Bicommunal Technical Committee to organise its first event
The bicommunal Technical Committee on Education announced on Sunday that it is to organise, on June 1, its first event, a pilot programme that will bring together 50 Greek Cypriot and 50 Turkish Cypriot students, as well as educators from both communities.
The Committee’s Greek Cypriot President, Michalinos Zembylas, stated that the event is to take place at the Home of Cooperation, in the UN- controlled buffer zone, and that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, as well as foreign diplomats, will be invited to attend.
Zembylas outlined that students will have the opportunity to engage in educational and recreational activities. He added that the event will be organised in cooperation with the UN Secretary-General`s Good Offices Mission in Cyprus and volunteers from both communities.
“We will select the children and the teachers who will participate in this particular event,” Zembylas noted, adding that many individuals have expressed their interest to attend the event, and that students will do so with their parents` consent.
Zembylas added that the Committee’s biggest achievement thus far has been the establishment of a mechanism on the basis of which contacts between educators, students and parents from both communities take place.
“During the following days we will present [this mechanism] to the educational organisations and to the parents’ associations,” remarked Zembylas.
He recalled that according to the Committee`s mandate, as determined by the two leaders, a mechanism must be set up to promote confidence among the schools of the two sides and contacts and cooperation among educators, students and parents.
“Our aim is to facilitate contacts, to eradicate prejudice and promote mutual trust. This will take place step-by-step until we reach a stage where exchanges of visits will take place,” said Zembylas.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops illegally invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks for one year, since May 15, 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.