September 2003


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Headoffice AEGEE-Europe <[log in to unmask]>
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AEGEE Monthly Review mailing list <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Sep 2003 17:04:52 +0200
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 AEGEE-Europe: The future of Cyprus needs to be discussed now 
 AEGEE-Europe organised on 12 September 2003, the conference 'Cyprus in Europe - Europe in Cyprus' in the Buffer Zone in Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world. The conference gave the youth from the two Cypriot communities as well as European students the possibility to engage in an open dialogue concerning the situation on the island. The discussion about the future are needed now, as Cyprus will join the EU in less than 8 months and plans for future collaboration are needed between the two communities. 

 "A stable atmosphere is needed in order to achieve a functioning dialogue", said Mr. Rajarathinam Kannan, Chief Civil Affairs Officer of United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. "That young persons feel the urgency of solving the problem gives also UN more confidence and motivation."

 "AEGEE is a living example of overcoming prejudices and acting", said Ms. Diana Filip, president of AEGEE-Europe. "Speaking is good, but action speaks louder than words. It is in the power of the people to change the future of the island. People should see the perspective of the other, not only see the justice and injustice on your side. We hope that Cyprus can find a solution and look into the future."

 "There is a historical trauma on the island", Maria Hadjipavlou, Greek Cypriot from the University of Cyprus confirmed. "The dynamic aroused from the opening up of the borders, giving the Cypriots the possibility to visit the other part, should now be transferred to another level."

 European accession in May gives Cypriots the unique opportunity to jump into the future without having to resolve all the difficulties of the Cyprus problem. It is still possible for Cyprus to come to an agreement before this, when recalling the sudden opening up of Germany in 1989, if only the will to solve the problem from both sides is there. 

 "There has been many changes in Cyprus since the launch of the Annan-plan, a social transformation is taking place on both sides and for the first time, Cypriots saw a light at the end of the tunnel", explained Berna Numan, Turkish Cypriot from Cyprus International University. "EU is not only about politics, it is also about civic initiatives and the states cannot override the activities of the citizens, the state cannot be separated from the activities of the citizens."

 25 Cypriots - Greek and Turkish  - as well as students of 16 different European nationalities took part in the conference, organised in cooperation with the local organisation Youth Promoting Peace.

 The conference was a contribution in a manner that has proved most successful in the 'Turkish-Greek Civic Dialogue' project - an open and forthright dialogue between youngsters. The conference was a starting point for a longer project on Cyprus by AEGEE-Europe.

 Further information:

Diana Filip 
President of AEGEE-Europe
Rue Nestor de Tiere 15
1030 Bruxelles
Phone:    +32 2 245 23 00
Fax:        +32 2 245 62 60
Email:    [log in to unmask]

The AEGEE network consists of 260 local branches in 42 European countries, gathering 17.000 members. Our aim is to promote a unified Europe, cross-border co-operation, communication, integration among students and we strive to create an open and tolerant society of tomorrow. Our main fields of action are Peace and Stability, Cultural Exchange, Active Citizenship and Higher Education.



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