What is Women's Civic Initiative for Peace?

Women's Civic Initiative for Peace has been formed by the Patriotic Women's Union and Women's Research Centre in 1999, with the aim of defending and contributing towards peace in Cyprus and in the world. Women's Research Centre and Patriotic Women's Union have been the vanguard in this area for the past twenty years. Women's Research Centre is the National Contact for Cyprus for Women's International Studies Europe (WISE) and part of the Women Peacemakers Program of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). It's also part of the Harvard University's Women Waging Peace Global Network. The initiative is informal and open to all women.

Among the objectives of the Women's Civic Initiative for Peace are ensuring that women, forming half the population in the Turkish Cypriot community take an active part in the peace process, creating a culture of peace on our island and making sure that women's basic human needs are satisfied in the solution of the Cyprus conflict. We beleive that Turkish and Greek Cypriot women have the right to raise their children in an atmosphere of peace in Cyprus, develop themselves and play an effective role in the peace process. We aim to take an active role in the most natural right of women, that is peace, raise awareness, encourage women and advocate for it. We aim to create a network among women from Cyprus, Turkey and Greece.

What are our aims in Cyprus?

To help create a culture of peace in Cyprus. To empower women about gender roles and peace and create awareness that women, with this awareness can make a positive effect on the peace process, if they come to decision-making bodies . To encourage women for putting forward ideas and proposals about the resolution of the Cyprus conflict and helping them to take an active part in the process. To help build espect and confidence among Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot women by strengthening relationships, links and networks. To work towards the creation of a shared vision among the women of Turkey, Greece and Cyprus with the aim of working towards peaceful resolution of conflicts among Turkish, Greek, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot people. For this reason creating networks in our region.

What is our vision for Cyprus?

We beleive that basic human needs of both communities must be satisfied in the resolution of the Cyprus conflict. The two communities must be encouraged to respect each other's identities and our common traits, as well as our cultural differences must be seen as a richness of our island which has a history of 9,000 years.

Instead of ethnic enmity, a poly-ethnic, multi-cultural, peaceful Cyprus must be created and only with the help of those Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot women who work for peace, violence and armed conflict can be prevented, if they come to the decision making bodies.

We, as women and mothers who give life to the world, want to live in a demilitarised island where there will be no fear of war or uncertainty of the future. We want to raise our children on our island, not having to send them as emigrants to other countries. We want to live in a democratic island, with a strong civil society, without people being persecuted or punished due to what they beleive in.

Our activities:

Our activities include seminars, training workshops, conferences...

  • Ann-Sofi Jakobsson from Uppsala University have given training to women about the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition, how women in Northern Ireland have participated in the peace process
  • We invited a Greek Cypriot academician, Yiouli Taki to speak to a Turkish Cypriot audience about the Cyprus conflict: `Can both sides be right?`
  • Brendan O'Malley, the co-author of the `Cyprus Conspiracy` published last year was a guest speaker to speak about his book and the conspiracies against the island
  • We brought together women from 5 trade unions in order help them create a vision about the conflict and membership to the EU
  • We initiated a series of workshops in order to look at obstacles to bi-communal meetings and ways of overcoming these obstacles

    Our next meeting will be in September and Madeleine Gilchrist from Voice of Women from Canada will be our guest speaker.

    We are looking for counterparts in our region:

    We are looking for counterparts with similar aims among the Greek Cypriot women, as well as in our region. We are looking for ways and trying to form a network among women from Cyprus, Turkey and Greece.

    Contact Information:

    Patriotic Women's Union
    Oya Talat - President
    P.K. 289, Girne-Kyrenia, Cyprus.
    Tel: 90-392- 81-53680
    Fax: 90-392- 81-57723
    e-mail: oya@defne.net

    Women's Research Centre
    Sevgul Uludag - Founder
    19, Necmi Avkýran Street,
    Lefkosa-Nicosia, Cyprus.
    Tel: 90-392- 22-75407
    Fax: 90-392 22-83823
    e-mail: sevgululudag@hotmail.com

    "As women creating life on earth, we are developing a culture of peace. In the culture of peace promoted by women, resolution of conflicts is not done by the use of violence. There are no double standards in the peace culture...A culture of peace is a celebration of diversities. In a culture of peace there is no domination, exploitation or discrimination in human relationships. The culture of peace is based on basic human needs and power is shared equally between men and women. In a culture of peace there is respect for human rights and freedoms around the world. And this is a process that can only be realized through the true equality of men and women..."

    (From the declaration of Specialists Meeting on Women's Contribution to the Peace Culture, organised by UNESCO - Manila - April 1995)