Remarks by SRSG Lisa Buttenheim at the launch of Home for Cooperation - 6 May 2011
Speech Ms. Lisa Buttenheim, Special Representative
of the Secretary-General
and UNFICYP Chief of Mission
Launch of Home for Cooperation
6 May 2011
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be addressing you today and to see so many of our friends and partners gathered together for this important event. Looking around, I feel as though I am at a dynamic think-tank given the collective knowledge represented here across so many disciplines.
In addition to knowledge, resources and personnel, we need ideas to inspire hope and find solutions to issues of common concern. Ideas brought the United Nations to life and continue to sustain it in carrying out countless projects throughout the globe. By sharing ideas from different walks of life, by listening to each other’s visions, we can find solutions to interconnected issues and problems. The act of teaching, learning and sharing knowledge itself builds bridges among people and fosters hope for future generations.
The Home for Cooperation is a project borne out of an idea from the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research. It is a clear manifestation of these ideals. Contacts to be made, and relationships built within these walls, will help Cypriots develop different perspectives, which in my view, is an essential element of a lasting peace and stability in Cyprus.
The Home for Cooperation aims to be living proof of what is possible with education in Cyprus, a common space for cooperation based on mutual respect. It will provide new opportunities to bring together fresh ideas and trust to the debate that is so critical across the island.
The United Nations has consistently underscored the importance of a vibrant and engaged civil society and an informed public in moving the peace process forward and in ensuring the sustainability of a future agreement. With the launch of this initiative today, we have the possibility to advance these efforts and ideals.
While providing institutional support to civil society organizations, the Home for Cooperation will also provide a common space where researchers, educators, historians, artists and others, from both communities and beyond, will come together to learn, to test and share ideas, demonstrating along the way the tremendous potential and promise that cooperation and dialogue hold for Cyprus.
It is with this in mind that the United Nations, through UNDP-ACT, has supported both the building of the Home for Cooperation and AHDR itself, in order to contribute to a sustainable mechanism for long-term peace building efforts in Cyprus.
While Cyprus remains divided today, it is an island whose inhabitants are bound together by a common culture and history. Across the island we have witnessed increasing numbers of Cypriots take part in events and activities which encourage deeper personal bonds and greater understanding.
We, at the United Nations, thank the members of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research for inspiring us with this wonderful project and the commitment and determination on their part to make a dream come true. We are truly privileged to have been able to play even a small part in supporting this dream.