Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
The War is not over yet:
Reconciliation is sine qua non for a happy end in Conflict Management
University of Macedonia
The war is not over yet! How many times have we wondered if a conflict resolution is going to have a permanent outcome or it was just enforced by the Great Powers as a temporary solution aiming to end the violence in a conflict region?
The Cyprus Question: a case study of Conflict Management
The Cyprus problem can be examined as a draft case in Conflict Management. The funeral of a soldier in August 2009, who was missing since 1974, reminded both the international society and the two communities in Cyprus that the Cyprus Question is on the solution track for the last 35 years. The details of his last moments are important for us to understand how we can re-orbit the route of the conflict management into a permanent solution status. He was shot and buried in a massive grave after the invasion of Turkey in Cyprus. He was captured by the Turkish troops only after he run out of munitions.  His executors, according to testimonies, were paramilitary troops and not the Turkish Army. Whoever did the execution should be judged for violating the International Law of War - the International Humanitarian Law. 
The Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war clearly states that the: 
1. “Prisoners of war are in the hands of the enemy Power, but not of the individuals or military units who have captured them”,
2. “Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated” and
3. “Prisoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honor”
From the legal point of view the invasion of Turkey in Cyprus remains a fact that breaches the International Law. The UN and Security Council have been releasing Resolutions from 1964 till to date on the Cyprus Question.
Truth and Reconciliation
Here the case is not to hate or blame the one or the other site of the conflict. Greeks assassinate Turkish Cypriots before the war; Turkish did the same on Greek Cypriots during the war. It’s time to remember what happened only a few decades ago. The Cyprus Parliament, the Greek Government, the USA Secretary of State and the UK Foreign Office should open to the public the Files referring to the period before and during the Civil War within the Greek Community, the Coup d’état invoked by the Military Regime in Greece and the subsequent Invasion of Turkey and till to date occupation of the North part of Cyprus. Respectively the Grand National Assembly of Turkey should publish the documents related to the era ante, during and post the 1974 crisis and moreover the military archives of the invasion named “Attila I and II”.
It’s time for Greeks and Turkish to Remember, to Know, to Judge, and simultaneously to Forgive each other. If both communities truly want to live together, site by site, with respect on each other’s Culture, Religion and Civilization, then they must proceed on establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) on the model of the TRC court-like body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of the apartheid.
The concept of Justice
In Ancient Greece, the concept of Justice had a diverse meaning than the contemporary term reflected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The prior was referring to Adam Watson’s “a reasonable rule, a satisfactory regulation … the¶ fair position, the status quo and the arbitration” . The later refers to the definition of the ICJ,
The judicial arm of the United Nations. Established in 1946 it is composed of fifteen judges appointed by the General Assembly and Security Council. It acts as a body of arbitration for consenting states in conflict over a particular issue, and makes its decisions according to international law. It also provides legal advice to other UN institutions. 
John Rawls from another perspective claims that "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought."  and Justice as fairness “based on the familiar idea of the social contract, and the procedure followed before the principles of right and justice are selected and agreed upon is in some ways the same in both the domestic and the international case”. 
The Nuremberg trials
Can be considered Utopianism the reintroduction of the concepts Justice, Truth and Reconciliation in Frozen Conflict cases such as the Cyprus Question, the Middle East Conflict, the Kosovo Issue and the Georgia Crisis? The precedent of the Franco-German case is the Realism’s answer to the aforementioned question. Only a few decades after the WWII that followed centuries of rivals, wars, ethnic cleansing, occupation and more between Germany and France, these countries turned into Allies in the NATO and Partners in the EU? If Germans and French found a way to move ahead, by establishing a peaceful neighborhood, other regions should also inquiry for the same path. The Nuremberg trials that followed the defeat of Nazi’s Germany had no aim to condemn the complete body of the German nation which fell in the Nazi’s trap and illusions of supremacy of any nation or person on the rest of humanity. On the same logic the trial of Marshal Petain and the Vichy pro-Nazi regime had no aim to convict the entire French nation into treason. However the trials stepped forward the reconciliation progress between the two nations. The truth assisted both nations and their peoples to surpass the passions and the biases of the past.
Political scientists should further investigate the coherence between the Justice enforcement and the necessity for Truth and Reconciliation in order for frozen conflicts to become warm again in the sense of reviving the passion of their peoples for a solution. It’s time for opposing parties to examine their own line of conduct and undergo towards self-criticism. Furthermore, the concept of Justice needs reorientation. Only then the Peoples or Nations of this world shall resurrect once again like the Phoenix, the mythological bird that is reborn through its ashes.
 BSc Economics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
MA International Studies (Relations), University of Macedonia
 According to the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war (Convention III of 12 August 1949) Additional Protocol I, Part II: “any member of the armed forces of a Party to a conflict is a combatant and any combatant captured by the adverse Party is a prisoner of war”
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JMJT [31 October 2009]
 “International humanitarian law is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict”, 31-07-2004, Fact Sheet, What is international humanitarian law?, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/humanitarian-law-factsheet [31 October 2009]
 Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war (Convention III of 12 August 1949), Part II, Art 12, 13, 14.
 Watson, A., The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis, 1992, p. 107.
 "International Court of Justice", The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, ed., Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
 Rawls, J., A Theory of Justice, revised ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 3
 Rawls, J., The Law of Peoples with the Idea of Public Reason Revisited, Cambridge & London: Harvard University Press, 1999, p.p. 3-4.
Monday, 17 August 2009
The War is not over
The war is not over yet! The funeral of my uncle in law, which he was missing since 1974, reminded me that the Cyprus problem is on the solution track for the last 35 years. He was shot and buried in a massive grave after the invasion of Turkey in Cyprus. He surrenders to the Turkish troops only after he run out of munitions. His executors, according to testimonies, were paramilitary’s troops and not the Turkish Army. Whoever did that should be judged for violating the International Law for Prisoners during the war.
Is not the case to hate or blame the one or the other site! Greeks assassinate Turkish Cypriots before the war; Turkish did the same on Greek Cypriots during the war. The invasion of Turkey in Cyprus remains a fact that breaches the International Law. The UN and Security Council Resolutions still wait for their implementation. For the sake of both Nations!
It’s time to remember what happened only a few decades ago. The Cyprus Parliament should open the Secret Files referring to the period before and during the Civil War within the Greek Community, the Coup d’état invoked by the Military Regime in Greece and the subsequent Invasion of Turkey and the following till to date occupation of the North part of Cyprus.
It’s time to Remember, to know, to judge, and simultaneously to Forgive each other, Greeks and Turkish. If we really want to live together, site by site, with respect on each other’s Culture, Religions and Civilization, then we must forgive and move forward.
I know that the most of you, reading these words would think that I am Utopian. Why then the Germans and the French, only a few decades after the WWII that followed centuries of rivals, wars, ethnic cleansing, occupation and more, became Allies in the NATO and Partners in the EU? If they found their way to move on in a peaceful world, we should also search for this path. The Nuremberg trials that followed the defeat of Nazi’s Germany had no aim to judge a whole nation which fell in the Nazi’s catch and illusions of supremacy of any nation or person on the rest human beings. However the trials stepped forward the reconciliation progress between the two nations.
Such as Turkey is not going to act in this direction, neither we are strong enough or naïve to put on trials our compatriots. Nevertheless it’s time to undergo ourselves in a self-criticism. Only then we can resurrect once again like the Phoenix, the mythological bird that reborn through its ashes.
I am ready to Remember and to Forgive … Are you willing to fight for that, too?
Friday, 26 June 2009
Since 2007 I have been successful in the Open Competition organized by EPSO for ADMINISTRATORS (AD5) level:
EPSO/AD/53/06 - CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP (CY), Field 3: Economics. 
Furthermore since March 2009 I am participating in a 5 months period traineeship programme within the Directorate-General of the European Commission Humanitarian-aid Office (D-G ECHO) in Brussels, Belgium. As part of the Finance Management Unit I have taken both administrative and assistant level responsibilities inter alia assessment of NGOs candidates, monitoring of late payment interest and administrative and logistical support.
My Academic and Professional background could be summarized as the following. My Scientific interests and goals are related to the branch of Social Sciences. More specifically I am reffering to the scientific disciplines of Economic Science, Political Science and International Relations. My Professional interests and goals are related to posts concerning the field International Relations and Economics applied through employment in International Organizations.
I studied at the department of Economics of the Aristotle’s University of Thessaloniki graduating with a BSc (Ptychio) in Economics and specialised in the Division of Business Studies. Moreover I followed an exchange student’s programme of the EC (Socrates-Erasmus) in Budapest Business School in Hungary attending modules regarding Strategic Marketing studies and Understanding East-Central European Countries in the framework of the European Union. Especially the last one instigated my interest in Political Science and International Relations.
After graduation and for a period of more than five years I worked in the private business sector in Cyprus and Thessaloniki with a short break being a volunteer in the Athens Olympics in 2004. Mainly I worked at the Bank of Cyprus in Thessaloniki for a period of four years where I seized the opportunity to apply the economic knowledge I had acquired from my studies. To be exact I mainly focused in sales & marketing methods in the area of consumer and business credit aiming to increase the turnover of banking products such as business loans, accrual accounts, overdrafts and long-term deposits. Moreover I negotiated on behalf of the Bank of its clients or potential client’s salary scheme agreements, i.e. negotiating with public services and private enterprises of the framework of their payroll schemes and indicating their benefits if the payroll is carried out through the Bank of Cyprus channels.
Simultaneously with my professional life I decided to continue my studies in the fields of Political Science and International Relations. For that reason and for the time being, I am pursuing a second degree at the department of International and European Studies of the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki aiming to graduate the soonest possible with a BA (Ptychio) in International and European Studies.
Studying International and European Studies gave to me the impetus to further continue my studies in a higher level. That was possible due to the fact of holding a Bachelor degree. Hence I am pursuing a Post-Graduate Degree in International Studies at the aforementioned department aiming to graduate till the end of 2009 with a MA (Metaptychiako) in International Studies, having left only to write my thesis. Namely I intend to put forward my arguments on a potential solution of the Cyprus problem in the framework of Regional International Organizations such as the EU and NATO.
Involvement in civil society includes inter alia the representation of my fellow students in Aristotle’s University at the Students Council and the Senate of the University during my studies. Moreover I was the Treasurer of the Greek Association of Political Science Students (GAPSS) and currently I am involved in the alumni commission of the GAPSS, member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS) based in Ljubljana, Slovenia and a member of the Solidarity sub-committee of the trainees in the EC. In addition, the completion of military service with an officer’s grade in Cyprus National Guard along with the aforementioned activities has improved my organisational competences in coordination and administration of people and further enhanced my organisational and communicational skills in the application of project and team management.
Summarizing, my previous experience in the private business sector through my employment in a bank, an insurance company and in the family enterprise along with the attendance in several vocational training seminars related to the afore mentioned enterprises gives to me the necessary capabilities and professional skills and competences to meet the expectations required by working in an international organization. My background studies in Economics, Political Science and International Relations, the participation in several Conferences and Models with themes on International Organizations such as the UN, NATO and EU, and involvement in the IAPSS and GAPSS NGOs cultivated my interest for working in one of the Institutions of the European Union. Furthermore the study experience abroad (Erasmus), the volunteer experience during the Olympic Games (Athens 2004) and the traineeship experience in the European Commission (D-G ECHO) has enhanced my skill of interacting with people in a multinational and culturally-diverse working environment.
Using the professional experience along with the academic knowledge I have acquired I am strongly motivated to work for the European Union Institutions. Working for the EU is very challenging for me since I have taken part in the experience of the European Integration project since inter alia the introduction of Euro in 2002 in Greece and the accession of Cyprus in the EU in 2004. My expectations are to undertake responsibilities equivalent to civil servants of the EU as soon as possible bearing in mind that civil servants working for the EU are called to face a wide field of tasks and responsibilities which are placed in an international professional environment. To conclude with, the curriculum of my studies together with the cumulative work environment know-how I have acquired gives to me the strong background needed in order to face this challenge.
 The information has been extracted from the Reserve lists published in the EU website: http://europa.eu/epso/success/list/admin/pdf/epso_ad_53-62_06_en.pdf [25 June 2009]
Monday, 15 June 2009
The Stage program offers numerous opportunities for a Stagiaire to actively participate in the most of them exploding his/her limited amount of time during the stage period. The Stage Committee having under its auspices the Sub-Committees is responsible for running a smooth and fruitful program for the complete body of the Stagiaires Community. These Sub-Committees have a different concept and role during the whole period of the Stage. A leading position, even though this is equal among others, has the Solidarity Sub-Committee.
The Solidarity Sub-Committee (SSC) is a group of the European Commission Stagiaires who share the common interest in the problems faced by less fortunate people in the World. Furthermore the SSC has the privilege to be the one and only Sub-Committee responsible to carry through the most important mission of the Stagiaires Association, i.e. to provide a considerable amount of money to the EC personnel NGO “Europe Third World” (ETW) in order to implement in a successful way one of their humanitarian aid projects in the developing world.
The SSC inter alia assists the Stage Committee or the other Sub-Committees to implement their projects and events by providing labor working hours for the tasks assigned to the SSC by the last, e.g. the SSC members work on a volunteer base on the cloakrooms of the parties organized during the stage period. Furthermore the SSC organize its own projects and events in order to have a successful fundraising strategy in regard with the financing of the aforementioned Project of the NGO ETW, e.g. the SSC organize pub quiz, film projections and dance classes for the EC personnel and their fellow Stagiaires. Last but not least the SSC has the sole responsibility to bring into success the biannual Awareness Week (AW) in regard with the NGO ETW, its Vision and Mission and the Project finance in a developing country.
On the other hand the Stagiaires involved in the Study Trip Teams (STT) dedicate a significant amount of their personal time in order to implement their tasks in regard with a successful fundraising strategy in order to support their project, i.e. to visit an EC Delegation in a developing country. This strategy involves inter alia different types of events and activities, inter alia parties, sales of products and extraordinary events such as pub quiz, speed dating evenings etc. The aim of the Study Trip (ST) organized by the Stagiaires in D-G AIDCO and D-G ECHO is to view concrete results and direct impact of Europe Aid and Humanitarian Aid projects on the field following the theoretical phase of the stage in Brussels.
Analyzing both strategies someone can easily recognize the difference on the concept of each party and the similarities of the means used to realize their cause. Having in mind the limited potential budget each Stagiaire has from the beginning of his/her stage period – 5 000 to 6 000 EUR – we realize that this budget has also limited potentials in order to finance the above mentioned projects. This contradiction has as a result the two parties to consider themselves as competitors and not as partners. Just imagine if every Directorate-General organized its own STT. For example D-G RELEX could also have a ST in an EC Delegation abroad. D-G JLS could have a ST in the Schengen area countries and D-G TRADE a ST in China etc. Their possibilities to succeed on their goal would be minimized and they would be compelled to expand their fundraising strategy outside the Stage community circle by including on their target group the whole body of the EC personnel and the local civil society actors in Brussels and abroad.
To conclude with, my personal opinion on this issue is that the limited period of time of five months and the limited budget each Stagiaire has during his/her Stage program can only be productively, efficiently and effectively utilized if there is a commitment on the Vision and Mission of both the EU/EC traineeship and the Stage Committee. This Vision can only be carried out through the official channels of the program, i.e. the Sub-Committees. Hence a Solidarity and Voluntary based mentality is sine qua non in order for their role to be successfully implemented.
Subject: Guidelines for the Awareness Week
The EC Trainees present the Awareness Week
What is the Awareness Week
[EN] The Awareness Week (AW) is organized each year by Stagiaires of the Commission belonging to the Solidarity Sub-Committee (SSC).  The concept of the AW is to arouse the interest on Developing Countries problems and their current situation. The target group is the European Community’s civil servants working in the Institutions of the EC mainly located in Brussels. For that purpose during the working days of a whole week, twice a year, the trainees are trying to inform and aware the EC personnel via inter alia stand points, flyers, newsletters etc. Furthermore an extraordinary closing event is taking place on the last day of the AW. Moreover a fund raising campaign is planned in order to finance a project selected each year by the previous SSC that had been already evaluated and being in process during the current mandate of the SSC.  This year’s project is located in Burma (Myanmar) following the Cyclone Nargis side effects.
When: 15-19 June 2009
Where: EC Buildings
How you can contribute: Donate and join us on the last day open air event (19th of June)
 The Solidarity Sub-Committee is a group of the European Commission Stagiaires who share the common interest in the problems faced by less fortunate people in the World.
 The project is evaluated and selected by the Commission’s personnel NGO “Europe Third World” (ETW).
For more information regarding ETW read Annex I : EUROPE-THIRD WORLD INFORMATION BULLETIN