Lions Quest – Social and Emotional Learning Program arrived in Northern Cyprus!
Having been acknowledged through the name of the undistricted area of Cyprus by Lions Clubs International, Northern Cyprus started Lions Quest – Social and Emotional Learning education for teachers with an agreement signed both by Magusa Mesarya Lions and Nicosia New Generation Lions together with the Turkish Lions Foundation of MD 118 – Turkey, after securing special permission from the LCIF – Lions Clubs International Foundation.
The international program, which received the approval and accreditation of the Ministry Education of Northern Cyprus, began with the virtual training given to nearly three hundred teachers who participated individually. The Lions Quest will continue with school-based training in the upcoming academic semester.
Lions Clubs around the world have supported the Lions Quest program since its inception due to its comprehensive, universal and protective nature. In 2002, the International Lions Clubs Foundation (LCIF) bought the patent rights and started to spread it as a social responsibility project. Today, it is implemented in 107 countries of the world with the support of Lions clubs in 48 languages. The patent rights in Turkey belong to the Turkish Lions Foundation.
Where does the Lions Quest stand in the divided island of Cyprus?
The island of Cyprus is a somewhat complicated matter with the Lions-related affairs including the Lions Quest, as is the case with the island’s political and border issues.
Despite the fact that Lions Clubs International is the world’s biggest non-political service organization, the ongoing international Cyprus dispute has divided Lions into two. The island of Cyprus, for instance, is home both to the district of 117-B (Greek Cypriot Community) and the IDENT 5855 Undistricted Cyprus (Turkish Cypriot Community) where there has not been any official joint venture between the Lions clubs of the two Cypriot communities which are overshadowed by the status quo so far.
Except for a joint tree planting and diabetes screening in 2008, there are no recorded joint Lions activities between the Lions clubs of the two Cypriot communities given that the history of Lions clubs goes back to 1954 in Cyprus.
On the other hand, the Lions district of 117-B, known as Cyprus and Northern Greece of MD 117, has been involved in the Lions Quest program for many years and has been successfully implementing the Lions Quest Training for the kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school teachers on the Greek Cypriot Community of Cyprus.
Particularly, with the establishment of the Cyprus Lions Quest Foundation in 1996, the Lions Quest Training has received the full support of the Greek Cypriot Ministry of Education.
Due to the undistricted (not belonging anywhere) area structure of the TRNC by the International Association of Lions Clubs, LCIF previously stipulated that Lions clubs operating in Northern Cyprus should work with the Greek Cyprus side on the ground that Lions Quest functions as a country-wide program and the established entity; Lions Quest Cyprus is the only organization responsible for leading all Lions Quest programming in the country.
Even though several attempts have been made in the past to adopt a separate “Lions Quest – Social and Emotional Learning” in Northern Cyprus, the International Association of Lions Clubs which complies with the naming provisions and resolutions of the United Nations did not provide any kind of permission to the applications sent by the undistricted Turkish Cypriot Lions Clubs due to the on-going political problems in the island of Cyprus.
The Lions Clubs of Magusa Mesarya and Nicosia New Generation operating in Northern Cyprus decided to start the talks with the LCIF to ask for permission once again to implement the Lions Quest in Northern Cyprus. The letter was prepared by the Lion Fikret Şendil, a member of Magusa Mesarya, Guiding Lion of the Nicosia New Generation and Specialty Club Coordinator, explaining the current political problems in the island of Cyprus by giving references to the UN resolutions and describing the differences in the education system on both sides of Cyprus.
Fikret Şendil requested permission to conduct the LQ program with MD -118 Turkey on the ground that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot Community speak the same language and have a similar education system. The Lions head office in the USA has granted the two independent and individual Lions clubs Magusa Mesarya and Nicosia New Generation to start the program by obtaining all the necessary permissions.
It is on the agenda that the Lions Quest training, which started with the financial protocol signed with the MD 118 Turkish Lions Foundation in Northern Cyprus, will be transferred to the school-based training in the future.