Causeway & Engi joint project:
What might Cyprus gain from the experience of the Northern Ireland peace process?
Yeshim Harris (Co-Founder of Engi) and The Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP (Chairman of Causeway Institute), in association with Dr Nicos Peristianis (President of the Council, University of Nicosia) set up a series of seminars in October 2011, to bring the positive experience of the Northern Ireland peace process to Cyprus.
Causeway and Engi are now working on a further project of bridge-building between the two communities at several levels within the island – the political, civil society and grassroots.
2011 Seminars (Phase 1)
12 October 2011 (Closed seminar for Political Parties)
13 October 2011 (Open seminars in the south and the north)
These events aimed to help the political parties and civil society on both sides of the island at this crucial stage in their current settlement negotiations.
A one-day, closed seminar was held at the Home for Cooperation attended by the political parties of both sides of the island. Senior negotiators from the DUP (The Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP) and Sinn Fein (Mitchel McLaughlin) spoke frankly about their personal experiences of the Northern Ireland peace process and then took questions from the floor.
The Northern Ireland team, this time comprising representatives from the DUP (The Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP) and the SDLP (Denis Haughey) held open seminars on each side of the island; the University of Nicosia in the south and the Nicosia Municipality in the north. The participants included students, academics, civil society representatives and IGOs.
The University of Nicosia seminar was recorded for broadcast on CYBC. Several TV channels reported the event at the Nicosia Municipality (BRT, ADA TV, Sim TV). The speakers subsequently joined a live 50 minute news programme on Sim TV, which was repeated over several days, such was the interest in the various events.
The presentations on both days were very well received by the audience and, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Those attending the seminars spoke highly of the power of hearing about the Northern Ireland peace process directly from members of the actual negotiation teams. The speakers' openness about the experience of moving towards an understanding of the other parties' positions prompted a lively and enthusiastic discussion.
The quality of the briefing of speakers, the sensitivity they showed to all parties and the relevance of the subjects discussed to the current negotiations were also highly praised. A number of participants expressed the desire for further seminars in the near future, with a focus on more specific topics.
2012 Seminars (Phase 2)
During the Causeway-Engi visit in August 2011 a small group of potential ‘champions’ was established. Thanks to the success of the seminars in October 21011, this group has now grown considerably. Causeway and Engi are now working on a further project of bridge-building between the two communities at several levels within the island – the political, civil society and grassroots.