The Velvet revolution in Armenia in 2018 showed that young people are most of all interested in democratic changes and that youth can really influence the political situation in the state. Thus, democracy is not only about the opportunity for young people to go on the streets and claim the democratic changes. Our Erasmus+ projects in Armenia and Georgia showed that the knowledge of local youth about democratic institutions and democracy in general is more of a theoretical type and that they are lacking practical knowledge and experience in this field. Tough, where can they get this knowledge if the majority of young people form EaP countries have never been to the EU countries and have never communicated with their peers from the above-mentioned countries? Our questionnaires and interviews showed that the desire of young people from EaP countries to communicate and cooperate with their peers and colleagues form the EU is very high. We were very happy when the Dutch NA of Erasmus+ program supported our project "Hug The Hague. Youth Involvement in Democratic Institutions".
The EU leaders’ summit to mark the 60th anniversary of Rome agreements signing, which eventually led to the creation of the European Union, took place in Rome on March 25. This anniversary makes one think of what the EU has achieved over the years. In my opinion, the main result is that Europe has not lost its role as one of the main players in the world politics. In addition, the Euro has become the second-important currency in the world. This is certainly a great success. The fact that for many years there are no internal borders in the Western Europe is also a huge achievement. In general, I believe that the experience of the EU can be a good example for creating the future structure of the world. But I would also like to pay more attention to a number of serious mistakes that prevented the triumph of the united Europe.
As usual the training started with the introduction. After several words about the project, organization and project Team, name-games were introduced to the participants. The group was international and the names were so different but to work all together we were to get to know each other. It is obvious, that it is much easier to work within a group of people when the rules are set up. So, we worked all together to develop and accept the common rules agreed by all the participants.
Today is exactly one month since I left Jordan. But everything is still bright, and even bulkier. Because the mind is always throws us this trick - when you're interested in something, then you meet the subject at every turn, it seems like the whole world screams about it and is related with it by thousands of invisible threads, or thick clear ropes. For a month I live under the pressure of news, talks, movies, articles, items, references to/about the Middle East. And my news now have bindings to my own experience and to the specific people, it gives a different perspective, a different perception of the topic. This in fact was the main point of the project, in which I happened to participate. The essence and value of such a study visit is to feel the position and state of refugees and migrants from the East, which are inclined to believe to be the wild hordes from the East, leading to the death of the West. Try to understand the new neighbors. Break some of my prejudices. See the ways to live together.
On the 30th of July during the peaceful demonstration of citizens there was arrested Coordinator of Working Group 4 “Contacts between People”, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Hovsep Khurshudyan. Hovsep Khurshudyan implements very important work on the international level as a Coordinator of Working Group 4 and a member of The Steering Committee EaP CSF.
West–East Bridges Foundation addressed Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia with a letter asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia to do everything possible for Hovsep Khurshudyan’s release.
West–East Bridges Foundation under the frame of EaP CSF have successfully worked in Working Group 4 EaP CSF and actively cooperated with its Coordinator. We consider that Hovsep Khurshudyan’s arrest will not help the Armenian authorities to solve political crisis in the country but also strongly hurts the international image of the country.
One of the brick-set causes is the fact that the British people got tired of fighting with bulky and clumsy bureaucracy of the European Commission. EaP Civil Society Forum is a great example of how a good idea could got stuck in a quagmire. We have already spoken about the results of EaP CSF conference in Riga (http://www.west-east-fund.com/index.php/en/news/48-eastern-partnership-civil-society-forum-or-give-us-some-water-as-we-are-so-hungry-that-don-t-have-no-place-to-sleep). Unfortunately, 7th EaP CSFAnnual Assembly in Kyiv developed more questions rather than provided the participants with answers. The main paradox is that The Steering Committee EaP CSF has the same authority as the Belorussian president Lukashenko. Only the Steering Committee knows which EU organizations sent the application forms to participate in the next EaP CSF Annual Assembly and only Steering Committee decides what organizations are to be accepted or rejected. EaP CSF National Platforms have the right to recommend the organizations representing their countries at the EaP CSF Annual Assembly. We would like to remind that the participation in EaP CSF Annual Assembly gives the right for the organization to become a member of EaP CSF. Thus, even though the EU organization got the membership of EaP CSF to receive the information about other EU members, addresses and e-mails in particular, is impossible. This is a secret under lock and key. So, even when the EU Organization got the membership of EaP CSF it is still very restricted in its opportunities to influence anything. Such organizations have
Youth unemployment is one of the most critical challenges the world is facing today: young people make up almost half of the world’s unemployed, despite accounting for only one quarter of the working population. Youth unemployment rates are historically four to five times more than the adult rates in every country in the world. In 2012, youth made up to 40% of the world unemployed. Close to 75 million youth were unemployed worldwide. The quality and relevance of education is often considered as the first root cause of youth unemployment. Yet, high education does not guarantee a decent job. One global survey found that more than 55% of employers worldwide believe there is a “skill crisis” as businesses witnesses a growing mismatch between the skills students learn in the education system and those required in the workplace.
As soon as the project was approved we started communications with partners. All the partners received the information that the project was approved and they can select the participants. The first edition of info-pack was distributed among the partners and future participants. The Application Form was created and sent to the partners for their participants to fill in. The form contained not only general questions, but some special parts that we needed for the project, like “What’s your definition of Democracy” and “Which session you can propose to conduct during the session?”. When the hotel was booked the partners and future participants received the second edition of info-pack containing more detailed information on how to get there, what the temperature will be, which clothes to take according to the weather and active games, what to bring for training sessions, intercultural party and other special activities. The info-pack also contained a small English-Georgian dictionary. When we knew more or less half of the participants, we started to panic about gender balance, as we had 2/3 of girls. We started to ask other partners, who did not send the information about their participants, to send us more boys, but they failed in this task, and we ended up with a group of 17 girls and 11 boys.