MERG Cyprus research trip, Spring 2022 by Carolina Hidalgo-McCabe A'23

by tuftsigl
Mar 25

After 25 hours of travel from Boston (including a 9-hour layover in London) we made it to Nicosia, Cyprus late last night. Late last night, as we drove into Nicosia, we saw the beaming lights on a mountaintop of Northern Cyprus, making the shape of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus flag (Northern Cyprus), a reminder of the conflict and division that has continued for nearly half a century on this island.

Today was the day to get settled into Cyprus before beginning the dozens of interviews our group of 8 students from MERG has in the week ahead. Each of us are conducting individual research on areas of interest that we’re passionate about, ranging from women’s inclusion in the peace process to LGBTQ+ rights, to economic policy and refugee policy, and more. Throughout the day, as we ate plenty of delicious Cypriot food, including halloumi, tiropita (cheese pie), za'atar calamari, and more, we found similarities with foods we’ve loved across the Mediterranean, including Greece, Turkey, and other countries of the MENA region. Most of our group travelled to Ayia Napa, a coastal city of Cyprus with pristine waters, chilly weather in these months, and stunning views. We got to see a monastery from 1500 CE, enter a Greek Orthodox Church, walk the coastline, and practice some basic Greek skills. Today’s word we kept repeating was ευχαριστώ, Greek for “thank you.” I’m feeling immense gratitude to be on the island of Cyprus after years of anticipation, for the amazing people around me, the opportunity to be conducting research this week on women’s roles in the peace process, and the IGL’s support.