Hilmi Tekoglu

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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?

Cyprus has a special condition as the island is divided by the Green Line with the Turkish Cypriot community in the north and the Greek Cypriot community in the south. This division simply discourages people to cross to either side because of both the physical check-points and the idea of checkpoints as barriers in people’s minds. Furthermore, the division creates obstacles for development of trust, dialogue, and collaboration between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). In my working environment, we work on these issues by organizing multi-communal festivals, forums, exchange visits, trainings, info sessions for CSOs and activists island wide. In addition, we provide accessible direct support with the Grow Civic programme to small scale rights-based measures that activists or organizations can implement for promoting, advocating or raising awareness on different concepts and methods for peace and trust-building. Lastly, working with a great team, and knowing the purpose in what we do is to contribute to peace and trust-building between all communities in Cyprus help me continue.

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

The most striking moment(s) has been collaborating with various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Having the chance to collaborate with many CSOs professionally and on a voluntary basis helped me understand the difficulties they face, their needs and their strong devotion to work towards equal rights for everyone. Working with diverse groups and CSOs does not only help me grow but also inspires and motivates me to continue my work in this field.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I started working in this field 5 years ago in Civic Space, a European Union (EU) funded Technical Assistance Project. The Project aims to strengthen the role of civil society in the Turkish Cypriot community, to promote EU values and the development of a conducive environment for the further development of trust, dialogue, cooperation and closer relationship between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. In addition to my professional experience, as a peace activist, I am also involved in numerous events and projects organized by inter-communal Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and grassroots organizations. CSOs and grassroots organizations' strong dedication and unique work towards peace and reconciliation encouraged me to commit further to working in this field and contributing to the same purpose.