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Cyprus prompts debate > SDSU Summer Study program January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Education.
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No decision made on SDSU Summer Study in Cyprus program

By: Melissa Deleon, Senior Staff Writer
Issue date: 1/25/07 Section: City, The Daily Aztec, CA.
Cyprus prompts debate

San Diego State continues to support its Summer Study in Cyprus program, despite those in opposition who’ve raised concerns about student safety and political interests.

Cyprus, which is occupied mainly by Greek and Turkish Cypriots, has a known history of conflict between the two groups.

Stacey Sinclair, Ph.D., the director of the University Honors Program, told The Daily Aztec last month that Cyprus is a secure island for student travelers and, therefore, the program should remain intact. Sinclair helped develop the program at SDSU and spent several weeks conducting workshops on building peace in Cyprus.

Following a Dec. 6, 2006 article regarding the study abroad program, The Daily Aztec received a letter from the Panhellenic Federation of the State of Florida claiming that the program is operating in violation of U.S. and international law.

“In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus with U.S.-supplied arms and proceeded in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and human rights violations, plundering and destruction of Christian churches and Cyprus’ cultural identity,” the letter stated.

The letter was signed by PFSF President John Laliotis, Vice President Maria Poulas and Chairman of National Affairs Tassos Bougdanos. They urged SDSU to terminate the program and its endorsement of what they consider ethnic cleansing, human-rights violations and oppression of freedom by Turkish Cypriots.

However, in an interview last month, Sinclair said the agreement SDSU has with the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus is in full compliance with all U.S. laws and U.S. policy for engaging with the Turkish Cypriot community. Students who traveled to Cyprus as part of the program also spoke in support of continuing it.

In December, the California State University board of trustees met to review the program and hear statements from both sides. The board was expected to vote on the issue during its first meeting of the year, but the item was not included on the agenda. No final decision has been made to halt the program, but it continues to be under review.

Christos Georgiades, M.D., assistant professor of radiology and surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., also contacted The Daily Aztec to express his feelings that the program should be halted immediately.

Georgiades said EMU was built on the property of Cypriot refugees who were forcibly evicted by the Turkish army during an invasion of the island. “Visiting the occupied part of the Island via Turkey is against local and international law and students who participate are subject to arrest and prosecution,” Georgiades said.

SDSU’s Associated Students and the SDSU faculty senate both passed resolutions in support of the continuance of the program with EMU. The program focuses on conflict resolution and peace-building. Sinclair said the objection is a case of political interests obstructing the academic rights of students.

Readers Comments > Displaying 1 – 2 of 2
Paul Kouts posted 1/25/07 @ 4:17 AM EST
I would recommend people in San Diego concerned with the Cyprus controversy at least to read professor Van Coufoudakis’ excellent book “CYPRUS: A Contemporary Problem in Historical Perspective”, which has just come out on Jan. 15, 2007. Maybe then people would be better informed.

grhomeboy posted 1/29/07 @ 4:20 PM EST
In agreement with Mr Kouts’ comment, I would urge San Diegonians to visit this blog
https://grhomeboy.wordpress.com and read more on the issue of occupied Cyprus, all related articles listed under the category News Cyprus Occupied. Furthermore, to remind to all readers, that Turkey invaded The Republic of Cyprus in July 1974 and since then occupies the North part of the country.

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