The Cyprus Transformative Scenarios Process (TSP) is an effort by Cypriots from across society to explore and discuss their future together. It is distinctive in many respects, chiefly the fact that it does not promote a specific solution, and it looks at the multiple concerns of Cypriots today including but also beyond the Cyprus problem.
This initiative applies the Transformative Scenarios approach. This approach was born out of South Africa during the transition from apartheid, when in 1991-92, a diverse group of South Africans from across the political spectrum came together to develop the “Mont Fleur Scenarios”, with the impartial facilitation of Adam Kahane, currently Director of Reos Partners and author of the book “Transformative Scenario Planning” (TSP).
Over the past three decades, this method has been applied at national, regional and global levels on topics including democracy, climate change, drug policy, justice, education, land reform, food security and more. It has also been applied to national and regional futures including in South Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Israel-Palestine, Thailand, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Across contexts, this method has consistently generated new insight, enhanced trust, increased mutual understanding, established new partnerships, and enlarged capacities for strategic foresight and leadership.
The method is different from other scenario planning approaches in that the scenarios are developed not only with the intention to adapt to the future, but rather with the intention to shape the future. Furthermore, the scenarios are not developed by think tanks or academic experts, but rather collectively drafted by a highly diverse group of individuals who have a stake in the issue at hand and represent a cross-section of a particular society, sector, or system.
The co-authors of the scenarios are a “Scenario Team” of 36 outstanding individual Cypriots from a wide diversity of perspectives, across sectors, professions, generations, beliefs and political views. Half of them are Turkish Cypriot and half are Greek Cypriot, religious minorities are included, and the group is gender balanced.
While they are broadly representative of Cypriot society, the participants join this process as individuals rather than as representatives of a specific institution or constituency, and bring their full knowledge, perspective, and experience to the process.
To develop the scenarios, they volunteered several weeks of their time to work constructively together. They gathered for intense conversation over the course of three workshops, followed by collective writing and re-writing and informal ad hoc gatherings.
The Scenario team members agree that these four possible future stories could happen and need to be considered in a wide and inclusive conversation in and around Cyprus to address the challenges facing the island. At the same time, almost every scenario team member disagrees with elements in at least one of the scenarios.
As a consequence, the output of the Scenario Team’s collective reflection does not represent a consensus on any recommendation or a shared preference towards one scenario or the other. The scenarios simply represent the work of the people themselves – a group of diverse, committed, and caring actors who worked together in the hope that these scenarios might encourage more strategic and expansive dialogues that can help Cyprus to move forward.