Peaceful Change through Understanding: A Training Program to Strengthen the South Caucasus Region

Published Youth Projects | 0

In current times the promotion and strengthening of a culture of peace has become an important and necessary condition all over the world. Syunik NGO’s youth programs and initiatives are guided by the goal of promoting a culture of peace and strengthening harmonious relationships locally, nationally, and internationally.

2010 was a new start for Syunik NGO to carry out summer academies on conflict analysis, conflict management, and conflict transformation for active Armenian and Georgian youth leaders as well as for ethnic minorities living in these countries. Due to the consistent work of Syunik NGO, the “Peaceful Change through Understanding” project was brought to life, and successfully promoted intercultural dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution. The training course was held in the Lucy Tour Hotel Resort in Hermon Village, Vayots Dzor Region, from the 22nd to 28th of November with financial support from the German Foreign Office. The partner organization of the project was Youth for Diplomatic Engagement, Georgia. President of the organization, Kristina Arakelova, was our cross-border peace project alumni in 2011 who implemented the project with financial support from Ifa. “I got my first degree in a somewhat different area of social science and art history. In 2012 I participated in a cross-border ToT on peace by Syunik NGO. Syunik NGO was a great boost to proceeding with my professional development and career. It played fundamental role on my future professional education and in 2013 I did receive my Master in International Relations and Caucasian Studies. In all my activities I have demonstrated my ability to work hard under time pressure, in small and bigger teams, and in various cultural environments. Together with my professional development, I also chose the path of social activism. I have founded a non-governmental organization (NGO) “Youth for Diplomatic Engagement” that focuses on youth involvement in public diplomacy and security issues in Georgia and in the South Caucasus” noted Kristina Arakelova.

The project was attended by university students and young leaders actively involved in non-governmental organizations both in Armenia and Georgia. The support of Germany, one of the main driving forces in the European Union, for a project that would help lead to improved recognition and relationships between these two ancient countries of the Caucasus, indicates a welcoming of the countries into the larger European network. The final ceremony and cultural celebration of the training course was attended by many high ranked guests including Abraham Archbishop Mkrtchyan, head of the Vayots Dzor Diocese, representatives from the local government, Sveta Dovlatyan, editor of the regional newspaper Vartadzor, Kristina Arakelova, president of Youth for Diplomatic Engagement, partner NGO in Georgia, and Tilo Krausse, Syunik NGO’s German consultant. The project coordinator, as well as many of the guests, proclaimed their well wishes to the participants and highlighted the importance of the training.