Dear CFP Friends,
We at Creating Friendships for Peace share your concerns about the current health situation facing our world. We join the other voices urging you to be cautious and to follow the guidelines published by the World Health Organization regarding best practices in protecting yourself and your family from COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
We also share your frustrations in not being able to plan for the future with constantly changing medical, economic and governmental news.
As an organization, the safety of our teen participants, host families, area coordinators and volunteers is paramount. We want you to know that we are monitoring the situations closely in the United States, Cyprus, Israel and Palestine as we try to plan.
This February, CFP received 225 applications for this summer’s Cypriot program, the highest we have ever received. The US and Cypriot Coordinators realize that circumstances may force us to cancel this year’s program, but we are not willing to do so until more facts are known, e.g., will the current restrictions and self-quarantines do their job and reduce the spread of the virus; or will the warmer weather of summer reduce the infection rate or even eliminate the virus? Medical experts give conflicting advice on what we can expect by July. Another critical consideration is when will the Cypriot checkpoints be reopened?
The US and Cypriot Coordinators would like to keep our options open and are considering how we might adapt a 2020 Cyprus program to the current ever-changing environment. CFP has shown itself to be a nimble organization – flexible and creative, adjusting to changing situations. Presently, the Cypriot Coordinators feel that the Cyprus Peace Camps could be held later than July if necessary. The US residency program, however, is more difficult because of the involvement of international travel and our commitment to our host families that all hosting will occur in July. As a result, we are developing a contingency plan utilizing technology which is not ideal but that will allow us to provide a US led program in Cyprus for all teens in their second year with CFP should the situation require it. This virtual US program will not be one of individuals isolated from each other – it will involve our usual CFP teen pairs and smaller groups with US workshop leaders, area coordinators and, possibly, even host families.
The US and Cypriot Coordinators will reassess the situations in the US and Cyprus on April 30. The US Coordinators and Jerusalem Peacebuilders will reassess the situations in the US and Israel/Palestine in early May.
This letter is being sent on behalf of the CFP Board of Directors which has approved the plan and approach outlined above.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Chairman, Board of Directors
Dear CFP Friends,