Süleyman Gelener

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What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

I was born in Cyprus, on the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe. Cyprus has become and remains divided geographically for more than half a century, however, the social and political divisions between the two major communities of the island dates even further back than the physical divisions.
I studied to become a primary school teacher at a teacher-training academy and during this time, I developed a particular interest in understanding the government education policy and the educational systems in general; and learning about the educational research and theories. Furthering my interest, I studied a postgraduate degree, where I gained deeper knowledge of the political role of education in developed and developing countries; and in particular the function of education in divided and plural societies.
In the last decade, together with teaching, I actively took part in organizations at local, national and international level; promoting peace, democracy, social justice and equality through the development of education.

What has been your most meaningful or noteworthy moment in your peace education career?

I personally consider the processes more striking than the moments. In this respect, every initiative I contributed as part of the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Trade Union (KTÖS), the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Technical Committee on Education for the Cyprus Peace Talks held under the auspices of the United Nations, is quite valuable for me.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

Two simple answers. As for how, being a member of the millennial generation of Cyprus. As for why, is that I believe lasting social peace can be constructed by raising citizens who believe in equality between different groups, who can think about identity in multiple terms, who adopt the values of culture of peace; in schools that educate citizens in a democratic, humanitarian and peaceful manner.