To read more about HasNa’s Cyprus Friendship Program click here

By Ciara Masterson

The Multiplier Effect

The Cyprus Friendship Program is uniquely designed to spread the message of peace and understanding through the relationships between the participants and their families, friends, and acquaintances.

This “multiplier effect” generates a growing belief that peace and understanding can be achieved in Cyprus.

Throughout the Cyprus Friendship Program, teens from northern and southern Cyprus meet regularly to dispel the stereotypes and mistrust that afflict the two communities. The program begins in Cyprus, where the teens meet several times before a month long stay with American families in the U.S. The teens return to Cyprus determined to spread the message that Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriots can live peacefully together.

One of the CFP coordinators in Cyprus estimates that in addition to the 38 teens from the 2009 and 2010 programs, 565 family members and friends (15 per teen) have been touched by the message of CFP. The teens have made presentations in schools and youth clubs, extending CFP’s reach to perhaps another 1500 people. Moreover, the teens have been interviewed on radio and television about their CFP experiences, reaching countless other people.

The exact impact may not be measurable, but the CFP Multiplier Effect is truly significant.

by Ciara Masterson

Cyprus Friendship Program 2010

HasNa’s Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) is underway again!  For a 2nd year, HasNa has brought a group of young, future leaders to the United States for a month of leadership training, team building and community service. CFP focuses on fostering trust and understanding through friendships between Turkish Cypriot teens and Greek Cypriot teens to prepare these future leaders to find bi-communal solutions for living harmoniously in Cyprus.

The teens’ journey to the U.S. began in Cyprus several months ago when these passionate and motivated young people were selected to participate in the Cyprus Friendship Program. In the weeks before their departure to the States, the teens participated in many activities and workshops to build their relationships with one another and to bring together their friends and families as well. The teens were also placed in pairs, one teenager from each community, to strengthen their individual friendships.

The 9 pairs selected for the 4 week stay in the U.S. (7 pairs in the D.C. area and 2 in New Hampshire) will live with American host families, they will sleep in the same room, eat at the same table, and build their friendships in a politically neutral environment.  The aim of the residential is to promote understanding through interaction between the pairs so that they can form a bond between them that will last beyond the program dates.

Tomorrow the teens will have their FIRST team building activity at The Mason Center for Team and Organizational Learninghttp://www.edgeatmason.com/

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by Ciara Masterson