In June and July 2004, CMES took 12 teachers to Cyprus for a 4 week travel seminar and curriculum-building project sponsored by a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant. This trip introduced teachers to both the ethnically Greek south and Turkish-occupied north: they traveled to both sides of the island at a unique period in its history, soon after a referendum to unite Cyprus failed to pass and the island entered the European Union in its divided state. The teachers learned a good deal about divided and border communities and several planned to create lesson plans based on their experiences in Cyprus that also incorporate local Mexican/American issues.
While in Cyprus, teachers attended a series of lectures, seminars and discussions with scholars from Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriotuniversities, local teachers and Department of Education officialsfrom both communities,and other scholars and community figures. The focus of this project was the study of geography, cultural anthropology, religion, architecture, urbanization, environment and cross-cultural issues. Teacher participants developed curriculum for use in their classrooms and to share with other teachers through CMES.
The tour was preceded by “Cyprus: Crossroads of Cultures,” a K-12 Teachers Workshop in April and May that prepared the teachers for their trip and also provided materials and background for other K-12 educators who attended the sessions. The Teach Cyprus program was the fourth in a series of successful Fulbright-Hays funded K-12 projects organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; the previous trips went to Syria, Turkey, and Morocco between 2000 and 2003.