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A novel catalyst for the Cyprus solution

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

1. Do you think this school could exist in the current situation? 2. Do you think it could expedite a political settlement to the Cyprus problem even if that means the settlement would occur 10-15 years after the school's opening?

Poll ended at Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:43 am

1. Yes 2. Yes
10
29%
1. Yes 2. No
11
31%
1. No 2. No
11
31%
1. No 2. Yes
3
9%
 
Total votes : 35

A novel catalyst for the Cyprus solution

Postby Mills Chapman » Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:43 am

I thought I would share my website with you: www.cyprussolution.org . Welcome to a novel idea not yet envisioned by the international community.

I am an American citizen without any links to my government except voting and taxes. I have never met Kissinger, and I am not a member of the CIA (though I was suspected of being one by a shopkeeper during my trip to Cyprus in August of 2003). I have been researching the Cyprus problem for two years now, and my interest developed due to a desire to find a novel idea for resolving the Jerusalem/Palestinian conflict, whose tensions are causing al Qaeda to attack my country. While reading theories about conflict resolution in 2002, I saw this quote by Jay Rothman:

"For the past three decades, conflict resolution experts and theorists have gone to the island of Cyprus with two goals in mind: to attempt some progress in the long stalemate between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and to simultaneously test and refine theory and practice in the field. In effect, the conflict in Cyprus has become an incubator for conflict resolution scholars as they apply their skills to a relatively non-volatile but nonetheless deeply intransigent conflict." - http://www.aepro.org/inprint/papers/cyprus.html

So, I dropped my interest in Jerusalem completely and have been following the Cyprus issue ever since.

As I am not Greek Cypriot, I don't know what it feels like a) to have a hostile army invade and occupy one-third of my country; b) to have people in other countries constantly overlook this fact; c) to have friends and family members who were either forced out of their homes in 1974, killed, or both; d) to not have compensation for these properties and apologies for the human rights abuses; e) to have the remaining two-thirds of my country be flooded with refugees in 1974; f) to not have official recognition of my country from the government of this occupying army, and g) to see waves of settlers coming to the occupied territory from the country of the occupying army.

As I am not Turkish Cypriot, I don't know what it feels like a) to see the other side of the island having a far superior economy and belong to the European Union, b) to hear how family members were harassed or even killed between 1963-1974, c) to be in the minority population-wise on the island and to be afraid of a loss of Turkish Cypriot culture should there be a reunification; d) to take a risk and vote yes on a peace plan before seeing the other side of the island shoot it down; and d) to hear about the harassment and bullying of Greek Cypriots before the Annan Plan referendum who were thinking about voting yes as well.

I don't know how it feels to be either one of you. I just know how it feels to go to an American school from the age of 5 to 14 where all of my classmates were white except for two blacks. The only other black person I knew was our cleaning lady. Now, even though I feel sorry for black people since they usually start at a lower socioeconomic level than me, I still feel nervous - at a barely conscious level - when I am around them, especially at night. This nervousness bothers me, but it is already ingrained as I only have a few black friends. My decisions will always be affected by my attitudes, conscious and sub-conscious.

I often wonder how my attitude towards black people would differ if I had gone to a school beginning in daycare where half the students were white and half of them were black. In addition, I think about how my attitudes would differ if a portion of the lessons at this school - perhaps 30% - were done in a cooperative learning format, a type of teaching method that educational research has shown to have both cognitive (intellectual) and affective/socio-emotional benefits. One of these affective benefits is improved racial/ethnic attitudes.

I am now 30 years old, and my racial attitude towards blacks will be very hard to change. It is not necessarily a bad attitude but not necessarily a good attitude either. I suspect that most of you reading this are above the age of 14, and thus your attitude towards the other ethnicity is pretty much as firm - unfortunately - as my attitude is towards blacks.

Thinking about all of this has led me back to Cyprus and to the envisioned Nicosia Share-A-Square School. I honestly think this could work without a political settlement and more importantly, without surrendering one’s political demands. These demands do not have to go by the wayside just because one is sending one’s child to a school with the child of one’s rival. The cognitive dissonance that parents would willingly take on (in order to give their children the best education possible) would expedite the search for a political solution. The induced tension would force the leaders to be more creative in their search. After all, if they or their children can’t solve the problem, the students themselves from this school might possibly be the new politicians 50 years from now and would work to bring down the divide. It might be a wise insurance policy to invest in a special schooling for these yet-to-be-born Nicosia children while hammering away at the specifics for a political settlement. The worst thing that could happen is that in 85 years from now, the leaders from each community could be lobbing nasty rhetoric at each other without any progress having been made since 2004. In short, I think this school could improve the situation on your island if the status quo continues, if the island is reunified in a bizonal state, or if permanent partition were to occur - any of the three ways. There is no need for kids to grow in separate schools that lie just a few meters across the bizonal line from each other.

I would be happy to answer any questions and would be happy to send my longer draft to those interested. I might be a bit slow in responding, but I will respond, eventually. I especially like criticism, since that forces me to improve the weaknesses.

Efcharisto and teshekkur ederim.
-Mills Chapman
Last edited by Mills Chapman on Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:34 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Postby magikthrill » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:00 am

im sorry but i dont see how you can compare black people in america with TCs in cyprus.

black people are not demanding ot be a part of the government. those that are competent enough get run for governmental offices and are elected. although there are barely any black people in congress, this stems from a number of other problems that are way too complicated to discuss here (slavery, segregation, welfare etc.)
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Racial/Ethnic attitude; social perspective-taking; prejudice

Postby Mills Chapman » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:12 am

Thanks for your reply. The comonality is the concept of in-group and out-group bias (a social psychology term) and how that affects levels of prejudice, which in turn affect levels of aggression. With all else held equal, I will be more likely to discriminate against a black person than against a white person. All else equal, a GC person will be more likely to discriminate against a TC person than a GC person. Wouldn't it preferable for GC and TC people to discriminate against mainland Greek and Turkish people before they discriminate against each other?
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Re: Racial/Ethnic attitude; social perspective-taking; preju

Postby magikthrill » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:21 am

Mills Chapman wrote:Thanks for your reply. The comonality is the concept of in-group and out-group bias (a social psychology term) and how that affects levels of prejudice, which in turn affect levels of aggression. With all else held equal, I will be more likely to discriminate against a black person than against a white person. All else equal, a GC person will be more likely to discriminate against a TC person than a GC person. Wouldn't it preferable for GC and TC people to discriminate against mainland Greek and Turkish people before they discriminate against each other?


FIrst of all, where in the USA did you grow up if you mind me asking? (I'm sensing midwestern white suburbia) Growing up in NYC and now temporarily being in LA half the year, I tend to discrimnate against white people first. And my skin color is closer to white than any other color (I don't like to consider myself white, since that is usually associated with the WASP community.

ALso, I'm not sure how or where you've been studying this issue, but the GCs that I know (ie my mother and her side of the family) don't discrimnate against TCs. They've all told me how close their relations were on an everyday basis. The GCs I know clearly blame the fault on the greek dictatorship and Turkey.

Have you personally held a study of GCs and TCs and asked for their opinion to have to come to this conclusion or is this from you studying the actions of nationalists?
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Haven't study nationalists - just social psych. and ed. psyc

Postby Mills Chapman » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:44 am

I grew up outside of Philadelphia in a white suburb. Yes, I'm WASP, and that's just the facts.

Yes, you are right in your point that GCs are more biased against Turkish people than they are against TCs. I was stating that the GCs are probably more biased against TCs than against citizens of Greece. What good is it to favor Mainland Greeks over Turkish Cypriots? Couldn't it help for the youngest family members of the two Nicosia administrations to go to school together? What would be the downside to that?

I haven't studied nationalism too much. I was a classics major in college (Latin, etc.) and had a minor in economics. While I was there, I took one class and one class only in political science. I then taught in Northern Thailand and in China before teaching Latin on Long Island in the US. I just got an MA in international educational administration and policy, and I might go back for a PhD in educational psychology with a cooperative learning researcher.

Best,
Mills

Any more questions are welcome.
Last edited by Mills Chapman on Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:42 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby magikthrill » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:51 am

I understand your point of view, don't get me wrong. However, won't the island need to be united again before something like this can happen.

Oh and on a sidenote, as far as your first post is concerned (this is just advice) the longer a post is the less intereste people will usually find in them. Just from experience though. Plus people are still sleeping on that side of the world so you should get some more interesting responses later on.

Take care.
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Postby erolz » Fri Dec 10, 2004 5:55 am

Firstly welcome to the site Mills

Your idea is certainly interesting. I have not yet been to your site for further investigation (but hope to do so when I have the time). Here are some of my intial thoughts.

How would the school select it's intake of pupils (from each community)? Would it have entrance exams - seeking the 'brightest' students from each community? Would it seek fees from parents, selecting essentialy on a basis of econmic wealth of the parents. My worry here would be that whilst such a school may reduce the inter community tensions that exist today would it not be in danger of creating a new division of 'elitist' from both sides?

I grew up and was educated in the UK. The UK has a long histroy of 'class division' that still exists today and is still the cause of many tensions in UK society today. The recent attempts to ban fox hunting in the UK for example are often seen as being motivated less by moral issues and more as a kind of 'class warfare'. I personaly was educated till the age of about 9 years in a state run 'comprehensive' school in North London. At the age of 9 my family moved to hertfordshire and I was entered into a 'public school' (in the UK 'public' school actualy means the opposite - a private fee paying school). One of the preconditions of my entry into this school was a requirment that I have elocution lessons as my north london accent was deemed 'too rough' for the new public school. Having experienced both state school education and private school education first hand, there is no doubt in my mind that such a system is actualy very devisive in general terms and creates and perpetuates (class) division in the UK. From the age of 9 onwards at private schools we were constanly told that we were in the top 5% of people in the UK, that we would be the future business and political leaders of the country. My concern then with your school idea would be that whilst helping to mediate one form of division in Cyprus (based on TC or GC backgroud) it in turn creates and promotes a new division based on 'elitisim'.

My second thought is that such school exists already to a degree. In my fathers time (before 74 and before 60 even) wealthier GC and TC would send their children to the 'English School'. This schol still exits today I believe (in the south). I have a cousin who left Cyprus (post 74) at the age of 18 and went a first studied in the USA and later worked and married a USA (Isralie) woman. They later lived in the UK. He worked in banking and is wealthy by any standards and particularly so in Cyptiot terms (especialy North Cypriot terms). He was educated in Cyprus in the 'English School'. Now he is returning to Cyprus with his family and it is his intention to enrol his children in this same 'English School' that he himself studied at and happens to be situated in the South. So whilst the school does not seek a 50/50 quota of students from each community it does represent a 'maixed community' school - at least to some degree. It is also an 'elitisit' school in my sense of such a label in that it seeks to give and advatage through education to those that can aford it.

Anyway those were my intial thoughts.
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Postby pantelis » Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:01 am

Hi Mills,
Welcome to the forum.
I have attended such an integrated school. Judging from my classmates, the ones who I keep in touch with, they are not the least prejudiced about the TCs, not to say that this school is the only reason they are open minded people. In general, good, all around education, makes you a better person.

Check it out, they may have something for you.

http://www.englishschool.ac.cy/activities.shtml
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Postby pantelis » Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:08 am

Mills

Your site http://www.cyprussolution.org/ is very nice and a good idea. Check with UNOPS, as they may help you with some funding, if there is any money left over.
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Reply to Magikthrill

Postby Mills Chapman » Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:48 am

Magikthrill, no need to worry about the difference in point of views. Intellectual conflicts can often lead to a greater understanding on both sides.

I do, however, disagree that the island would have to wait to be reunited until something like this could happen. I fully understand your sidenote comment about long messages. As you might agree, a concept like this could be easily misunderstood, and one's opinion of it would rest in the subatomic-sized details. So, I have to outline as many details as possible so that others can envision what I see, or at least something close to it.

Let me know what else comes to mind, and I'll try to respond. -Mills
Last edited by Mills Chapman on Fri Aug 26, 2005 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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