A group of young Cypriots have been teamed up with companies on the other side of the divide to gain work experience, learn professional skills and experience the cultural environment of the other community on the island.
Twelve Turkish Cypriots and nine Greek Cypriots will take part a programme called ‘Leading by Example’. The aim of the project is to build trust and cooperation and foster reconciliation between the two communities.
Interns will be paid 500 euros per month. At the official launch, Kemal Baykali, speaking on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, said that cooperation with its Greek Cypriot counterpart KEVE went beyond economics.
Baykali said that both chambers supported a solution to the Cyprus problem and reconciliation between the two communities.
“We believe that it will help us fulfil our potential in full as Cypriots and will have economic benefits for both communities and Cyprus as whole”, he said.
Speaking for KEVE, Lefteris Paschalides said the programme included a range of activities in 2016. He noted that together with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber they would establish a “Park for Cooperation” in the buffer zone across the street from the Ledra Palace, aiming to create a common outdoor space for bazaar-style and cultural bi-communal events. They will also launch the “Nicosia ring tour”, an initiative financing the compiling of a techno-economic feasibility study for a hop on/ hop off bus service traveling around Nicosia in both communities.
“We are building bridges,” he said, adding that “we hope a solution will be achieved soon and we want to send the message that when the solution comes we will have Greek Cypriots working in Turkish Cypriot companies and vice versa. Besides, we are all Cypriots.”