Kemal Aşık

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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?

Cyprus is an island with multiple divisions. While the physical division restricts movement and leads to obstacles for meaningful interaction, acts of sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of discrimination result in further divisions in each community. I am part of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research team, which focuses on history teaching/learning and peace education. We are located at the Home for Cooperation, a space which can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of their differences. In our work, we promote diversity as a source of richness, and critical thinking as an essential value for coexistence. We bring individuals from all communities of the island to be part of a shared experience. Despite the difficulties faced in the field, the willingness of individuals who are open to explore a better understanding of both each other and themselves strengthens my belief in the future possibility of living in a more peaceful world.

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

I can't pinpoint one particular moment as striking; but I can say that I feel a sense of fulfillment each time I observe the transition from being hesitant to being comfortable and I can describe these moments as noteworthy. In addition, I believe that the work done within the field overall is a learning experience for all involved and helps us develop as individuals.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I participated in a few intercommunal peace-building activities before starting to actively work in the field of peace education. However, my actual work in the field began with my involvement in the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR). I am motivated by the belief that what we do matters, as we work towards making our island a place where diversity is respected and embraced.