US Teen Pilot Program Successes

Following up on CFP’s 2020 alumni survey, CFP investigated two strategic initiatives in 2021.
The first initiative is to consider broadening the role US teens play in hosting CFP pairs of students from areas of conflict. Part of that expanded role would be including US teens in strengthening their peacebuilding skills. To assess this opportunity, CFP launched the 2021 Pilot Peacebuilding Seminar for US Teens in the spring. With a limit of 20 teens in this pilot, CFP successfully recruited teens from California, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and Virginia. 
The nine-session pilot involved renowned thought leaders in conflict resolution; historical perspectives on the conflicts in Cyprus, Israel, and Palestine; communication skills; active listening; and free vs. responsible speech, to name only a few of the topics. Experts in these fields volunteered their time and included:
  • Dr. Fred Luskin;
  • Dr. Shani Robbins;
  • Rhonda Gassow,
  • JD/mediator;
  • Dr. Eleftheros Michael;
  • Dr. Warren Muir, founder and former Executive Director of Cyprus Friendship Program and former ED of the Children’s Friendship Program, Northern Ireland;
  • Gordon Atkinson, JD; andCFP alumni from the areas of conflict we serve.
During the final session, the US teens presented what they learned to members of CFP leadership as well as the Board of Directors. 
Due to their very engaged participation and willingness to attend 8-9 of the 9-session program, all teen participants graduated with Certificates of Excellence. They were asked to complete surveys assessing the value and quality of the pilot program. Given the very positive survey results and the potential for US teen hosts to help keep alumni connected throughout their lives, CFP’s leadership team is assessing opportunities to carry forward this training of US teens.
The second strategic initiative explored was how to strengthen even further the bonds of friendship created between opposing sides of each conflict. As a result, the Cyprus Friendship Programme Alumni Association hosted its first virtual post-program educational event in August, which is reported above.

Becky Stirn
Alumni Relations Coordinator