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