Creating Friendships for Peace

Project Description

Creating Friendships for Peace

(fka Cyprus Friendship Program)

Project Description

Creating Friendships for Peace (CFP) is an all-volunteer people-to-people program that focuses on fostering trust and understanding through interactions between Turkish and Greek-speaking Cypriots in Cyprus and also between Israeli and Palestinian teens in the LeVant Region. CFP is not affiliated with any governmental, political, or religious organization. It takes no position on any proposed political approaches toward the future of Cyprus or Israel/Palestine. Rather, it is based on the belief that, no matter what, the future of the conflicted areas we serve the teens and their families will be enhanced by increased trust, understanding, and friendship between the future leaders of the Turkish-speaking and Greek-speaking communities in Cyprus and those of Israel and Palestine. From a generation raised in a divided society, CFP develops future leaders to find solutions for living in harmony together.

The program begins when Turkish-Cypriot teens from the north and Greek-Cypriot teens from the south and teens from Israel and Palestine (ages 15-17) apply for the program and are interviewed in a group setting.

After being selected for the program in February, the teens spend the spring season getting to know the others’ cultures and learning about each other as individuals. After about a month of interactions, they partner up with someone from the other side of the divide and become a formal “pair.” Soon after, the activities include the families of the teens, so the bonds within the communities quickly grow exponentially.

In July, the pairs of teenagers arrive in the U.S. for the U.S. Residential portion of CFP. While in the U.S., each pair lives together with an American host family for four weeks or is shared with two host families each having them for 2 weeks. The aim of this four-week residency is to promote friendship and understanding through interaction and to further develop leadership skills. The teens begin to discover what they have in common and learn to communicate and cooperate as they move together through their time in the U.S.

CFP host families reflect the economic, religious and cultural diversity of the US. Host eligibility is based upon the following three criteria:

● a politically neutral home,
● a safe home with appropriate adult supervision, and
● a bedroom for the teens to share.

Integral to the program is the bonding which occurs as the teens live with a neutral, loving American family who provide a room for them to share and welcome them into their lives.

While living with their host families, all the teens in one area get together at least once a week for the following group activities: a team building ropes course, a conflict resolution workshop, a day of community service, and a workshop on environmental issues. In addition to these leadership-training activities, the teens gather for social activities, which include their host families and friends.

Back in the home countries, the pairs’ families keep in touch, particularly to share news they receive from their teens during bi-weekly calls. It is an opportunity for each family to become accustomed to interacting with families from the other community. By the time everyone comes together for the graduation celebration in October for Cypriot teens and then in the late winter for Israeli/Palestinian teens, the families are very familiar and comfortable with each other and committed to their new relationships and CFP.

After the summer residential portion of the program, the teens return to home. For the month of August, they reunite with their families and begin their work of synthesizing this new friendship into their “old” lives. After school starts in September for example,  the Cypriot Coordinators and the teens begin organizing their graduation ceremony, which takes place in early October. The graduation ceremony is a formal celebration in which all the families and friends of the teens come together to acknowledge the mutual commitment of the teens to each other and the CFP community, and to recognize the hard work and dedication from everyone involved in this bi-communal accomplishment.

From November through January, the groundwork for the next year’s program begins. Teens and Coordinators travel all across the island, speaking in schools and community organizations and to the local and international media, spreading information about the program and inviting teens to apply. By early February, the interviews are held, and the cycle begins anew.

Project Contact Name
Tammy Haas
Project Contact Email
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Project URL (website)
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Project Location
214 SW 8th Street
Battle Ground, WA 98682
United States
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Rotary District
Club Name
Lewis River Rotary
Project Resources
There is a formal CFP organization in Cyprus as well as our USA Creating Friendships for Peace Program 501c3. Both organizations work for the common goal of raising funds to help support the program costs within each area of the United States that host teens as well as the transportation costs to bring teens to the US for the USA Residency Program. Teens come in pairs of girls and boys with one being a Turkish Cypriot and one being a Greek Cypriot and one from Israel and Palestine. They come here for one month (July only) to get away from what they know divides them and to build their relationship together in country which supports them. The program for them however starts in March and ends in October. This is 100% an all volunteer program as the leadership in Cyprus/LaVant region and the US are not compensated for their efforts nor are the families who host compensated. Funding is needed for two purposes only…to assist with the expense of the teens transportation and insurance costs which is about $4500 per pair as well as program costs which range from $2000 to $5000 per region. Currently teens come to 4 regions in the US. San Francisco, Portland, New Hampshire, Maryland and new regions are being developed. Parents of the teens are required to contribute some funds towards their child’s transportation and participation in the program.
Our main need is host families who have room to host a pair of girls or boys or either (family chooses) for the month of July. A family can host for two weeks and share the teens with another family. During the month there are about 5-7 days when the teens are involved with required program curriculum. These activities are during a week day in order to allow a family to have weekends together. Our second need is opportunities for us to speak to groups about the program which allows us to broaden our opportunity for finding host families and for fundraising as well.
Is there a Global Grant for this project?
We are currently working with NGO’s at the CFP board level to get additional support. This is an activity that our USA and Cypriot board members are responsible for versus our Area Coordinators.