Warren Muir, an executive director at the National Academy of Sciences, is also the chair and executive director of the all-volunteer Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP). In the past, he served as the chair and president of the Children’s Friendship Project for Northern Ireland, Inc. upon which CFP is modeled.
Idil Cazimoglu is a Turkish-speaking Cypriot teen who spent a month with the Muir family in July 2009 getting to know and sharing a bedroom with Thalia Ioannidou, a Greek-speaking Cypriot teen.
Since then Idil and Thalia have been actively promoting friendship, trust, understanding, and peace between their two communities separated by UN Peacekeeping forces on the small island of Cyprus in the Middle East. Because of their friendship, the two girls and a pair of CFP boys were asked to accompany Archbishop Desmond Tutu, peace negotiator Lahkdar Brahimi, and former president Jimmy Carter for 3-1/2 days, when the three Elders visited Cyprus in Dec 2009 to promote peace. That visit and the teens’ friendships are the subjects of a documentary video that was released by the Elders in Cyprus and in London in February.
Warren and Idil will describe how American families can be personally involved in advancing peace in the world and how Cypriot teens and their families are becoming friends and are changing the future of their island with the support of American host families.