26 July. 2021
United World Colleges (UWC) is a global education movement dedicated to uniting people, nations and cultures. UWC has been active in Cyprus for almost 20 years, supporting the participation of Cypriot students from both sides of the Green Line in UWC schools and colleges around the world.
The UWC Cyprus Committee has recently received a grant from the EU to organize a number of short courses, the first of which was “Social Entrepreneurship” that took place online from June 23 to July 9, 2021. The course focused on action and innovation for social responsibility with special attention on initiatives in the Mediterranean region. The curriculum aligned with the European Youth Goals and meant to introduce 14-16 year olds to experiential and problem-based learning, providing them with the toolkit to be “change makers” in their respective communities. The intention was to bring together 20 Greek Cypriots and 20 Turkish Cypriots with 20 students from the greater Mediterranean region (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey).
Similar to other bicommunally minded youth programs (Cyprus LEAD, Junior Achievement and CyprusInno, for example), UWC shares CYENS’ commitment to “innovating” in terms of how Cypriot youth relate to one another and their common future in a socially responsible and knowledge-based economy. For the participants, the “Social Entrepreneurship” course provided an opportunity for exchange and exploration in a multicultural setting. For CYENS, it offered an opportunity to partner with another like-minded initiative/organization and to showcase its work at the cross section of research and innovation, while exposing youth to emerging technologies and coding.
Given CYENS’ technology focus, UWC asked for CYENS to contribute a speaker/resource person for one of the morning sessions and a “judge” for the final day of student presentations. The speaker/resource person would ideally use an example of a tech-driven, socially relevant project to illustrate how researchers can respond to social needs and, more generally, to inspire the students. Thus, Dr. Andreas Kamilaris with his work on COVTRACER and various migrant integration projects was suggested to participate in the UWC activity while CYENS Research Director, Professor Yiorgos Chrysanthou participated as a “judge” of student projects.