«Who is Right and What to Do?!». Seminar in Yerevan


20231017 151200  NNN VVVDuring the project   “Return Our Hug to the Hague” (ttp://www.west-east-fund.com/index.php/en/ ) at the plenary session in the Hague in July, 2022, there was a heated discussion at the Abovian Armenian Center if all the citizens of Russia are responsible for the war in Ukraine.

The fact that the Council of the EU rejected a preference for a simplified procedure for issuing Schengen visas to all Russian citizens, and the Baltic countries have refused visas altogether, proves that the problem raised at the Plenary is of pan-European significance.

In July 2023 года Dutch National Agency Erasmus+ awarded our new project 2023-2-NL02-KA154-YOU-000167606 «Who is Right and What to Do?!»

RESILIENT CIVIL SOCIETY FOR A MORE AMBITIOUS EASTERN PARTNERSHIP

IMG-20230102-WA0006On December 5, 6 and 7 a representative from the  East Bridges Foundation attended the 14th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Prague. This forum is in place to ensure and enable a platform for a strong and independent civil society, democracy and European integration in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The theme of this year's assembly was "Resilient Civil Society for a More Ambitious Eastern Partnership" and it was centered around the Russian aggression in the war on Ukraine. 

The opening of the forum took place in the Czech Parliament, where deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Kurfüst spoke on the challenges for civil society during these difficult times of conflict for the countries in the Eastern Partnership. He also handed out the Civil Society Award 2022 to the Ukrainian National Platform. The second day of the Assembly was the start of the substantive meeting. The event provided three panel debates, which hosted various representatives of civil society organizations from the six countries of the Eastern Partnership and in addition a representative from a European Union institution as well. The first panel debate discussed: A stronger Eastern Partnership that Withstands War and was very much focused on the War in Ukraine and how (Ukrainian) civil society has a role in this war. The panelists touched upon the different ambitions that the countries in the partnership have towards the EU, while they do face similar challenges. Some panelists, as well as participants of the assembly pointed out that the focus of the war in Ukraine tends to overshadow large conflicts and problems that other countries in the partnership go through, such as the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Return our Hug to the Hague

1т The Revolution of Roses in Georgia in 2003, Euromaidan in Ukraine in 2014 and the Velvet revolution in Armenia in 2018 and the active participation of young people in these events showed that youth is most of all interested in democratic changes and can really influence the political situation in the state. The implementation of the democratic reforms in these countries is of great interest for the EU, too.

Our project “Hug The Hague. Youth Involvement in Democratic Institutions”, implemented in May 2019, showed that young people from EaP and EU countries believe that cooperation among these countries is beneficial and useful and that young people can play a prominent role and are ready to take an active part in fostering and promotion of these cooperation. The project showed that participation of the policy-makers in the project makes it much more interesting and useful for young people. It was important for us that policy-makers also liked the project, although they lived in the same rather modest conditions as young people. The participation of the representatives of the embassies of Ukraine and Armenia at the conference showed a great interest of these countries in such projects. The recommendations developed during the conference were well received not only by NGOs in the EaP countries, but also in the EU. In particular, Vasilis Maragos, Head of Unit NEAR.C.2 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus & Eastern Partnership, wrote to us “your contribution is very timely and much appreciated and has been shared with relevant colleagues."

 

Give Peace a Chance

medium LenonPeople who haveabsolute power, as a rule, begin to feel like gods. They are not   able to create palaces and gardens with one swing of a magic wand, to make   their citizens richer and happier. Thus, they have the ability to deprive other   people of freedom or even life. They feel like a god who decides people's   destinies.

  The Soviet Union, having the world's second economy, the world's largest army,   a  large number of allies in the world, suffered a humiliating defeat in the Cold   War. Thus, the history has taught the leaders of today's Russia nothing. Thirty   years later, on February 24, 2022, the leadership of the Russian Federation,     knowing full that their country's economy ranks only 11th in the world in terms of   Gross Domestic Product, the military budget is 15 times smaller than that of the   United States, decided not just to resume a new cold war with the United States and the EU, but also start a real war to capture Ukraine. Despite the fact that for several months in a row the Russian media kept saying that the information about plans to attack Ukraine was only a fantasy of the US administration.

Dialogue Above Judgment

 

G1November 12-20, 2019, three representatives of RI-WEB, Shahrokh  Ashraf, Polat Yilmaz and Lukas Maschunskas, participated in a Training Course „Dialogue Above Judgment“, organized in Bakuriani, Georgia, by Danish NGO Mellem Education.

       The objectives of the Training Course were:

Understanding of existing problems and its causes, exploring existing lines oftensions/conflicts in Europe; Teaching young leaders useful tools and methodologies in order to reduce discriminatory and stereotypical thinking; To have a space for young leaders to share their best practices of their local societies; To involve young leaders from minority groups from various European and neighbor countries; Strengthening partnership cooperation among European Union and Eastern Partnership countries and empowering EECA NGOs; Creation of a network of likeminded organizations and individuals interested in further cooperation in the field of anti-discrimination and inter-cultural dialogue.

The context that was addressed by these objectives was:

Hug The Hague. Youth Involvement in Democratic Institutions.

H7The 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 sixtieth anniversary of Rome Agreements signing

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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.

 

Marvelous and Exciting Week in the Hague

14572841 10154386635995873 1099749636889562910 nAs 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.