The potential transformative power of the youth as an agent of change has long been recognized as a crucial element of Armenian-Turkish normalization, with a number of important and largely successful youth exchange initiatives between Armenia and Turkey, many of which were supported by a range of international donors. In light of previous activities, the RSC continues to support youth exchanges and offers youth training opportunities, while focusing on empowering youth (including organized youth groups, university students, activists and civil society representatives) by forging ties between civil society actors in both countries, offering targeted training on civic activism on a wide range of issues, and helping to shape a more positive political context underlying Armenian-Turkish engagement.
The RSC will continue to implement our youth training activities in partnership with the Civic Forum NGO, an Armenia-based partner endowed with extensive experience in the field of youth training (including work for the Council of Europe, SALTO and EU Youth in Action programmes), which supplements our own experience in conflict-resolution youth training experience. Furthermore, we will once again utilize a team of professional trainers, reflecting a shared and joint design with partners from Turkey and leveraging and complementing other youth-focused efforts.
The specific objectives of this activity will consist of two youth trainings, with one in each Armenia and Turkey, as a follow-up training to our earlier activities, and with an emphasis on “best practices” and “lessons learned.” These trainings are to be based on a “train the trainer” methodology, designed to maximize the impact and outcome, and will focus on empowering youth by offering civic training and advocacy workshops that can be applied to Armenia-Turkey advocacy and organizational support.
After our success in holding earlier youth-focused training courses, the second stage of the youth training will aim to deepen participants’ knowledge, develop their skills and shape a more positive opinion and political context of the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process. Moreover, by utilizing European experts and trainers the training will deepen participants’ understanding of the key concepts on conflict management/transformation and peace-building efforts; expose the participants to new concepts of designing initiatives/projects which could promote the Armenia-Turkey normalisation process at least on the civil society level; develop a common vision of the normalisation process and its final outcomes; and map the potential resources for joint efforts to contribute to a shared, common vision of Armenia-Turkey normalisation.
The outcomes of our youth-focused activities are aimed at empowering youth as an “agent of change” and forging deeper ties between civil society organizations to help shape a more positive political context to strengthen and advocate for the Armenian-Turkish normalization process. We will again focus on youth training events, building on the success of our earlier efforts in this area.
Ms. Arpine Aleksanyan and Ms. Sona Baloyan from Yerevan, from “Matenadaran” Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, were supported with the travel grant to visit Istanbul, Turkey for meetings with the Armenian Patriarchate, Armenian high schools, foundations and publishing houses to discuss possibilities of further collaboration on preserving the Armenian culture.