Act Beyond Borders International Conference

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Act Beyond Borders International Conference
Act Beyond Borders International Conference
Project Act Beyond Borders
Place Home For Cooperation (H4C), Nicosia, Cyprus
Date(s) 22-23 November, 2013
Number of participants 70
Total Duration 2 days


Act Beyond Borders International Conference

In an effort to strengthen and promote reconciliation across civil societies, civil society actors from Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories came together for the Conference held at the Home for Cooperation in the UN Buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus. The conference provided a space for participants to learn from each other, share personal experiences and ideas with fellow civil society actors and academics, as well as jointly develop alternative proposals to help bridge the divide between communities. Through a set of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions participants were given the opportunity to explore the successes and challenges of civil society actions working across the divide in Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories and endorse joint, strategic, and coherent action plans for Democratization, Conciliation and Human Rights.


The conference opened with an introduction by Ms. Anna-Maria Drousiotou. This was followed by welcoming speeches by Ms. Eleni Loukaidou, the Deputy Mayor of Nicosia, Ms. Alez Sensoy, Committee Member responsible for Cultural Affairs, and Ms. Kezban Akansoy,Press Officer and Political Reporter on behalf of Mr. Georgios Markopouliotis — Head of European Commission Representation in Cyprus. Successes and challenges of the Act Beyond Borders project were then discussed by Future Worlds Center President, Local Coordinator from the Association for Progressive Education in Honor of Meir Yaari, Project Assistant from the Palestinian Dialogue Center. Next, workshops were held where stakeholders from Israel, Palestinian Territories and Cyprus developed ideas to bridge the gaps in collaboration in Education, Journalism/Media and Business.

On the second day, Dr. Yiannis Laouris moderated a panel discussion. Ms. Meltem Ikinci presented the trends of collaboration between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities and stressed the significance of youth involvement and public engagement. Next, Associate Professor at the University of Cyprus Dr Maria Hadjipavlou,  presented the “UNSC Resolution 1325 and the Cyprus Peace Negotiations” and “The work of the Gender Advisory Team (GAT)” alongside Dr Olga Demetriou, Senior Research Consultant, PRIO Cyprus. The panel discussion finished with input speeches from Mr. Ashraf Alajrami, former Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs and Mr. David Swissa, emphasized the importance of dialogue and argued that “if we are not talking we have a problem”. The discussion closed with a positive statement from Mr. Swissa: “If we continue dreaming, everything is possible.”
Ms. Kerstin Wittig then facilitated an Open Space work shop. The conference culminated with closing remarks by the President of Future Worlds Center and the Coordinators of the project.

The conference successfully challenged stakeholders to broaden their view of the conflict, develop contact, communication and cooperation across the divide, and examine the impact of the past on prospects for the future.



Conference Report