Creating Friendships for Peace, Inc. is a volunteer grassroots organization whose mission is to promote and strengthen friendships between teens from divided communities and extend those friendships to their families and friends. The friendships are developed through home stays with American families. Each family hosts two teens – one from each side of a conflict. The teen pair shares a bedroom and learns about each other, understanding their different perspectives and realizing that friendships can develop despite significant political and cultural differences. With friendship, an atmosphere is created that allows for mutual respect and understanding – a key ingredient for peace.
CFP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in the United States. Our volunteers were active in Northern Ireland from 1987 until 2007. We are currently active in Cyprus since 2009 and Israel/Palestine since 2018.
In our efforts to maintain neutrality, we do not accept government funding and rely solely on gifts from individuals, charitable foundations and businesses who wish to make a difference for peace in the world.
CFP’s 2020 Virtual Program in Cyprus
The US Program occurred throughout the month of July with either online or in-person workshops each Tuesday followed by dialogue and project sessions each Wednesday. Despite the lack of public bus service, a total of 11 teens participated, almost all of them in person, having been tested for the virus, wearing their masks and practicing social distancing. Utilizing the cloud for joint collaboration on two projects, the teens also discussed the following workshop topics:
- “History is written by the victors.” History often defines the present. How can a society be persuaded to pursue the future while honoring the past with dignity for all?”
- “Medical studies have shown that Cypriots share the same DNA. Who are you – Cypriot? Greek Cypriot? Turkish Cypriot? And what makes you that?”
- “As Cypriot teenagers, what can we do to help form the future of our island?”
We wish to thank Dr. Eleftherios Michael and Dr. Yiannis Laouris for facilitating very thoughtful workshops and Tamera Drozd and Betsy Small for conducting the dialogue and project sessions. None of this would have been possible without our Lead Coordinators Simge Kahvecioglu and Katia Solomides, who managed the necessary government requirements, attended every session and made all the arrangements with the Home for Cooperation.
The July and August Camps this summer were conducted totally online. “Under the consequences of the unexpected pandemic situation, we faced many difficulties and conflicts. However, we ignored all problems and continued to walk on ‘The Way to Peace’ with the same passion and ambition,” said Hilmi Arica on behalf of the entire Camp Coordinator Team. A total of 86 online campers participated in workshops on non-violent communication, conflict resolution and creating your own bi-communal project. As a result of the week, they developed their leadership, peace-building and team-building skills. They acquired new information about the history of the island and they listened to many inspiring friendship stories of Cypriots. They learned the meaning of peace culture and improved their awareness for universal human rights. Congratulations to the entire Camp Coordinator Team!
People UNITED in a country divided!
CFP Teens & Rep. John Lewis
CFP joins those who honor the life of Rep. John Lewis and are grateful that several classes of CFP alumni were able to meet him and learn firsthand how young people can make a difference in peacefully resolving big problems in their communities.
“Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.“
Rep. John Lewis