Özge Özoğul

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Affiliated Organizations

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

The first and obvious divide in Cyprus stems from our protracted conflict. However, as the years go by, we are faced with further divides within each community. Educational systems fall short of addressing linguistic and cultural diversity in a fair and inclusive way, and undermine the damage caused by stereotyping, discrimination and racism. I work at the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) which through its work, empowers the whole school community, mainly teachers and students, by instilling critical thinking and putting an emphasis on respect, dialogue and cooperation. We are always trying to find novel ways to contribute to a positive transformation within the society and to a culture of peace. I work at what I call “the future I want to see in Cyprus” – a multi-communal, trilingual workplace, embracing people from all walks of life. What gets me going through good and bad moments in my work in this field is my wish to contribute to making this example a reality for more people on the island.

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

There are multiple striking moments! All of them have ‘connection’ in common. It is amazing how establishing a safe space and creating a co-learning environment allows participants, whoever they may be, to open up and connect with one another.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

Thanks to working at the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research since 2017, I found myself immersed in Peace Education from day one. From regular training of trainers and observations during peace education workshops to co-facilitating workshops and participating in the development of training sessions, it has equipped me with practical skills, competences and knowledge. I started working in this field to contribute to establishing a culture of peace through education.