In all the years of search for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island under a bi-communal federal government, one unchanging fact – which also constitutes the main barrier to the negotiation process – has been the deep distrust between the two sides. As part of a broader project which recognizes this fact, this thematic report on Higher Education seeks to explore possible structures of genuine cooperation that may both alleviate distrust and foster substantial collaboration across the dividing line promoting a logic of interdependence that can be constructive to peace building. This Report focuses on inter-communal contact and exchange in Cyprus' Higher Education Institutions and its potential to build trust and cooperation. After a brief mapping of the Cyprus' Higher Education field in the two parts of the island, the Report reviews the relevant international literature on universities as sites of cooperation, exchange and peace-culture-building in conflict ridden societies. Subsequently, some examples of past and existing academic cooperation in Cyprus are mentioned in the fields of research and teaching. The Report then discusses the obstacles, opportunities and possibilities that currently exist given the prevailing political as well as structural conditions. The Report is based on a series of anonymous interviews and focus groups with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot academics from various disciplines currently working in several universities across the dividing line. The last section of Report specifies a series of policy recommendations.
Ioannou, Gregoris & Sertac Sonan (2019) Inter-Communal Contact and Exchange in Cyprus’ Higher Education Institutions: Their Potential to Build Trust and Cooperation. PRIO Cyprus Centre Report: 8. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.