About the PRIO Cyprus Centre
Since its inception in 2005, the PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC) has functioned as an independent, bi-communal research centre. The Centre is committed to research and dialogue. Its aim is to contribute to an informed public debate on key issues relevant to an eventual settlement of the Cyprus problem. Its ambition is to achieve this through the establishment and dissemination of information and by offering new analysis, and through facilitating dialogue. The researchers attached to the Centre are both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots as well as individuals of other nationalities.
The inter-linkage between research, informing public debate, and political decision-making is at the core of the Centre’s activities; its research should always be of public interest and be disseminated in understandable language, alongside academic publications. Most of the research output is presented in the English, Greek and Turkish languages. Through its network, projects and dialogue forums, the PRIO Cyprus Centre aims to foster cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and strengthen regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean at large. The PRIO Cyprus Centre offers an important meeting place for people from both sides of the divided island.
The PCC is located in Nicosia, Cyprus, within the territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), but within walking distance of the crossing points through the Green Line. The Centre also has an office in the Home for Cooperation, in the Nicosia UN Buffer Zone. The Centre is managed locally by the Director, Dr. Harry-Zachary Tzimitras. Research is carried out by a number of Senior Consultants and other associated researchers. Currently, these include Cypriots from both sides and others, conducting the research and leading the main projects. The Centre strives to maintain an equitable participation of male and female project researchers and staff, contributing to a sustained gender focus on the Cyprus conflict, in line with UN resolution 1325.
Since 2005, the PRIO Cyprus Centre has provided a meeting place for Cypriots across the divide, facilitated debates and dialogue, and addressed sensitive issues by disseminating research that offers new perspectives and new facts. The bi-communal character of the Centre, unique in Cyprus, is in itself important as it demonstrates the capability of Cypriots from different backgrounds to undertake joint research, facilitated by the PCC’s ability to host debates in neutral venues. The PRIO Cyprus Centre continues to be in an excellent position to exert a positive impact on the process of negotiations and reconciliation in Cyprus. After 40 years of conflict, and over 30 years of separation, two equally exclusive official narratives have been constructed and solidified. They have a solid grasp on the population, and such divisive narratives can be overcome only through increased information and debate involving different segments of society, including minorities.
The collective knowledge and analytic capacity of the PCC staff is frequently sought by a range of local, international and multinational organisations. This allows for a wide dissemination of the Centre’s research findings through media, academic publications, and diplomatic channels. This broad dissemination of PCC research and expertise enables it to contribute to public understanding of and debate on issues central to the on-going negotiations, including the hydrocarbons debate, contested property, demography, governance, implementation of human rights, and electoral systems. In addition, over the last few years, the PCC has been active in bringing to the fore issues that either the negotiations have generally sidelined, such as minority rights and gender equality, or ones that have largely been presented in a fragmented and unilateral fashion, like hydrocarbons. Recent civil society initiatives focusing on, among others, the implementation of resolution 1325, the management of historical memory, forced displacement, and truth-seeking and reconciliation, have included PCC representation. The contributions of PCC researchers are often requested by international bodies, the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Cyprus, the Council of Europe, the Norwegian Refugee Council, the International Crisis Group, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.S. Department of State, various diplomatic missions on the island and foreign parliamentary and state policy commissions.
The PCC actively collaborates with civil society groups, universities and individuals active in the debate on the future of Cyprus. Continuing a time-honoured relationship, one body that PCC has had a long-term relation with is the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR). PCC and AHDR have been joining forces towards the fulfilment of common vision and goals, both at a bilateral level and within the framework of wider collaborative projects. One such is the continued cooperation in the context of the “Home for Cooperation” project, in the Nicosia Buffer Zone, also supported through the Norway/ EEA grants. PCC is morally and financially contributing to the project, through the rental both of permanent office space at the Home and its conference venue for the organization of events. As a further tangible outcome of the Centre’s and the Association’s teamwork, recently the project Cyprus Critical History Archive, commonly undertaken by PCC and AHDR, came to fruition, with the launching of the Archive’s electronic data base. The PCC also maintains strong ties with research centres and NGOs in Greece and Turkey. PCC collaboration with the Turkish Economic and Social Research Foundation (TESEV) has resulted recently in three workshops having been organized in Tbilisi, Georgia, Istanbul and Nicosia, as part of a project on the new foreign policy and image of Turkey in the post-Ottoman spaces (Middle East, South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia-Caucasus).