Seeds of Peace
Since it's very first days peace-cyprus.org has followed closely all the activities and events organised by the various existing bi-communal youth groups and has hosted special web projects related to them. These pages are dedicated to those very active young Greek and Turkish Cypriots peace-makers. In these pages you will find information about the Youth Encounters for Peace (YEP) groups, the Seeds of Peace groups and other youth groups and initiatives. You will also find pages dedicated to some of the events these youth groups have organised and information about their projects and how to contact them. Peace-cyprus.org is ready to help any bi-communal youth group to build it's own web project.
Seeds of Peace Camp 26-16 July
A group of young Greek and Turkish Cypriots have met in a camp atmosphere this summer. From the 26th of july till the 16th of august, for three weeks, they had the chance to get to know and even become friends with their enemies. A total of 30 young and energetic Turkish and Greek Cypriots travelled miles away from their homes just to meet their counterparts from the other side.
The place where they met is a camp called Seeds Of Peace. The camp started in 1993 with the aim of bringing the future leaders of conflict countries together to meet in a peaceful envoriment, without the influence of the society they live in, to see their enemies with their own eyes. The camp first started with bringing youth from the Middle East, from the Israeli-Paestinian conflict. Since 93, youth from all over the Middle East, and since 98 youth from Cyprus, have been attending the camp in Maine, USA. This year, for the 3rd time, Cypriot youth met, got to know each other and the Cyprus Problem better with the well organized and well disiplined camp programme the seeds, (meaning campers) did all kind of activities, from volleyball to baseball, to swimming,art and music; had great fun and learnt to respect what others had to say even if what they said was completely against their beliefs.
After the camp, when everyone returns back home,it doesn't mean that the connection is cut! For the Cypriot seeds, after returning from camp, they keep meeting and emailing each other. The friendships that were built at camp continues and grows stronger in Cyprus, the place where they should have met in the first place! And these friendships spread, to their families and friends; and with other youth groups in Cyprus they decided to create the opportunity for those who didn't have the chance to go to camp to meet teens from the other community. This grew from an idea to a project and on the 26th of March, a great big youth festival was organized by the youth of Cyprus for the youth of Cyprus, the organizers other then Seeds Of Peace (SOP) were Youth Encounters For Peace (YEP), Youth Promoting Peace (Y2P) and Cyprus Youth For Peace (CYP). On this very day, with the folk dancing groups performing the Cypriot traditional dancing and the bi-communal youth bands playing modern music, youth had a nice day together. Some got to meet a person from the other community for the first time, and new friendships were built.
The future of Cyprus, the younger generation, especially the four bi-communal youth groups named above will continue to organize festivals similar to the one on the 26th, because of the belief that to have real peace both halves have to trust each other.
author: Tanyel Cemal
On the 27th of August seeds 2000 campers reunited for the first time on Cypriot soil in Pyla together with campers from other bi-communal youth groups.
Among other activities the bi-communal youth groups organised the Bi-communal Youth Festival and the Villagers Meeting both at Pergamos Park. Find more about these events, see photographs and a watch a short video at: