Yaprak Parlan

Primary Photo

Affiliated Organizations
  • Association for Historical Dialogue and Research – Junior Project Assistant
  • Trainer, Imagine Project

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

Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Since then, a ceasefire line left Greek Cypriots in the south, Turkish Cypriots in the north. In 2003, travelling over the ‘Green Line’, which separates the two communities, was allowed. Also, the UN peacekeeping forces continue their effort on the ‘Green Line’ to this date. Despite several attempts, no agreement has yet prevailed. Two communities run their policies and laws independently. However, in 2015, the two community leaders established the ‘Bi-Communal Technical Committee on Education’ to increase contact and cooperation, and counter prejudice and discrimination in the context of the negotiation process. Under the auspices of the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Education, the “Imagine” Antiracist Educational Programme is being implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research. I work as one of the trainers of the “Imagine” project which brings children & teachers together from both communities to serve their needs in relation to an education for a culture of peace. We are presenting a model for the younger generation of future Cyprus by cultivating trust and respect by building bridges to fill the gap and by humanizing ‘the other.’

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

The most precious outcome is the moment you see that children build their own strategies to collaborate and achieve together despite the language barrier. Through this process you also see that the negative stereotypes of ‘the other’ begins to fade away. Even though we have been separated for decades, what we do and experience is proof that we can collaborate, build and achieve more by building a common ground.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I believe it is our responsibility to teach as educators and to learn as humans how to live together in harmony and peace. I also believe that education on culture of peace should be valued at least as much as academic achievement in schools in order to ensure that we can create a safe space for us to live in harmony and respect.