Marios

Cypriot Delegation, 1998
Seeds of Peace Fellow, 2017

IMPACT: SOCIAL

Using children’s books to bridge the Cyprus divide.

How has Seeds of Peace had an impact on you?

I am a passionate educator with a global perspective and a profound belief that education is the primary tool in promoting a culture of peace. My teaching style emphasizes the necessity for culturally relevant pedagogy and urges people to think critically, engage in dialogue, and explore the world to its fullest.

I recently returned to Cyprus after eight years of graduate school in the US, culminating in my PhD in Education (Culture, Curriculum & Change) from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where I focused on Peace Education.

How are you impacting your community?

I was born on a divided island trapped in an intractable conflict.

While Cyprus continues to be divided, people from both sides can now cross the ceasefire line. However, there are still mental barriers, and “the other” remains “the other.”

I believe in the power of stories, so I decided to write a series of children’s books that are culturally relevant and that are based on principles and techniques of peace education. Through these stories, children will learn about the other and the old (and divided) city of Nicosia.

I want to put a crack on the invisible walls that keep us apart.

For my GATHER Fellowship project, my partners and I are also translating children’s books written by Cypriot authors into Greek or Turkish, and forming a non-profit organization called Children’s Books Tell Stories of Peace.

I hope that our publications will serve as bridges between people from all communities of the island and provide the space for cultural exploration and dialogue while promoting tolerance, nonviolence, and the power of working together.

“The culture of othering is the product of a variety of factors forced upon children, including family, school, and society. There is a space, though, where children are the master of themselves: their imagination.”