"What to do with my daughter’s well-meaning energy when it flies in the face of those brutal facts on the ground?
Is it possible to nurture such drive when all circumstances are doing their best to grind it down to nothing?
Yes, it is. I’m now a convert."
These words were spoken by Rachael Gillett , the mother of a Greek-Cypriot teenager participating in the Cyprus Friendship Program's 2012 bicommunal activities. On September 30, Cyprus Mail, one of the leading English-language newspapers on the island, published "Fighting the dark side," featuring the voices of this mother and several teenage participants in this year's program.
The article highlights the struggle facing many Cypriots from both communities – both young and old – relating to joint efforts to improve their island together despite the lethargy and skepticism created by the status-quo. The past holds a destructive power over many who hope to create better relationships on the island, and it is up to the next generation of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to break this pattern for the future of both communities.
Each year, the Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) brings together Greek and Turkish Cypriot teenagers to promote peaceful interaction and understanding between the two groups. CFP is a year-long peace-building and leadership training program in Cyprus, with a four-week cultural exchange component in the United States in the summer. The program is modelled on a similar project that successfully brought more than 2,000 Protestant and Catholic teens in Northern Ireland together throughout its 21 year existence.
CFP started in 2009 as an initiative of HasNa Inc. in cooperation with a Cypriot team of coordinators. HasNa continues to support CFP and its mission.