POST RI was born out of a small, civil society organization called POST, founded in 2002 by a group of independent intellectuals who for years had been actively struggling against the somewhat oppressive situation in Cyprus. In the first years of its existence, during a period of political uncertainty and fervent exchange of opinions, the Institute’s activities focused on dialogue and historical narrative analysis, engaging participants in debate fostered by book clubs, film screenings and other such events. In the following years the Institute began to tackle current and sensitive political issues. At a moment when a peaceful resolution to the Cyprus problem was closer than ever, POST organized activities to raise awareness and provide an open platform for citizens from all walks of life to express views and access critical information and alternative perspectives, giving a voice to marginalized segments of society. POST RI’s activities have since included reconciliation in their scope, contributing to efforts for unification of the island.
With the conviction that peace in divided communities can be sustained through education, POST began to conduct projects on Education for Peace, linking academic activity with social engagement. Research conducted included textual and visual analysis of school text books, pinpointing elements that reproduce deconstructive social phenomena such as nationalism. To ensure publications were in accordance with social realities and of genuine benefit for target groups, a series of workshops were held concurrently to deconstruct the perspectives of primary interest groups. In addition, emphasis was given to the coordination of study tours which aimed to engage educators across the divide in dialogue on common cultural and historical issues. Such tours saw huge success, giving rise to Tours for Peace under the European Union-funded ‘ENGAGE’ project, which centred on visits to places of significance to national struggle, providing a multi-perspective environment and a unique learning opportunity. Throughout, POST RI engaged in cooperation with a variety of stakeholders including academics, educators, social NGOs, researchers, local authorities and unions; a tradition ever prevalent in their work.
POST RI’s current project, ‘Education for a Culture of Peace’ aims at using education as a platform from which one can depart to bring about structural, and therefore social, change through trainings and workshops for educators and students across the divide. This three year project aims to diffuse the values and skills advocated by the UNESCO supported Culture of Peace, and contribute in the long-term to reconciliation in Cyprus. In 2015 POST RI established a Peace Education Centre, equipped with a library covering a wide range of Culture of Peace related material, designed to meet the educational and entertainment needs of researchers, educators and other members of civil society.
POST Research Institute is positive towards collaboration on a local, regional and international level and is a member of various platforms, forums and civil society networks.