UNFICYP #Respect Campaign gathers steam

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23 Nov 2017

UNFICYP #Respect Campaign gathers steam

NICOSIA, 23 November 2017 - UNFICYP’s #Respect Campaign is well underway, kicking off with a Town Hall on Monday 20 November and then a series of talks on Wednesday 22 November at UNFICYP HQ.

On Monday, after remarks at the Town Hall by UNFICYP’s Head of Mission, Ms. Elizabeth Spehar, and Chief of Mission Support, Mr.  Joel Cohen, Mr. Vartan Tashdjian, a prominent artist, teacher, singer, writer, poet, author, actor, director and school principal for almost 50 years, and Mrs. Aleen Andreou, a soft skills trainer and noted toastmaster, spoke to UNFICYP staff about their understanding of respect.

Among the speakers on Wednesday were Ms. Rita Severis, co-founder of the Centre of Visual Arts and Research in Nicosia, who explained the concept of respect through art featuring Cyprus through the centuries. Mr. and Mrs. Serkan and Andri Gumuskut, an intercommunal couple, told UNFCYP staff that respect was the cornerstone of their relationship and that “without respect between the communities, reunification will be difficult.” Also speaking at the event was Ms. Lena Melandou, the co-conductor of the Bi-communal Choir for Peace, who noted that respect between choristers had been crucial to maintaining unity within the choir through its 20 years of existence.

The brainchild of Mr. Cohen, the #Respect campaign is being conducted by the Mission’s Inside the Blue team through a series of activities to boost the understanding of respect and encourage greater respect within the workplace.

Research shows that a respectful work environment improves job satisfaction, boosts employee engagement and commitment, reduces stress and creates a fair environment, among other things. And it doesn’t take much to ensure colleagues feel valued and respected – being deliberately polite and courteous, encouraging co-workers to express their opinions and ideas, actively listening to others and avoiding insulting or negative language all help to create a more respectful and enjoyable workplace.

The campaign aims to reach all UNFICYP personnel through a series of activities including a talk by the regional Ombudsman; screening of videos with UNFICYP staff explaining what respect means to them and the difference it makes in their lives; screening of relevant Ted Talks; a Town Hall; local guest speakers and staff speakers, and colourful #Respect posters across the Mission.