Ayse Biyikoglu: New bi-communal youth group steps up collaboration between scientists across the island
Ayse Biyikoglu is a very active young Cypriot who finds time on her tight schedule as a PhD student in Psychology to promote the participation of women and young people in different social arenas.
Realizing the lack of women and youth’s participation in key decision-making spaces, Ayse decided to engage in discussions on the subject and likes to say that she participates in all available and related projects.
She joined the “Young Leaders in Action” programme “to gain knowledge and raise awareness of the lack of women and youth in the peacebuilding process based in Cyprus,” Ayse highlights.
She describes the UN initiative as a very important one since she met with many new peers from across the island and got involved in discussions on new ideas and approaches on the equal and just participation of women and young people in various social action projects. Furthermore, her participation in the programme gave light for a new idea to be born and implemented.
Ayse, together with Nikolas Soros, Eleni Anastasiou, Nikos Georgoudis, Hafeez Hamza, Izuchukwu Silas Onuoha and Kayra Gutan, developed Cypology, a multi-communal youth initiative for ‘sharing knowledge and research’ through a platform for communicating evidence-based knowledge deriving from academic research in Cyprus.
According to her, Cypology “will produce and disseminate material discussing socio-psychological phenomena such as, the role of intergroup contact in Cyprus, history teaching, the role of women in peacebuilding, collective loss, truth-telling, and the link between corruption and division.”
Ayse explains that “I realised the lacunae when I started my academic career and shared this with our group. The gap came to light in my first year of my PhD, when I struggled to find a relevant and up-to-date social platform discussing such topics or encouraging women or young individuals in related areas. Once other individuals shared interest in developing and flourishing this idea, it grew and evolved to what it has become today.”
With eyes full of hope for a brighter future, Ayse says: “Our platform will cultivate scientific bi-communal dialogue, bridge the gap between the public and academia, and amplify the voices of women and youth in the research arena. Also, we expect to combat misinformation around the internet and show that we share reliable information and data-based findings about the Cyprus issue and its respective communities.”
The Young Leaders in Action is organized by UNFICYP, in partnership with the British Council and the British High Commissioner in Cyprus and focus on equipping participants on peace and security, peacebuilding, social action, leadership, negotiation, and mediation processes, in addition to providing groups tools and strategies needed to develop their own intercommunal projects and small grants for implementation.