Eleni, a Greek Cypriot and Elif, a Turkish Cypriot
 
Modeled after a program that began in Ireland, Rotary Clubs in district 5100 are participating again this year in a peace initiative to bring Greek and Turkish Cypriots together.  Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are paired to spend a month in classes and social experiences with their host families. Professors Harry Anastasiou, a Greek Cypriot and Birol Yesilada, a Turkish Cypriot at Portland State University, both active Rotarians, launched the program several years ago.  While this is not a Rotary sponsored program, all the host families are Rotarians within District 5100. The students have classes in conflict resolution, team and trust building activities, and public speaking. 
Elif and Eleni are staying with Sue Coates, former Assistant Governor and currently Rotaract Chair for the District.  On their way back from Mt. Hood on Friday, they stopped off to visit the Noriega's.  Carlos and Diane had plans to have dinner at Mojave and invited them to come along.  This was their first experience with Mexican food.  Diane ordered a selection of typical Mexican dishes, hoping they would enjoy them.  The girls were really open to all the new flavors and finished off the whole platter!  They have only been here 8 days and already are giggling and sharing like BFF's.  They exemplify the purpose of this program, which is to show that people who have been in conflict for many years really have much more in common than they have differences.  When they return to their home country they will be called on to do public speaking at schools and in their communities. These girls can be the harbingers of peace for the future.
 
 

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