CMES organized a four-week curriculum-building travel seminar in 2007. Funded by a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad grant, the project took twelve K-12 teachers to Cyprus to learn about its environment, history and culture, and especially about how conflict has shaped the lives of its people. It was the sixth in a series of Teach Country CMES/Fulbright trips that have also visited Morocco, Syria and Turkey. Participants engaged in a series of lectures and activities in the target country, purchased classroom resources and created curriculum units to share with wider K-12 communities.
Teach Cyprus began with a workshop in April 2007 that focused upon teaching about conflict in the Middle East. Local faculty and guest speakers discussed the conflict in Cyprus, as well as those in other Middle East regions. The methods of conflict resolution addressed can be applied in other situations, including those found in classrooms. All workshops were open to K-16 educators beyond those selected for the trip.
The in-country portion was led by Kate Mackay, former CMES Assistant Director, Benjamin Broome, Arizona State University Human Communication Professor, and Jim Bowman, UA Ph.D. candidate. All three have lived and worked in Cyprus and their research addresses both Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities. The schedule on the island comprised trips to sites of historical and cultural significance, as well as visits to schools, meetings with secondary and post-secondary educators, and with a variety of other scholars and community leaders.The last week focused entirely upon conflict resolution and included visits to UN organizations and the old Nicosia airport (abandoned since the 1974 Turkish invasion), meetings with former political leaders of both north and south, and with groups working toward a lasting solutionto the current division of Cyprus.
Upon their return to the United States, the participants incorporated the experience into their teaching, developed lesson plans/curriculum units that will be soon be posted on the CMES website, and gave presentations in their schools or at local teachers’ workshops. Hopefully, the experience abroad will continue to enrich their lives and those of their students.