The Home for Cooperation officially opened its doors on 6 May 2011. The Home for Cooperation is the child of cooperation. The driving force behind this ground breaking initiative is the intercommunal Cyprus based Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).
History of a Home, past, present and future…
Mangoian family constructs the building now known as the Home for Cooperation. The building was used as a home, as well as for commercial purposes, hosting various businesses, including a women’s coiffeur, a photography shop, a tourist shop, and a car rental shop.
Intercommunal clashes left traumatic marks on the street and on the lives of its inhabitants. In 1964, barricades marking the separation of Nicosia into a Turkish and a Greek sector were set up very close to the house. Along with the barrricades came a new presence in the area: the UN peace keeping forces. Movement from north to south along the street, and vice versa, was limited, especially until 1968.
In summer 1974 the destiny of the street was marked in a dramatic way. The building was caught in the middle of crossfire before it was left half abandoned and devastated in no-man’s land between two checkpoints, at the center of what came to be known as the buffer zone/dead zone. The owner and its tenants had to evacuate the building.
The Buffer Zone became a symbol of confrontation. The Ledra Palace crossing was the route through which very few people could cross from one side to the other. The Ledra Palace Hotel was the venue where politicians held meetings to discuss the “Cyprus problem.” It was also one of the most suitable places for citizen groups and civil society organizations from either side of the buffer zone to meet and pursue common projects, as well as having the opportunity to meet people from other communities in Cyprus .
The dividing line cutting though the city of Nicosia opens some of its doors to the public, with the Ledra Palace crossing being the first to open. Hundreds of people queued at the Ledra Palace to cross the divide for the first time in over 30 years. A new dynamic was injected into communal and intercommunal life in the street.
The AHDR comes up with the idea of establishing an inter-communal educational centre in the buffer zone. Even some of the most passionate adherents of co-operation maintained that the realisation of this idea would be impossible.
UNFICYP grants support for an unprecedented civil society led effort to transform the buffer zone.
The AHDR receives financial support from the European Economic Area Grants and Norway Grants (major donors Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) allowing the Home for Cooperation project to move ahead.
Renovation works begin on the building, launched with a Cypriot style barbeque street party.
The Home for Cooperation opens its doors to the world on 6 May 2011, with an opening ceremony bringing together the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities of Cyprus, with representatives of civil society and dignitaries from around Europe, including the Council of Europe, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The unique four-day celebration marking the inauguration of the Home showcases the collective efforts of civil society organizations across Cyprus, with musical performances, sports events, art exhibitions, a symposium and film screenings.
A lively community centre providing opportunities to young people, the general public, activists, educators and other agents of change to develop knowldege and critical thinking through diverse and rich cultural, artistic and educational programs.