Cyprus' EU Council presidency to target radicalisation
Cyprus will follow up on the implementation of the “Action Plan on fighting violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism” as chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from November 2016 to May 2017, Minister of Education Costas Kadis said in his keynote speech at the Council of Europe Ministerial Conference in Brussels.
Kadis addressed his counterparts on Monday regarding anti-radicalisation strategies through education and stressed that “we intend to follow up on the discussions initiated here,” during the Cyprus presidency and discuss examples of how different countries proceeded with the pilot implementation of the Framework of the Competence Required for Participation in Democratic Culture and share relevant experiences and good practices.
He stated that during the Cyprus Chairmanship, government representatives from both sides of the Mediterranean will get together to discuss the issue and form strategic alliances can be developed at national, regional and international level towards promoting education as an inhibitor of violent extremism and radicalisation and as an agent of peace.
“I believe that today the effort to countering extremism should be of special concern for the countries lying at the shores of the Mediterranean. The rich history of our region has endowed us with the benefit of experiencing glorious civilisations since the ancient times,” the Minister said, while acknowledging that, “we have had the sad privilege to witness, at several occasions, people fleeing from conflict areas or, even worst, perishing in the effort to move to safer places. Common problems require common actions,” he said.
He had the chance to explain that the political framework provided by the Council of Europe in the case of Cyprus, “created the space for active non-governmental organisations such as the Cypriot based inter-communal nongovernmental “Association for Historical Dialogue & Research”, developing a range of activities over the last 12 years, such as teacher training workshops and the creation of supplementary teaching material, which promote critical thinking and active citizenship.
The Association, said the Minister, “has been the driving force behind the creation of the Home for Cooperation, a multi-functional educational and cultural centre located in the buffer zone of the last remaining divided capital of Europe, Nicosia, offering a space for people coming from all over our island and beyond, to engage in productive dialog and initiate cooperation projects.
“These initiatives are living examples of how cooperation of people and communities from various religious, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds can thrive, even in areas, which have suffered from conflict.”
Kadis began his speech with a presentation of the relevant curricula of the Cypriot education system and the relevance of the “Framework of the Competences Required for Participation in Democratic Culture”, which has been discussed in the Ministerial Conference.