For the past 3 years, Ersin Öztoycan has been hosting “Out Loud,” the podcast of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, UNFICYP. She touches upon a wide array of topics related to peacekeeping, from the important partnerships the mission develops, especially with youth and women, to the critical work of the UN Police officers, the promotion of women in peacekeeping and a broad range of issues ranging from environmental protection to youth unemployment and, of course, peace.
I never consciously thought of hosting the mission’s podcast, but when the opportunity arose, I felt that my experience in public speaking would be an asset. With 20 years of experience as an information assistant, I had always strived to take advantage of the latest technology and tools available to convey the mission's mandate in the most efficient and productive way. Hosting is the easiest part as far as producing the podcast is concerned. Choosing your guest and learning about their background is an essential part of the process, because it helps you prepare a script and ask the necessary questions in a way that will allow your guest to easily convey the message they have to share. I love every aspect of running the podcast, but most of all, I enjoy gaining knowledge from my guests and raising awareness on issues that matter to them and to the mission. This gives me great pleasure.
As the host of the mission’s podcast, I believe it's important to understand why people enjoy listening to podcasts and what topics matter to them most. Podcasts offer a unique form of entertainment and education, and they have become increasingly popular in recent years.
“Out Loud” was first launched 3 years ago as a way to reach our audiences in Cyprus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The mission’s mandate includes a strong focus on outreach and dialogue with partners and communities but the restrictions made it hard for us to stay connected the way we used to, so the podcast became a way to resume and maintain that dialogue. Over the years, we have focused on a variety of topics pertaining to the mission’s mandate but also giving space for Cypriots from across the divide to share their views and initiatives to help build trust between the communities. It is an additional space for dialogue with guests from the mission and the civil society that can reach broader audiences.
We are also innovating in the format, the latest series on the Sustainable Development Goals combined audio and video of the participants which helps attract a wider audience, especially among the youth.
Our audience has steadily increased every month and I’m proud to see how this product is helping us disseminate accurate information both in and out of the island. Indeed, the podcast has also been a great communication tool to help counter misinformation and provides the mission with an effective platform to counter biased narratives, explain in a clear and simple way UNFICYP’s mandate and the UN’s impartiality when dealing with both communities on the island.
You can listen to “Out Loud” on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-323635215, Spotify and iTunes.
For 75 years, UN peacekeepers have worked alongside international partners, community leaders and Member States to save and change lives in the world’s most fragile political and security situations. These are ordinary people striving to achieve extraordinary outcomes in often difficult and dangerous situations. They are People for Peace, and these are their stories.