Student Diplomacy in Cyprus- Amalia

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On the weekend of February 9-11 I participated in MEDIMUN, a model UN conference in Cyprus. Going into this trip I was completely in the dark, walking into the unknown. I have never been to Cyprus before, never participated in a Model UN conference with MEDIMUN’s procedure, and only met the rest of the Debate for Peace delegation a couple of times before the trip. However, this weekend exceeded all of my expectations, through the long drive from the airport and the intense days at the conference we all stuck together, helped each other, and became one big family.

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The majority of the delegates in MEDIMUN were Cypriot, but apart from our delegation there were two other delegations coming from abroad: the Shanghai delegation and the Jordan delegation. On our last night in Cyprus we had dinner with them, but first we met with the Jordanian delegation at their hotel. We were divided into two groups where we had the opportunity to discuss significant topics with very diverse point of views.

My group had to discuss the Palestinian flag. At first I didn’t think I had anything to add to the discussion because how will I, a Jewish girl, have anything to add to this conversation when around me there are people who are much more relevant to the subject. However, as we went around the circle and each person said their opinion I realized that there is no such thing as not being relevant to a topic. That is a great thing Model UN taught me, no matter where you live and what is your ethnic background every topic around the world should be admissible to you. This trip further implemented that ideology into my mind and I hope the next time I feel like I did in that circle before I decided to speak, I would remember this realization.
After the discussion all three delegations went to a nearby restaurant to eat dinner together. Towards the end of the meal a Jordanian girl, a Jewish girl, and I exchanged words regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During this conversation I noticed that even though we were at opposite sides of the conflict we had similar experiences with people outside of the conflict. This made me relieved, it was proof that we are not different like some claim and that frankly we are more the same than we are not.
This experience has been truly eye opening and I have gained so much knowledge only in that too short of a weekend. I would like to thank Steven Aiello, our director, for giving me this wonderful opportunity, taking 18 teens abroad, and providing us with an intense, but enriching schedule. This couldn’t have happened without your motivation to inspire us to step out of our comfort zone and achieve our full potential.

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Student Diplomacy in Cyprus- Sharehan

It was a really amazing opportunity to achieve our goals and a worthy experience. Despite some social obstacles, the debate took its course… As a student in Debate ForPeace, I was really so proud and honored to participate in the MEDIMUN conference. It gave us new experiences for creating unlimited goals for ourselves, as it made us aware of our position towards our society by giving us confidence in ourselves and the opportunity to improve our abilities as young people. “Builders of the future” for making a positive change in our community to the next generations for better future✌.

 

 

 

 

 

In the debate, we had many wonderful opportunities to develop social skills and work to devise new ways to build bridges of peace, cooperation and brotherhood between all different communities. I am really fortunate and proud of myself for being a part of the debate. And, indeed, the world would benefit from more projects to achieve peace and success in all scientific fields. Traveling to Cyprus has played an important role in encouraging young generations to improve the future and make the place a peaceful and safe place. In the end, the main role in the society is we “young people”. We are the future generations. So we must believe in a good and beautiful future✌

 

 

 

 

 

By: Sharehan

Student Diplomacy in Cyprus- Malak

The weekend of the 9th-11th of February was a unique, fruitful, and educational weekend. In which, I learned a lot about countries, MUN conferences, and most importantly, about other people around me and myself. I learned that I could be living near a person who comes from a totally different background, but can still share a similar perspective with me concerning so many topics.
It was definitely not my first co-existence, bi-national and out of country experience, but it sure added *a lot* to my previously gained knowledge and to the idea of certain topics that I have been forming, for quite a few years within the beginning of my journey to co-existence.
Arabs, and Jews, *we* shared the same food, hostel, and jokes.
On Sunday we all together went into a Church: Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
As a Christian, it was normal for me to enter the Church, and the prayers were very familiar even though they’re in Greek, but for the hijabi Muslim and the Jew wearing a kippah, it might not have been. As where I still remember how people inside the Church were very surprised and looking at them constantly for the 5 minutes that we were inside. It surely wasn’t normal, but surely it was beautiful! I remember how my heartbeats were fast and focus on people around me was strong.
I wanted to read those people’ minds and know what they’re thinking, at last I looked behind me and there I saw a member of us explaining to a local citizen what is happening and why we’re here, which briefly comforted me, that our pure intention of love, unity, peace and co-existence, was actually being explained and passed in the right form.
As for the MUN conference it was my very first abroad and second at all, working and preparing for it was tough but very beneficial and knowledge gaining. It was very competitive and intense during the first day of lobbying time, to make sure that your opinion is heard and taken into consideration while forming resolutions, I had to use all of my leadership skills and experience and put it into action. At last, things were working out and I was doing well enough for the second conference, maybe the lack of experience made it harder for me to know how to find things to say and participate more in my committee, (when in addition it was the biggest committee in the conference). Yet, still, I cannot deny that watching other delegates act and speak had taught me a lot for the upcoming MUN conferences.

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At last I would like to thank our amazing director Mr. Steven Aiello for all that he had done, whether it was taking a *huge* responsibility for 18 teens abroad or for being a peacebuilding teacher, or for being an example to each and every one of us of how to reach our goals and build a better future for ourselves and the ones around us in the beautiful world that we share.

By: Malak Lahham from Nazareth

Ambassador Shambos: Shape Your Future

 

Briefing with Ambassador Shambos before the delegation

 

From February 8-11, Debate for Peace led a delegation of 18 students to the MEDIMUN conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. The delegation was planned with the help of the Embassy of Cyprus in Tel Aviv, and included a pre-trip briefing with Ambassador Shambos. Ambassador Shambos issued the follow remarks to the delegation on the occasion of their return:

Dear DfP participants,
I had the good  fortune to first  meet Steven and your  wonderful team last summer, and learn more about the crucial work done through Debate for Peace,  in bringing together Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian students from all over Israel and beyond, through your participation in Model UN conferences.

I was hence delighted to observe that students like yourselves debate, negotiate and aim to resolve the most difficult and pressing challenges in international relations as a perfectly unisoned team.  It is this consiliatory team spirit that gave me the idea that the DfP participates at the Mediterranean Model UN (MEDIMUN) in Cyprus  – something that I’m happy to learn proved to be an amazing experience.

I am  honoured to actively second your cause because you prove that what  you do matters. It matters because  I represent a country of which a third has been invaded and that, after four and a half decades, still experiences the tragic results of foreign invasion and illegal military occupation, which forcibly continues to divide the two communities of Cyprus (Greek and Turkish Cypriots).

I hence understand how important it is to support young people that have the courage to look forward. Young people that break down stereotypes and cause  paradigm shifts.  Youth that builds bridges of understanding. That nourishes what unites us.

I hence salute your strength to be representatives of peace building. You are aware that your job is not easy. Because after all peace is not easy. This is why it is all the more important to support you as you cultivate messages of tolerance and integration, with respect to diversity and pluralism.

In this journey we cannot but stand by your side and do our little bit to help you make true your vision of a better and sustainable future for your generation and beyond .

What is also crucial is that as you grow older, and as from young participants in DfP  you become responsible members of your societies, decision-shapers and decision-makers, you don’t lose sight of the vision you have today. I hope you carry the torch of a different, better reality with you, throughout your lives.

You are the shapers of your future. Make it your own. You have Cyprus ‘ unwavering support.

Thessalia S. Shambos

Members of the delegation in Cyprus

MEDIMUN Thoughts: Join the Movement!

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We’ve started a movement. It wasn’t clear immediately, but it is now. Those are my thoughts after yet another extraordinary delegation, this time to the MEDIMUN conference in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Everywhere we go as a group–students of all faiths and backgrounds– Jews, Muslims, Christians, Israelis and Palestinians, laughing and learning together, we open eyes. In the airport, on the street, on the train, walking around as a group leads to the inevitable question: “Who are you?”

And the answer–concise or detailed depending on the situation, is less important than the question. Because the question means that we’re challenging how people think; breaking stereotypes; changing paradigms. The question itself means that we’ve succeeded in helping people to think of a different, better reality, a world that we’ve managed to create for ourselves as a group.

As impressive as everything else is–high school students competing in high-level diplomatic simulations on challenging topics, often in their second or third languages; meeting diplomats and conflict resolution specialists; tackling the most difficult topics that others are afraid to touch, the most striking thing about our group is that it has morphed into a family–a beautiful, diverse, multiethnic, multireligious and bi-national family. That’s clear to everyone who sees the group. It it confuses observers, hopefully they see how happy everyone is together and are inspired as well. Because at this point we’re a movement, and we’ll only continue to grow. So join us!

Humility, Diversity and Beauty in Kosovo

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to go to the beautiful country of Kosovo, and participate in KIMUN 2017.

It was an unforgettable and a unique experience. An experience that taught me a lot– starting with the history of Kosovo, to the latent beauty in a simple life with humble people.

The people in Kosovo are incredibly humble, nice and sweet. They offered their help at anywhere and anytime. There is diversity there and it is inspiring how much they’re connected to their history.

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Moreover, the conference was interestingly different: its system was different, delegates were a part of 2-3 committees throughout the whole conference, we got to debate and vote in the parliament itself.

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In conclusion, I am very blessed to have had the chance to go to Kosovo, meet the incredible people there and participate in such an interesting conference. I will for sure give it another visit in the near future.

By: Nour Suliman

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A Trip to a Newborn Country: We’ll Be Back!

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The first week of December, I and 10 other high school students were honored to have the opportunity to travel abroad to Kosovo for a Model United Nation conference, “KIMUN”.

Our group included students from three religions: 5 Muslims, 1 Christian and 5 Jews. Not only in religion was the group different, but also in opinion and ideas. But with all those differences we found a lot more similarities between us, and because of those differences and similarities we become such a big family that care for each other and love one another, and I proudly call them my family.

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We were traveling as part of an organization that gave us this amazing chance called “Debate for Peace”, that has as one of its main aims to try to achieve peace between Arab and Jewish students, and in my opinion we have definitely reached that goal in this trip.

I’ve learned so much in my time in Kosovo, about the country and its history; the history of the nationality of the Kosovo people.

The People there fought strongly to defend their country through the years so that Kosovo can have its independence, which it finally achieved in 2008. That’s why it’s still called a “New Born”.

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Fortunately, we went to beautiful and wonderful places in Kosovo that are filled with history and stories and met with some incredible people that told us about more amazing historical events that happened in Kosovo. I would love to visit more places there and see more sites that mean so much to the citizens.

The people of Kosovo welcomed us so warmly from the start of our journey till the end; with open arms and huge smiles, they are very kind and so amazing that you can’t help but care for them and call them your friends.

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This Model UN conference was very effective for me in so many ways. One of them is to have the confidence to stand up straight in front a group that includes students who are younger than me and also older, to give my speech with raised voice showing no hesitation.

I honestly can’t wait to go back to Kosovo, to see those wonderful, amazing, great people again and also to see more of what Kosovo has to offer. This trip was the most memorable experience in my life.

By: Alia Habiballah

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