In Cyprus during the past two decades, the United Nations, the Cyprus Fulbright Commission, the American Embassy, other diplomatic entities, and various external NGOs have promoted citizen contact and co-operation across the buffer zone. These efforts have supported the work of local groups, helping to build a small but growing coalition of citizens trying to build ties across the dividing line. Simultaneously, officials in Greece and Turkey have encouraged exchanges between citizens and business groups.
In order to use these resources most effectively, all those involved in these activities need more assistance in understanding the intercultural dynamics that exist among the various parties and how these forces can affect the efforts of groups trying to work together.
This project aimed to develop a guide to intercultural communication for those involved in a broad range of exchange activities in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in order to promote more effective communication and more productive working relationships across community and national lines.
The project focused on developing guidelines for individuals, business, community groups, NGOs, diplomats and others who engage in, promote or help facilitate bi-communal contacts in Cyprus or bi-national contacts between Greece and Turkey.
A series of one-day preparatory seminars, one each in Greece, Turkey and the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, was held for 8-10 participants. In these seminars, participants explored the perceptions they hold of the other parties in the conflict and the obstacles they perceive in engaging in cooperative projects with the other community.
A four-day seminar was then organised in Belgium, to which six people from each of the four preparatory seminars were invited. This seminar was designed to allow participants to explore the factors that constrain effective co-operation among the parties to the conflict in Cyprus.
The book was printed and distributed in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey to NGOs, groups, organisations and individuals with experience and/or potential involvement in bi-communal and bi-national activities.