Ten and One Nights in Jordan


DSC03716Today 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.  

Democracy is understood in its own way in Armenia

HovsepOn 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.


Partnership or closed club?

CSFOne 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

All of us were charmed by Armenia

EU-flag-Erasmus vect POS

12196001 10207090606557172 2957944572737733366 nYouth 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.


Non-Formal Education Tools and Methods for Democratic Changes. Batumi. July 5-14, 2015


DSC01627As 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.

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Фото-0256or give us some water, as we are so hungry that don’t have no place to sleep.

In the year 2013, when Eurasia Partnership Foundation and we organized a seminar in Yerevan, which was dedicated to the international activities of Armenian non-governmental organizations, Armenian colleagues invited us to take part in the projects of Eastern Partnership. You can read on the website of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), that the Forum is aimed at ''consolidation of civil society in the countries of Eastern Partnership and also at the progress of cooperation and experience exchange between the organizations of civil society from countries-participants and EU''. The aim of Respect International is to build bridges between Western and Eastern Europe, so of course we decided to take an advice of our Armenian colleagues. According to the website, one of the aims for EaP CSF is protection of basic freedoms, human rights and principles of democracy.

Training in Georgia

georgia1Youth in Action 3.1 Training course “Short-term Vulunteering for Civil Society” took place in hotel Diana in Kobuleti, Georgia, June 17-25, 2014. It was implemented by the Georgian NGO Young Socialists of Georgia with three facilitators: Maria Kopelyan, Samet Firat Soydemir and Giorgi Kanchaveli. The main problem addressed was the low level of youth activism in Eastern Europe and Caucasus. The main points were: more active inclusion of young people into Civil Society that might be beneficiary to young people, to Civil Society and to the countries in general; promotion of volunteering activities and for this establishing of a network of organisations involved in short-term (up to two months) volunteering of the young people in different NGOs around Eastern Europe and Caucasus. The TC included the participants from Civil Society, Human Rights, Youth and Volunteer NGOs from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Latvia, Croatia, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands.

Training on intercultural dialogue in Utrecht

1It was an unusual training due to the composition of the participants. Our 30 participants arrived in the Dutch city of Utrecht from 23 different European cities from 13 countries: from sunny Spain to snowy Russia. The age of participants ranged from 19 to 50 years. Some participants were actively involved in sports people and others had physical disabilities. Some of the participants had already successfully carried out their own trainings; others participated for the first time. Some participants came from NGOs whose main purpose was work with ethnic minorities, youth groups from suburbs of big cities or rural areas, youth with less opportunities, with disabilities, with HIV or AIDS etc., but does not include promoting intercultural dialogue. Many participants felt we should strictly adhere to a schedule and never deviate from it. We, the organizers of the training, felt that the program could and should be modified to meet the needs of the very diverse group of participants and their various expectations.