First Cross-community internships launched in Cyprus

“There is one Cyprus and architecture only has one language” was the message sent by Michalis Constantinou and Salih Gulercan, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding which stipulates that Salih will do an internship at Michalis’ company for three months.

The internship which was presented, among many other such internships on Thursday at the House of Cooperation in Nicosia, constitutes part of the programme “Leading by example” funded by the EU and implemented by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

The project which aims to contribute to the dialogue, trust, cooperation, and reconciliation between civil societies, including the business communities, throughout Cyprus, and increase the involvement of Cyprus’ civil society in decision making processes aims at successfully completing 24 cross – community internships.

So far the selection committee has successfully matched a total of 12 Turkish Cypriot interns with 12 Greek Cypriot hosting companies and a total of 9 Greek Cypriot interns with 6 Turkish Cypriot companies.

Three more Greek Cypriot interns will be matched in 2016.

Through the programme, young Cypriots are expected to gain an outstanding work experience within the other community, gaining valuable professional skills towards their subsequent working lives while mastering the working and cultural environment in the other community.

The programme is expected to conclude in April 2016. The internship salary comes to €500 per month.

Addressing the event on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber Kemal Baykali said that the chamber’s cooperation with CCCI is not limited to economic matters.

Both chambers, he said, support reconciliation and a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible because “we believe that it will help us fulfil our potential in full as Cypriots and will have economic benefits for both communities and Cyprus as whole.”

Addressing the press conference on behalf of CCCI Lefteris Paschalides said the programme includes a range of activities in 2016. He noted that together with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce they will establish a “Park for Cooperation” in the buffer zone across the street from Ledra Palace aiming to create a common outdoor space for bazaar – style and cultural bi-communal events. They will also launch the “Nicosia ring tour”, an initiative financing the compiling of a techno-economic feasibility study for a hop – on/ hop off bus service travelling around Nicosia in both communities.

“We are building bridges,” he said, adding that “we hope a solution will be achieved soon and we want to send the message that when the solution comes we will have Greek Cypriots working in Turkish Cypriot companies and vice versa. Besides, we are all Cypriots.”

On her part Michaela Foresti on behalf of the European Commission spoke of the EU support of the Turkish Cypriot community and mainly for development projects and projects promoting reconciliation and civil society.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks resumed in May aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Source: CNA

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