Social Mediation Programme
In May 2018, with an initial grant of the Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK and the support of the School of Law at the Cyprus campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan Cyprus), the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM) produced a Handbook for professionals on Social Mediation in Cyprus, which aims to inform and assist practitioners such as public servants, NGO staff and members, community workers, youth workers, teachers, non-formal trainers and educators with the use of Social Mediation as a conflict resolution method in a social or professional setting. In July 2018 a pilot workshop introduced the content of the Handbook to a group of individuals from the education, NGO, and law enforcement sectors. This activity was then followed by four workshops under the Social Mediation in Practice project from November 2019 to March 2020, which was supported by the British High Commission in Nicosia, Cyprus. Each of the two-day workshops had a bi-communal character and took place along the United Nations administered buffer zone, at the Famagusta Avenue Garage in Deryneia, the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia, and the premises of UCLan Cyprus in Pyla. This project concluded in September 2020, with the Social Mediation Conference and the launch of the Social Mediators’ Network. Participants included trained Social Mediators from both Cypriot communities, who had participated in the workshops mentioned above. Based on the feedback, the ideas and the areas prioritised by the workshop participants, we produced a report summarising the main points on the conference.
The Social Mediators’ Network aims to facilitate the long-term communication among trained social mediators. It has a horizontal structure, which allows peer-to-peer collaboration and currently counts over 30 members, from Europe, Africa, and Asia.
In February and March 2021 ICLAIM continued its activities on Social Mediation under the theme of Social Mediation for Social Transitions. The workshops were delivered by ICLAIM with the support of UCLan Cyprus and a grant from the University of Central Lancashire Centre for Sustainable Transitions (UCLan CST). Building on previous experience, the activities trained individuals in Social Mediation through a two-day online workshop, followed by an online Roundtable Discussion, which aimed at bringing together old and new Social Mediators’ Network members, to set priorities and identify useful approaches in using Social Mediation in societies characterised by continuous social, political, economic and technological transitions, especially in times of pandemic. The Manual on Social Mediation for Social Transitions, is the result of this project and envisages to expand the contexts within which Social Mediation can be employed as a conflict resolution tool.
From November 2021 to January 2022, ICLAIM and UCLan Cyprus continued their successful collaboration with the British High Commission in Nicosia, and launched a new project on Identity, Culture & Social Mediation for Cyprus. The aim of the project was to build specifically on the project’s potential as a peacebuilding tool. The project took a deeper look on the socio-cultural realities in Cyprus across the continuous division of the island, addressing questions of identity and culture across all Cypriot communities, and religious groups. Following the activities under the project, we published the Social Mediation Manual on Culture in Divided Societies, which was enriched with practical recommendations, theoretical and empirical data, addressed to local and international networks working on Peacebuilding.
From October 2022 to May 2023 the project Social Mediation and the Strengthening of Rule of Law in Cyprus (SOMEROL), undertaken by UCLan Cyprus, ICLAIM and the Cyprus Peace and Dialogue Centre (CPDC) was delivered, supported by the British High Commission in Nicosia. The aim of the project was to enhance the delivery of capacity building activities on Social Mediation, with a particular focus on strengthening the Rule of Law in Cyprus, on either side of the UN administered buffer zone. The project employed previous findings, especially regarding divided societies, which raise challenging theoretical and practical questions in terms of conflict prevention, management, and resolution. In addition, by turning the focus on the Rule of Law principle, the SOMEROL project dealt with issues of transparency, corruption, media-freedom, and counter-information, as relevant, from policy, industry, civil society, and educational perspectives, in an inter-communal context. The SOMEROL project benefited from the expertise of the EU-funded Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Rule of Law and European Values CRoLEV (2022-25) running at the School of Law of UCLan Cyprus. The key deliverables of the project were: Two Training Workshops on Social Mediation and the Rule of Law; a Roundtable discussion; a Training Workshop on Deep Democracy, a two-day Closing Conference and a Social Mediation and the Strengthening of Rule of Law in Cyprus Proceedings Report.
The Social Mediation programme has enjoyed widespread international recognition for its potential! Following the initial success of the project in Cyprus, ICLAIM received the 2020 European Citizen Prize from the European Parliament for Social Mediation in Practice. The symbolic award is given annually to projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation or promote mutual understanding within the European Union. For more information, you may view the Media and Gallery sections.
In January 2022, the programme was selected as one of five Global Solutions across the world to support the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme was presented across the globe at the 2022 Global Solutions Forum in Dubai, organised by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), following a competition organised during the SDSN Initiatives Lab, co-organised with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). GIZ has been supporting ICLAIM’s ongoing efforts to expand the project globally, in collaboration with organisations from across the world.
University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus (ongoing)
The Lancashire Research Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change, University of Central Lancashire, UK (2018)
University of Central Lancashire Centre for Sustainable Transitions, Preston, UK (UCLan CST) (2021)
British High Commission in Cyprus (2019-2020, 2021-2022, 2022-23)
German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) (2021-2022)
ICLAIM Experts participating in this project:
Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou, Nadia Kornioti, Katerina Antoniou, Pinar Zubaroglu-Ioannides (2020-2021), Zora Kizilyurek (2020-2021)
Project website: www.social-mediation.org
Handbook on Social Mediation for Professionals
Manual on Social Mediation for Social Transitions
Social Mediation Manual on Culture in Divided Societies
Social Mediation Conference and Network Launch Report
Social Mediation Conference 2020 – Video
Social Mediation and the Strengthening of Rule of Law in Cyprus (SOMEROL)