Maria Hadjipavlou

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Maria Hadjipavlou is an associate professor at the Social and Political Science Department of the University of Cyprus where she teaches Comparative Politics, Gender, Power and Politics, the Cyprus Conflict from a multi-disciplinary perspective, and Conflict Resolution and International Organizations. She has studied in the U.K and the U.S.A. She has a Ph.D from Boston University in Comparative Social and Political Change (1987). She was a lecturer at Boston University (1982-85); an adjunct assistant professor at Bentley College (1987-88); the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute (1988-91) and at the Pedagogical Academy (1989-91). From 1991-93 she was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and since 1991 a research associate of the Program in International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR) of the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. She was a visiting scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Columbia University, New York, (1996-1997). She was a co-founder of the Center of International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University and continues to be a research associate

She is a founding member of the Cyprus Peace Center (1991) and a founding member of the first international Cypriot Women’s’ NGO, “Hands Across the Divide”(2001). As a scholar-practitioner she has been promoting peace across the divide in Cyprus between members from the two communities and training bicommunal groups in conflict resolution skills and gender issues for over two decades. As the president of the Cyprus Peace Center, she submitted the first bicommunal research project in 2000 which investigated perceptions, stereotypes, identity, belief systems and future solutions in Cyprus. The funding organization, UNOPS, has evaluated this project as the most successful one in 2002.

She has published widely in the fields of conflict resolution and Cyprus and gender issues. She is a reviewer for various academic Journals. Research interests: Feminism, Gender and Politics, ethnicity and international conflict, the Cyprus conflict from a conflict resolution perspective, feminism and reconciliation. She is a consultant to the Council of Europe on issues of inter-cultural dialogue, racism and equality between women and men.. She is also a consultant to UNFPA and has worked with this organization on women’s issues in various countries (Afghanistan, Slovenia, Tunisia).She has coordinated (2003) a pioneer research project on “Women in all Cypriot Communities”-Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Maronite and Latin funded by the Civil Society Program of the European Union. A book in three languages-Greek, Turkish and English reported on this research. In 2006 she coordinated and was also a trainer of the UNDP-ACT funded Youth camp titled “Diversity and Coexistence Matter” in which for the first time students from Greece and Turkey worked and lived together with Cypriot students. In 2010 professor Hadjipavlou published Women and Change in Cyprus: Feminisms and Gender in Conflict, a much needed analysis of the gendered nature of the Cyprus conflict.

Regarding the aims of this workshop, professor Hadjipavlou asks: “how can we transfer changes that occur at the individual or group level to the macro level and centers of decision making? What difference and contributions can feminist voices make to building a better world for all?

Presentation title: “Cypriot citizens’ efforts toward changing the adversarial, militaristic and male dominated discourses into an environment of mutual understanding and inclusive of multiple voices in a future pluralistic Cyprus.”

Abstract: In inter-communal and  international ethno-nationalist conflicts issues of historical trauma, the dichotomy of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ misperceptions and  ethnic stereotypes, as well as violation of human rights and selective narratives are recycled and become part of the state militaristic and nationalist project. The youth, in such societies, are socialized into the conflict culture through family, schooling, the media and the wider adversarial political culture. In addition, the male dominated discourses not only ignore the gendered aspects of the conflict but also deprive women’s voices and needs to be acknowledged and be heard. Within such an environment, there are initiatives and ways that challenge this conflict culture. My presentation will discuss the connections between the field of Conflict resolution and Feminism and their contribution to opening up to new questions in our understanding of ethno-national conflicts, like the Cyprus one. I will give concrete examples from Cypriot citizens and not only in their efforts to challenge the adversarial and militaristic discourses. Specifically l will  describe and analyze the efforts in bringing together youth from the three countries, Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, which have a history of conflict. Through conflict resolution, and peace education experiential processes these young participants (Greeks, Turkish, Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots) are exposed to alternative ways of analyzing conflict from a reconciliation and human rights perspective, and gradually a new community of citizens is built which espouses the values of empathy, mutual appreciation and respect of differences, as well as viewing the conflict beyond dichotomies and ethnic ‘essentializations.’ I will also give examples from Bicommunal Cypriot Women’s non-governmental organizations (Hands Across the Divide and the Gender Advisory Team) which challenge the patriarchal, militaristic and exclusionary culture and provide alternative recommendation for the inclusion of a gender equality provision in the discussion of the Cyprus peace process.

Professor Hadjipavlou can be contacted at the following email: mariat@ucy.ac,cy