Mission: CFP promotes peace and understanding by bringing together Cypriot teens from both sides of the militarized divide with future leadership potential, encouraging lifelong friendships among them, and extending these friendships to their friends and families.
Results: The Cyprus Friendship Program is one of very few projects seeking to bridge the divide between the two communities on the island. It has a high profile in Cyprus and it is transforming the lives of the CFP teens, their families, and their friends. CFP friendships are being witnessed by students in schools and youth clubs across the island and by hundreds of friends of each participant via Facebook and other forms of social media. CFP teen pairs and their friendships, as well as new friendships between their families, are being prominently featured in newspapers and TV across the island. CFP is being given a weekly one-hour Friday night radio program that will be broadcast on major stations on both sides of the divide. And the CFP Graduation, which is held annually in October, which is attended by 400-500, is clearly the largest and probably most important regularly scheduled bi-communal activity on the island.
We hosted two young men in 2011. We learned a lot about the Cyprus situation, which was good for us, and our guests learned they had a lot in common (music, grooming, life-goals) as well. Both were unfailingly polite and appreciative. Their "Americanization" was sometimes amusing (Orlando, the Grand Canyon, and NYC are not close to each other!), but their very good English ran rings around our limited, tourist Greek and non-existent Turkish! We still treasure their observations of our lifestyle, particularly regarding how each culture handles extended-family challenges. Through the internet we hear from them occasionally, particularly when world events include Cyprus or our area. Expanding both our and their worldwide experience is a lasting, wonderful benefit of the CFP. And, you have to believe it's harder to "hate" after you've spent a month living in the same room with your "enemy". This is "good deed doing" at the highest level for all involved. (All said and done, we probably spent several hundred dollars being part of the CFP, but truly, it was money so well spent.)