Donor: United Nations Development Programme - Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP-ACT)
Implementing parties: The NGO Support Centre (as the leading partner), SeeD and University of Nicosia)
Dates: 01/08/2014 – 30/07/2015
This project sought to draw from the expertise and academic excellence of the organizations that comprise the implementing consortium and lay the grounds for the creation of an established, academically accredited programme on Civic Participation in Cyprus. This programme was geared towards providing students and CSO practitioners from Cyprus and the Euro-Mediterranean region with theoretical understanding and practical field knowledge, and sought to contribute to a vibrant civic society.
The project developed a face-to-face course and two online modules, which were academically accredited by the University of Nicosia. These courses were available to students and CSO activists without any restrictions in terms of ethnicity, gender or age. Additionally, a regional conference was held in Cyprus with the participation of academics and CSO practitioners from the region.
The face-to-face course, entitled, ‘State, Civil Society and Democracy’, took place between October to December 2014, and was offered free of charge by the University of Nicosia. The course, probably the first of its kind, was held in the buffer zone by a team of Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and international academics and attracted participants from and Cyprus and overseas. The participants had the opportunity to explore how their lives are shaped by the relationship between the state and civil society and examine how civic participation, citizenship and state legitimacy are conceived. The group’s diversity provided an opportunity to the participants to share their experiences and reconsider their existing convictions. The online courses attracted more than 145 participants from Cyprus and countries in the region. Throughout the lectures, participants were encouraged to re-evaluate their perceptions of citizenship and assess the impact of personal experiences, age, gender, ethnicity or religion on its conception. More importantly, the course provided the basis upon which participants can grasp the nature of citizenship and why it is at the heart of our understanding of the relationship between state and civil society.
Finally, the project developed a series of audio and audio-visual learning tools exploring various issues in the fields of democratic governance, active citizenship and civic participation. These tools along with information about the courses developed and delivered through the project can be found at the online platform Resources for Democracy.