Federal Information News Syndicate
Communicating the emerging philosophy of the Global Information-Age
Tuesday March 13, 2007 (corrected Friday March 23, 2007, 04:40 AM EST)
Initial gathering of Cyprus Civil Society workshop participants,
in Boundary-spanning WebScope E-mail Dialogue,
at the Fulbright Centre, in Nicosia, Cyprus, Dec 29, 2006.
Digital Image courtesy Cyprus EU Association.
From left to right: Andros Karayiannis (senior trainer - GC); Yiannis Laouris (Co-facilitator with Marios Michaelides of this workshop - GC); Georg Siep (Visiting student from Berlin who is under training to become a German diplomat); Kerstin Wittig (Working for Future Worlds Center and Peace Center); Derya Beyatli (voluntary representative of the Cyprus-EU Association; in charge of the new UNDP funded project for peace revival-TC); Aydil Anlar (Masters Graduate in political science; young participant -TC); Mustafa Anlar (senior trainer -TC) ;
Elia Petridou (Program Coordinator at Future Worlds Center for EU Citizenship project -GC)
["GC"=Greek Cypriot & "TC"=Turkish Cypriot]
The Miracle of Cyprus
Civil Society Dialogue for Peace Revival
By Vigdor Schreibman
Torn between the ancient civilizations of Greece and Turkey, and all the great warriors that have landed here during the last seven thousand years, the Eastern Mediterranean Island of Cyprus has a rich culture told in poetry and song, (open in Windows Media Player) and by a tumultuous history of war stories and intercommunal violence that today, is a divided island. Cyprus is split into two communities by a UN administered buffer zone known as "The Green Line" but that line is slowly breaking free.
After "The Green Line" was established in 1974, Greek Cypriots in the South were faced with a serious survival problem when they lost to the Turkish Cypriots the most fertile lands in the North that previously sustained their principle livelihood as farmers. In spite of these horrific historical conditions, Cypriots in the South quickly discovered their true entrepreneurial genius supported by the special geopolitical location of the Island. They have miraculously established, since 1974, a world-class maritime program together with Hotels, insurance, banking and other services that have resulted in the emergence of an exceptionally diverse culture, of a class known for its especially creative capacity. This was described by my colleague Dr. Alexander N. Christakis as "the best real world example of a small scale 'Philanthropolis'" -- the city of human love -- which we have visualized as the New Agora..
Cyprus is ranked among the top five countries and territories in the world, at the present time, with the largest number of ships of different flags managed by companies established and operating in its territory. It is estimated that 5% of the world fleet is managed from Cyprus.
As Dr, Christakis reports elsewhere, in seeking a consensus to sustain the great shipping industry of Cyprus within the divided Island, the (former) Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Cyprus, Averoff Neophytou, convened stakeholders of Lamaca and Limassol Ports at Nicosia, in 2000. This dialogue was managed with the support of the CogniScope consensus building methodology developed by Dr. Christakis, and a team of Cypriots under the leadership of Marios Michaelidis who were trained by Dr. Christakis in the application of the Structured Design Dialogue Process (SDDP). Since then the Greek Cypriot team has done many applications in a variety of arenas and issues of the Island.
In a unique Boundary-spanning WebScope E-mail dialogue quietly taking place now under the guidance of the Civil Society Dialogue for Peace Revival, participants in the peace movement have identified a list of 120 factors that are "contributing to the increasing gap between the two communities in Cyprus." Among the "root causes" of the Cyprus problématique that were systematically selected collectively by consensus of the whole group from the list they generated individually, are these two factors: "The personal and financial interests of politicians and ordinary people on both sides" of the great divide that now separates Cypriots, and the "Media as puppets of political parties."
Despite the appearance of virtually eternal strife that surrounds their daily lives, Cypriots are known to take matters calmly in their stride. A good bottle of wine and a local favorite, Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), will often be used as a rallying call for the next Civil Society peace revival meeting.
The Boundary-spanning WebScope E-mail dialogue is sponsored by the Cyprus EU Association and the United Nations Development Programme, in cooperation with 4 organizations (i.e., the Cyprus Intercultural Training Initiative (CITI), the Cyprus Policy Center (CPC), The Institute for 21st Century Agora, and The Peace Center). This civil dialogue is part of the continuing effort of those organizations to break the stalemate that has divided the Island since deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964.
In a surprising development, while writing this article was in progress, news
"of immense symbolic importance" flashed across the world in print and electronic
media: Greek demolition crews were "Tearing down a wall that split Nicosia's
most famous shopping street in the heart of the Cypriot capital for more than
four decades." With this act we are entering the actual realization of Cypriot
dreams of reuniting the two Cypriot communities. News stories around the
world are informing citizens everywhere about these historical events:
Reunification has finally started with the collapse of the Ledra Street Wall. This must be interpreted "as the result of popular pressure", but much remains to be worked out to fully realize and sustain the new initiative, as these initial news reports confirm.
The last two-year round of UN-brokered talks between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum. Taking up the challenge presented by the failure of the 2004 referendum, leaders of the Civil Society Dialogue project, have chosen a New Technology of Democracy, founded upon the Structured Design Dialogue Process (SDDP) that civil society leaders at various institutions of higher learning located around the world are applying in both educational and real-world situations.
Vincent van Gogh, Road with Cyprus and Star
1890, Oil on Canvas, 92 x. 73 cm
Rijksmuseum, Kroller-Muller, Ottero
Struggling against the tide of atomization and splintering of the global society engendered by the electronically wired but spiritually disconnected e-culture, which has all but captured The Global Nooshere, a number of enlightened leaders around the world are beginning to realize the power and wisdom of a new wave of democratic dialogue that advocates the countervailing power of forming "a more perfect Union"! At Adelaide, South Australia, Prof. Janet McIntyre, of the Flinders International Asia Pacific Institute, has harnessed the wisdom of her graduate students and community leaders to discover the "root cause" map that may lead toward an effective strategy to rescue democracy from its failures. In the Island of Cyprus, the Civil Society peace project guided by the New Agora, is now surging forward to break through the history of military domination to build a united population of Cypriots. At the renown International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, our colleague Prof. Jacqueline Howell Wasilewski will manage an Inter-University dialogue based on New Agora to advance their collaborative capacities. At Monterey, California, Prof. Nancy C. Roberts, of the Naval Postgraduate School, is training graduate students how to support rebuilding Middle East nations guided by the Structured Design Dialogue Process (SDDP) on which New Agora is predicated. American political leaders have also recognized the powerful appeal of participatory politics for the Presidential Election of 2008, as demonstrated by Barack Obama in his video about the Politics of a United States of America, and Hillary Clinton's video on "beginning a conversation with America".
This appears to be the way of the world, for those free enough to see it.
This report was prepared as a public service without fee
by Federal Information News Syndicate (FINS),
Vigdor Schreibman, Editor & Publisher.
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P. Atchley, artist,
Portrait of Vigdor in blue 2001.