Unlikely threat to world peace

Uclan’s Cyprus outpost of ‘particular concern’ to UN secretary general. John Morgan reports

January 31, 2013

Source: United Nations Photos

Green life: part of the campus is in the buffer zone and part is outside it

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, has a lot on his plate: North Korea’s threat to test a nuclear weapon, Islamist rebels battling French-led troops in Mali…and security concerns provoked by the University of Central Lancashire’s Cyprus campus.

After Uclan built the campus in the UN-enforced buffer zone between the island’s Greek and Turkish communities, it earned the spectacular distinction of being rebuked by the UN secretary general in a report to the Security Council.

Uclan, one of the UK’s most active universities overseas, owns a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture company behind the €53 million (£45.4 million) development; the rest is owned by a group connected with a Cypriot developer, Hassapis Group.

But the campus, which opened its doors in October, has been built next to Pyla, the only village in the buffer zone inhabited by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

It currently hosts 140 students, thought to be predominantly Greek Cypriots, a development that could provoke anxiety among the Turkish Cypriot community. Uclan has said that student numbers are envisaged to grow “towards 5,000” within five years.

In his June 2012 report on Cyprus to the UN Security Council, Mr Ban writes that the “unauthorized construction adjacent to the village of Pyla of a university campus was of particular concern during the reporting period”. The projected influx of Cypriot and foreign students “has raised concerns with regard to security, and law and order”, he adds.

The buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cyprus, known as the Green Line, was made impassable by the UN - except for designated crossing points - after Turkey’s invasion of the island in 1974.

It is patrolled by the UN peacekeeping force UNFICYP.

Times Higher Education asked UNFICYP whether the situation had moved on since Mr Ban’s report last year. A spokesman said the construction “remains unauthorised” and “UNFICYP continues to discuss [the situation] with interested parties”.

A Uclan spokesman said the university “has always been aware that the site of its Cyprus campus includes land within the buffer zone”. He said the existing building was in the buffer zone, with some of the rest of the site outside it.

He noted that the campus “is fully licensed by all the relevant Cypriot authorities”.

Some of the more alarming claims by critics proved groundless, however. In a letter expressing strong support for the project, Simon Mytides, president of Pyla Community Council, said: “There are no minefields adjacent to or around the university area.”

john.morgan@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Reader in Politics and Policy

St Marys University, Twickenham

Engineer

Cern

Professor of Anthropology

Maynooth University

Preceptor in Statistics

Harvard University

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Electrochemistry

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework