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Kormakitis Centre for Cooperation: Summer 2023




Since its opening, the Kormakitis Centre for Cooperation has been warmly embraced by all communities in Cyprus. In under four years, since the historic day of September 16, 2019, when the European Union approved the Maronite Community's proposal for the Centre's creation, it heralded the beginning of a remarkably promising journey.


The European Union managed the entire construction, supervision, and financing of the project, completing the Centre's construction in January 2023 and opening its doors in June 2023. This marked a new era for the Kormakitis community. Following the momentous and distinctive inauguration ceremony of the Kormakitis Centre for Cooperation (KCC), during which the EU reiterated its steadfast support for the project and its mission, the responsibility to implement plans and meet the expectations of the KCC's vision and mission believers fell to the Board of Directors.


The Centre's objectives revolve around fostering multiculturalism, advancing education and skills, promoting social responsibility and sustainable development, and creating an environment that nurtures innovation and creativity. Its overarching goal is the reconciliation of Cyprus' peoples and the potential reunification of our homeland.


The Centre garnered extensive acceptance from numerous institutions and organizations with a bi-communal, conciliatory nature, seeking suitable infrastructure and environments for their programs, plans, and training courses. In the summer of 2023, Kormakitis village witnessed unique moments as its streets, squares, cafes, and churches buzzed with life, evoking the essence of Kormakitis's past and infusing the community with vitality, creativity, and hope. Hundreds of children, students, delegates, and educators from all Cyprus communities and abroad congregated at the Centre, executing their multi-communal programs in a modern, well-equipped setting.


"EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS DURING SUMMER 2023"



The initial group hosted in collaboration with FSA Travel comprised hospitality and environmental studies students. Utilizing the Centre for their educational workshops and as a base for environmental field trips, they also cleaned the nature trail leading to the renowned Cyprus Tulips, also known as Lellenes, capturing their experiences in a widely acclaimed video.


Following this, an eight-day camp organized by the international organization Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) brought together adolescents from all Cypriot communities to foster peaceful interaction and understanding. Supported and funded by the French embassy and the British High Commission, the CFP participants, expressing lasting appreciation for the Centre, created a mural at its entrance symbolizing peace and reconciliation. Their stay culminated in an evening show and a "souvlaki party" at Kormakitis's main square.


Subsequently, the bi-communal NGO Famagusta New Museum, supported by the Pieridis Foundation, engaged its members in a unique experience centered on cooperation between Cyprus communities. Over three days, participants delved into Cypriot history and culture, engaging in workshops fostering understanding and reconciliation.


The Sanna Camp presented unforgettable moments, hosting 300 people including children, teachers, assistants, partners, and parents for a week in the place where the Kormakitis Primary School once flourished. Teaching and revitalizing the Sanna language, along with other educational programs, remain pivotal in the Centre's goals. A poignant scene emerged as 100 children descended the hill of the Centre hand-in-hand, rekindling hope for the village's revival during a church service.

Additionally, the bi-communal NGO AVLI, focusing on Cyprus's future and addressing climate change, occupied the Centre for three days. Their discussions aimed at understanding climate change's implications for Cyprus and exploring ways to prepare the island for this future.


"KORMAKITIS: A CROSSROAD OF CULTURES"


Organizations like AKTI and MASDER chose the Centre for a three-day workshop, incorporating coastal clean-up campaigns in Kornos and interviews with village inhabitants, delving into the history, values, and customs of Cyprus's Maronites. AKTI aims to establish a comprehensive network to raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable development.


Our Centre served as the venue for "AdvocaCY's first co-creation cafe," attracting stakeholders from across the island. Participants exchanged ideas and best practices for capacity building on sustainability and climate change topics, identifying collaboration opportunities. This event was part of the AdvocaCY project, benefiting from grants under the Active Citizens Fund Cyprus program supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.


In collaboration with the local NGO VAMOS, the international organization FACES held its 5th pan-European conference at our Centre, exploring Kormakitis's centuries-old history, language, and traditions. FACES - Fostering A Civic European Solidarity - received funding from the European Union under the Europe for Citizens Program.


The Historical Dialogue and Research group, AHDR, known for creative initiatives, organized the workshop "Cyprus, a classroom without walls" at our Centre. Aimed mainly at teachers, it focused on Kormakitis's cultural history and heritage, included in the same name publication, fostering dialogue, cooperation, and understanding among and within Cyprus's communities.


Apart from groups conducting seminars, workshops, and training programs, our Centre received numerous visits from organizations and individuals seeking to familiarize themselves with our facilities for upcoming events. Visits included embassies such as the USA, UK, and various EU member countries like Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia, and the Netherlands, along with the Holy See and the UN. Moreover, through joint efforts of Council members and external partners who support the Centre's mission, the Centre was included in various research programs and academic studies, utilizing its facilities and its human capital.


During their stay, all groups received personal attention from our members and partners, experiencing the unique hospitality of the villagers. Residents guided them through historical sites, including churches, museums, squares, streets, and narrow alleys. However, their most cherished experiences were conversations with native Sanna speakers, a cultural treasure carried through centuries in Cyprus.


Given the anticipation and anxiety surrounding the Centre's launch, coupled with guest feedback, it's unequivocal that the Centre's functionality surpassed expectations, achieving all its goals and plans. KCC remains dedicated to creating a dynamic action platform highlighting collaboration and dialogue as catalysts for advancing culture, innovation, and sustainability. Its commitment lies in promoting cooperation among organizations, communities, and citizens, fostering a more just, creative, and cohesive world with the ultimate aim of reconciling and reunifying our homeland. Our first guests this year left excited and fully satisfied, promising their return.


Our vision, aspiration, and hope remain focused on the Centre hosting the Primary School and Kindergarten of Kormakitis and Karpasia villages soon. Through the tireless efforts of the Maronite representative, we secured commitments from the President of the Republic and the Minister of Education to support the school's reopening. Collaborating with the Ministry's technical services, we upgraded the Centre to meet official school specifications. Furthermore, in coordination with the Maronite School Board, the Centre's activity schedule aligns with school lessons and activities to prevent conflicts.


Planning for new activities and initiatives continues unabated. Shortly, we will announce our annual program, comprising thematic excursions, educational lectures on environmental, energy, and technology topics, language lessons, art exhibitions, and workshops on local themes. These offerings and more aim to breathe new life, hope, and vitality into our villages and the broader peninsula, radiating peace, reconciliation, and love to our fellow beings awaiting the reunification of our homeland under a united and progressive Europe.


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