Distinguished guests, dear academics and valuable rector of the University of Cyprus, I would like to salute you with my sincere feelings.
I would like to start with thanking for those who deem us, the Famagusta Initiative, worth for this prize by our contributions to the rapprochement of the communities and contributions to the multiculturalism in our island.
We are fighting against the separationist tendencies, chauvinism and the hate speech for a long time as the activists of Famagusta Initiative consisting of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. We had been involved in various actions focusing on Famagusta however it is clear that our efforts became influential across the island.
We are aware and fully conscious that our island hosted numerous civilisations, religions and cultures for more than thousands of years. With all these consciousness, I would like to say that, this island does not deserve to be an island that experiences the fights on the selfish and nationalist interests of Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots
We are responsible from the pains that we all suffered. As we did not act the consciousness of the cultures that we have inherited from this island that consists of a magnificent history of civilisation and culture.
The only way not to experience the same pains and liberate ourselves from this responsibility is only by fighting against separationist tendencies, chauvinist desires and the hate speech. It is important to develop an understanding that can go beyond the nationalist tendencies and religious fundamentalism to create a life that we can live together in peace and harmony.
This understanding can only develop by enhancing our understanding of empathy and by respecting each of the individual identity and the components that build up that identity.
Goodwill and understanding on diversity have to develop and comprehend that the differences in our identities are the richness of the people of this island. We have to see these as our most valuable asset of being from this island. Once we recognise this value as the most valuable asset, then all the components that made the conflict will be meaningless. Goodwill and understanding can enlighten the way forward for peace, and we can overcome each and every barrier.
I believe that the universities and the academics have the main responsibility to make this happen. I believe that the University of Cyprus is one of the most prestigious institutions engaging in creating such an environment with the endless efforts.
By allowing Famagusta Initiative to address you at this stage is another example of the valuable rector and the academics of the University of Cyprus’s commitment to these efforts. This event landmarks the high-level fo engagement of the university to a peaceful future. Today, it is the third time that I able to address an audience at the University of Cyprus since the last two years. Previously, I had this opportunity to speak at a workshop designed for envision a federal Cyprus and to talk about my book that discusses the common values of our island.
For this reason; I would like to thank again to the University of Cyprus by its sincere commitment to bring together the societies and contribute to the efforts for the peace and reconciliation wholeheartedly. I would like to finish my words by thanking again the rector of the University of Cyprus Mr Constantinos Christofidis and everyone who contributed this event to happen and find the Famagusta Initiative worthy of this prestigious prize.
- Dr.Okan Dağlı
- Famagusta Initiative, Activist