The Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM), an independent non-profit organisation working in close association with the School of Law at the University of Central Lancashire in Cyprus (UCLan Cyprus), is proud to announce that out of the 30 laureates of the European Parliament’s European Citizen Prize 2020 from 25 countries of the EU, ICLAIM is one of the two recipients from Cyprus! The laureates for Cyprus were announced by the European Parliament Office in Cyprus on 12 February 2021, being ICLAIM Founder, Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou, on behalf of ICLAIM for its ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ programme, and Mr Costas Vichas for his long-term humanitarian assistance to those in need. Since 2008, the European Parliament awards the European Citizen’s Prize every year to projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation or promote mutual understanding within the EU. The prize, which has symbolic value, is also intended to acknowledge the work of those who through their day-to-day activities promote European values.
ICLAIM is a non-profit organisation registered and established in Cyprus since 2017, whose primary objective is to serve communities. It is a social enterprise vehicle which benefits from the expertise of a pool of all-female resident experts, researchers and interns, from diverse backgrounds, primarily (but not exclusively) from the UCLan Cyprus School of Law. The organisation envisions a society where citizens are empowered and enjoy access to social justice, through alternative and innovative approaches in the application of the law to societal issues.
The ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ project, whose broader objective is to spread the use of social mediation as a tool for the resolution of conflicts in the Cypriot society and beyond, is one of ICLAIM’s long-term projects, under the overall coordination of Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou. In 2018, Dr Natalie Alkiviadou supervised a group of UCLan Cyprus law students, interns at ICLAIM, to draft the first ‘Handbook for Professionals on Social Mediation’. Since July 2018, the Handbook and ICLAIM expertise have been disseminated in a series of training and workshops promoting the use of social mediation among individuals primarily from the education, the NGO and the law enforcement sectors, across communities. This ‘train the trainers’ approach was initially piloted through the Social Mediation project delivered by ICLAIM with the support of UCLan Cyprus and a grant from the University of Central Lancashire Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change (UCLan ICSC). This was followed by a workshop series entitled ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ delivered in 2019 and 2020 by ICLAIM and supported by UCLan Cyprus, with a grant from the British High Commission in Nicosia. These workshops involved ICLAIM social mediation trainers Dr Katerina Antoniou and Ms Nadia Kornioti, with input from Dr Pinar Zubaroğlu-Ioannides, and facilitation by community members and students. All workshops encouraged the participation of a diverse group of individuals from all communities of Cyprus, and of varying professional or other background. The workshops led to the establishment of the Social Mediators Network in September 2020. Amid the pandemic, the ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ project swiftly reacted to the situation by offering collective and active reflection on the impact of COVID-19 on communities in Cyprus, and on the role that social mediation could play in this setting. The Prize therefore recognizes the active citizenship of almost 100 individuals across the island and beyond, as well as the trust showed by all institutions mentioned above. ICLAIM would like to thank them all.
The next step in the programme’s development is a forthcoming workshop, part of a new ‘Social Mediation for Social Transitions’ project delivered by ICLAIM with the support of UCLan Cyprus and a grant from the University of Central Lancashire Centre for Sustainable Transitions (UCLan CST). The workshop will take place on 26-27 February 2021 and more information is available on our social-mediation.org.
Our congratulations to everyone involved in ICLAIM’s ‘Social Mediation in Practice’ programme and to the Laureates for the much-deserved recognition!