Examining Economic Integration and Free Trade within Cyprus using Structured Dialogic Design


  • Yiannis Laouris Future Worlds Center


Cyprus, Structured Democratic Dialogue, peace building, economic integration, bi-communal, Co-Laboratory, Interpretive Structural Modeling


This paper reports the results of three Co-Laboratories organized by the Civil Society Dialogue Project that aimed at bringing together Turkish-speaking and Greek-speaking Cypriot citizens to share experiences and work together towards creating a citizens’ platform, as well as devising an action plan for a reunited Cyprus. Twenty-one business and economist stakeholder representatives with diverse perspectives and experience participated in successive bi-communal Co-Laboratories focused on the issue of economic integration in Cyprus, which was identified by Cypriot peace pioneers as one of the main causes of the perceived widening of the gap between the two divided communities in Cyprus. They invested 325 hours person-hours. The purpose was to support the dialogue of a motivated group of economists and business experts representing both communities. The Co-Laboratories provided space for exchanging ideas as well as exploring future options and goals, besides diagnosing current problems in economic integration and the free movement of goods and services in Cyprus. More specifically, the economic integration Co-Laboratories aimed at envisioning the ideal, desired situation, defining the current problematic economic situation on the island, and exploring influences between alternative actions that could improve the current situation. The Co-Laboratories were organized using the Structured Dialogic Design process within the context of a rich web-based communication environment. 

Author Biography

Yiannis Laouris, Future Worlds Center

Laouris is a social and business entrepreneur, a neuroscientist, and a systems engineer with academic background in medicine and engineering. He chairs Future Worlds Center and Rector of N.E.T.S., an innovative Graduate School, whose 20 PhD students collaborate to develop scientifically grounded methodologies and tools to "design" our future and to re-invent systems of governing. He is member of a Think Tank of the European Commission that developed the Onlife Manifesto (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/onlife-original-outcome). He promotes the application of mobile learning and broadband technologies to bridge ethnic-, digital-, economic-, educational- and inter-personal divides on our planet. He was member of the Cyprus Conflict Resolution Trainers Group that planned and carried out trainings in communications- and conflict resolution skills that eventually reached thousands from both the Greek and Turkish communities. Together with Aleco Christakis and Marios Michaelides, he applied the Structured Democratic Dialogue Process (SDDP) worldwide. His books MasksofDemons.com and CitizensCommandments.com are relevant. His contributions in systems science applications were recognized by the Hellenic Society for Systemic Studies with their 2008 Award. His group develops systems to enable scaling up the SDD process to engage asynchronously thousands in meaningful dialogue, thus accelerating positive societal change.