Embodying “home”: 10 years of cooperation
- the house, apartment, etc. where you live
- the family you come from
- a place of origin, or the place where a person belongs
The word ‘home’ carries different meanings. For some people in Cyprus, it carries the memories of the past, with a feeling of nostalgia. For some, it relates to the present. For some, it’s a feeling of belonging, and for some it’s where they see their future.
In our understanding, what makes up a home are the people, the memories, the dreams and hopes that are shared. This is why we chose the name Home for Cooperation” 10 years ago, for a building which would bring back life to the once-vibrant Markou Drakou street in Nicosia. A building which had to be abandoned, soon after it was built, and became one of the first witnesses of the division in Cyprus.
2011 was the year that all these changed. The Home for Cooperation (H4C), established by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), officially opened its doors on the 6th of May 2011, as a research and educational centre. Providing a neutral space, easily accessible from across the divide, the H4C brought together several educators, academics, and activists over the years, who designed and implemented countless educational programs, various projects and initiatives that grew and took their own paths to peacebuilding.
The building itself makes a clear statement: it reclaims and transforms an area which has been named “no man’s land” or “dead zone”, defined by antagonism and conflict, into an area of cooperation. The Home brought a new lens through which to look at the buffer zone and challenged the dominant narratives around it. This has been the message communicated through our logo in the past decade, symbolizing water being stirred, waves forming an open-ended circle with an outlook towards the future, shaping into the H4C building:
We have travelled a long way in 10 years. Today, in 2021, the Home for Cooperation with a strong physical presence in the buffer zone, is an intercommunal community centre, welcoming and growing with the contribution of diverse communities living in our island.
Let’s take a moment to let that sink in. What does one imagine when they hear the term “buffer zone”?
Today, we know that it’s not impossible to imagine an arts festival or a concert taking place in the buffer zone. We know that we can have a coffee and hear children singing songs of peace at the same time.
All these are happening in the buffer zone, at a unique place we call, the Home for Cooperation. This is a paradigm shift in action, led by the people who call Cyprus ‘Home’.
In our 10th year, we are reflecting on our work, restating our commitment to our values and working principles. This reflection extends further to our appearance. With our new logo, we embrace the diversity which enriches our society. We embrace all the differences which help define each one of us. Yet, celebrate all that connects us:
Our new logo is a visual representation of how we perceive Cyprus, as our home, and how this relates to our work at the Home for Cooperation. Our Home is made up of different elements, unique in their own way. Without all the elements working together in unison, the Home would cease to exist. Yet, at the same time, the Home remains an open space, welcoming all, ready to be filled with new memories.
With our new look, we emphasize our readiness to face any challenges the future might hold for peacebuilders in Cyprus and renew our commitment to continue planting seeds of peace in people’s minds, hearts, and lives.
We hope that you will share our excitement in this process of change and growth and join us in our efforts towards paving the way for a better Cyprus, characterized by peace, diversity, respect, and equality.
Last but not least, we would like to thank George Souglides, who is the creative talent behind our new look, and has been passionately working with us to create a visual representation of our messages in the best way possible. A warm thank you also to Victoria Varda, who created the animation to demonstrate the dynamic nature behind it.
Hayriye Rüzgar, H4C Communications Officer