Cyprus

IMTD visited Cyprus in 1993. “We asked the people what their needs were, we listened to them and learned that they wanted to move out of the stalemate,” explains Ambassador McDonald. For that end, IMTD worked for 15 months separately with the Muslims in the North and the Christians in the South identifying their needs and aspirations. At the end of the 15 months IMTD brought them together on the green line, 6 people from each side. The participants had never met before but they were leaders in their respective communities: political, economic, cultural, and business.

Over the next eight years IMTD and others trained over 2,500 Greek and Turkish Cypriots together from all strata of the community in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and leadership skills.

Suddenly, in 2005, the deputy prime minister of the Turkish Muslim North raised the gates on the green line which had been closed since 1964. He urged everyone to cross to the other side to see where they had once lived because both had coexisted in peace for a 1,000 years at one time on the island. In the first 24 hours, 5,000 people crossed the green line. Over the next three months 700,000 people crossed the green line. People moved back and forth freely for the first time in many decades.

The deputy prime minister of the Turkish Muslim North was one of the six people on the Muslim side who had met with six people on the Christian side in 1993.