Social Mediation and the strengthening of the Rule of Law in Cyprus – Closing Conference by UCLan Cyprus, CPDC, and ICLAIM, 27th-28th April 2023
On 27 and 28 April 2023, the University of Central Lancashire in Cyprus (UCLan Cyprus), the Cyprus Peace and Dialogue Centre (CPDC), and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM) organised the closing conference of the ‘Social Mediation and the strengthening of Rule of Law in Cyprus’ (SOMEROL) project. The conference was hosted at the UCLan Cyprus campus in Pyla, Larnaca. The opening event took place on April 27th and consisted of: a presentation of the SOMEROL project delivered by Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou (Head, School of Law and CRoLEV Director, UCLan Cyprus and ICLAIM Founding Director) and Dr. Meltem Onurkan Samani, (CPDC Founding Director); addresses by Ms. Androula Vasiliou and Ms. Meral Akıncı, former First Ladies, on their experience on strengthening peace efforts in Cyprus and the future of Cyprus; and a discussion moderated by Dr. Meltem Onurkan Samani and Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou.
The second day of the conference saw eight presentations which explored intercommunal initiatives in Cyprus and avenues for their further development across the dividing line; recommendations for policy on social mediation and the rule of law; suggestions for the strengthening of the rule of law and peace efforts in Cyprus; and new ways forward for the Cyprus issue. Presentations were delivered by speakers from CPDC, ICLAIM, SOMEROL, Cypology, the Cyprus Youth Council, CRoLEV, as well as independent researchers and other initiatives. On behalf of the CRoLEV, Dr. Alexandra M. Uibariu presented the findings of a focus group which was conducted with advocates, students and university graduates, educators, researchers, and law enforcement officers during the “Citizen Empowerment: Sustainable Rule of Law and European Values in Europe” training session, held on December 2nd-3rd 2022 and collaboratively organised by UCLan Cyprus, ICLAIM and CRoLEV.
The data analysis found that whilst social mediation cannot substitute formal legal processes, it does serve as a crucial educational exercise in democratic practice and has a promising role in increasing the sustainability of the rule of law, contributes positively to enabling rehabilitation and restitution, and is a valuable tool for dispute resolution. Further, social mediation was found to lead to increased civic engagement, strengthen social cohesion, further democratisation, and overall sustain social resilience. For a full overview of the findings, click here.
Please also view the SOMEROL Final Conference’s video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_pBtjEpqiA
and press release https://www.uclancyprus.ac.cy/somerol-project-closing-conference/
For more information on CRoLEV’s work, please contact us at: email@example.com
Since 2018, ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ at UCLan Cyprus and ICLAIM has delivered training workshops on social mediation, with a particular focus on strengthening social dialogue and the rule of law in Cyprus, on either side of the UN-administered Buffer Zone. Social mediation is a recognised informal dispute resolution tool during social conflicts, and its potential to bridge differences and strengthen social cohesion has been long recognised. In the context of the strengthening of the rule of law, however, the position and benefits of informal methods are often constrained and even overshadowed by the dominance of formal infrastructures. Regarding the strengthening of the rule of law, issues of transparency, corruption, media-freedom, and counter-information, from policy, industry, civil society, and educational perspectives, in an inter-communal context, featured in the workshops organised.