Roots of Cyprus Friendship Program
The Cyprus Friendship Program is based upon the successful all-volunteer Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland, Inc. Peggy Barrett, a housewife in Pennsylvania, supported by her husband, Jack, founded CFPNI in 1987 based upon the simple vision that the divisions in Northern Ireland could only be overcome by building understanding, trust, and friendships between the teenaged leaders of the future from the two communities. Friendships would be supported by Americans who would host a cross-community pair of teens and who would continue to support their friendships in the future.
CFPNI ended after Summer 2007, only because the situation in Northern Ireland had improved to such a degree that bringing teens from the two communities to the US was no longer needed for friendship-building. Over its 21 years, CFPNI brought teens from more than 2,000 different families in Northern Ireland and hosted them in about two-dozen different areas of the US. An enormous network of friendships remain that were formed through the program.
Several of CFP host families and US coordinators were active in CFPNI. Peggy’s vision lives on, and she had a chance to meet all the 2009 CFP teens, when they were in the US. (See picture).
While the Cyprus Friendship Program is based upon the Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland, it was founded in 2009 by HasNa, Inc., a Washington-DC-based non-profit organization. HasNa promotes understanding and economic empowerment in culturally-divided areas of the world and encourages individuals and communities in such areas to work together toward advancement and peaceful coexistence.
HasNa’s programs integrate all members of a community through the fabric of social justice and professional development. It nurtures this vision by planting seeds of peace in communities across a troubled world.
HasNa works at the grassroots level to create communication and collaboration among ethnically divided peoples, providing the tools and ongoing assistance to support small-scale, sustainable efforts aimed at economic and social development.
CFP is grateful to HasNa for providing most of the financial support of CFP during its two-year pilot phase and for continuing to work with CFP in Cyprus.