Title

Characteristics and psycho-social impacts of an inter-ethnic educational sport initiative on Greek and Turkish Cypriot youth

Date of Completion

January 2007

Keywords

Psychology, Social|Education, Physical|Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study investigated the impacts of a program that employed a blend of sports and cultural enrichment, known as Olympism, to build bridges between Greek and Turkish Cypriot children residing on the island of Cyprus. The program, called Doves Olympic Movement Summer Camp 2005, was an educational sport initiative that took place in Cyprus in July 2005 and hosted 96 children and 20 instructors from Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. The four-month long program included two months of instructor training, two local meetings with the parents of the participants and a six day summer camp. A mixed methods approach was employed to assess the psycho-social impact of the program on the children and the instructors. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the program on attitudes about cross-cultural interaction, friendship and collaboration among Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot participants and to identify the organizational and educational components of the initiative that were perceived as being effective. The data was analyzed using a multi-method approach that employed Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (RMANOVA), t-tests, descriptive statistics and qualitative methods. ^ The results indicated a statistically significant main effect on Time (within-subject variable) and Ethnicity (between subject variable) in Factor 1(Attitudes about Cross Cultural Interaction, Friendship and Collaboration). The RMANOVA indicated no statistically significant between-subject variable interactions. In addition, paired sample ttests indicated statistically significant differences on the beliefs that through sports children can learn to collaborate more with other people. The great majority of the children indicated that they made new friends, and perceived positive inter-communal attitudinal changes as a result of their participation in the camp. The overall camp experience was perceived as a great opportunity to change misconceptions of the past by interacting in a safe environment. Under the supervision of trained instructors, who were perceived as positive role models, camp participants gained an increased sense of community. An increase in the participants' collective beliefs that they were transformed into successful agents of stability, peace and co-existence was also reported. ^