Elena Antoniadou

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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?

In Cyprus, we are challenged to experience the division of communities and the conflict that comes with it. I always believed that multiculturalism is one of the main characteristics of our island and schools and that’s what triggered me to study peace education. I am eager to continue working in such a challenging environment and offer new ideas and concepts both to children and adults from both communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. My focus is on identities and peace education and I believe that with our work, we provide hope and light at the end of the 'conflict and division' tunnel. This is what gives me strength and courage to continue promoting my peace education work.

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

I had the honour to work as a member of the pool of trainers for the project “Education for a Culture of Peace”, which was implemented by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and POST - RI and funded by the European Union. I have done in-service trainings for both primary and high school teachers from both communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The most striking moment in my peace education work was when individuals (both teachers and students) came together from both communities and participated in a music workshop with me. Together, using a traditional Cypriot melody, we changed the lyrics of the song, and inserted lyrics about our hope for Peace in Cyprus, using the Greek and Turkish language. Everyone was singing in unison, a great big hug of love, hope and prosperity. It was so touching. This memory will always be in my heart and mind.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

As a teacher, I have teaching experience within different settings and environments in primary schools in Cyprus. I always had an interest in studying identities and ways that people act within different contexts. This is why I continued my studies and obtained a Master’s Degree in 'Multicultural Education', as I believe that multiculturalism is a great source of inspiration and a platform for peace through education. I have always been passionate about working with students from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds which is why I became a trainer for the project 'Education for a Culture of Peace'. Since then, I have been working hard within my school, through the employment of music activities and workshops, to provide educational opportunities and activities that promote peace.