As part of the SATR project, in 2010-2012, EPF collaborated with Toplum Gönüllüleri (TOG), a large-scale youth volunteer organization which works all over Turkey, including its eastern regions, to pilot the YouthBank model in Turkey. This was a case of a transfer of the developmental know-how – EPF’s signature YouthBank model of youth activism in the communities – across the border from Armenia into Turkey. EPF and TOG managed to establish three YouthBanks in Turkey and set up a dialogue between YouthBank members in the two countries.
The YouthBank network in Turkey grew substantially during 2012-2014; this creates an opportunity to follow-up on the successful initial contact between the Armenia-based and the newly engaged Turkey-based Youth Bankers. EPF’s and TOG’s experience proved that in the peace-building context, the YouthBank model provides an opportunity for the youth to experience the openness and the willingness of their peers on the other side of the border to establish relationships, share commonalities, explore each other’s cultures, and, in doing so, to promote peace and open relations. Therefore, EPF will partner with TOG in an effort to sustain collaboration between the Armenia- and Turkey-based YouthBanks via exchange visits and joint project implementation.
The activity will empower socially active young people from Armenia and Turkey to become community leaders in matters of community concern, as well as to grow into multipliers and agents of change in matters relevant to the normalization between the two countries. The activity will promote an increased trust and enhanced confidence between YouthBank members from the two countries, as well as an improved knowledge and practice of participating YouthBank members in a jointly explored areas of cross-border or regional concern.
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.