Second part of the long-term project "AnOther Peace" was a Study Visit and it took place on 18-26 August in Yerevan, Participants were youth workers and NGO representatives from EU and neighboring countries: Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg, Hungary, Lithuania, Russia and Poland.
Giga martashvili and Giorgi pruidze took part from Georgia.
We headed to Yerevan by car, taking a Lithuanian guy with us, who had arrived in Tbilisi the day before. We had a lot of fun with him in the city for a day. The journey by road was fun, although the roads were in a bad state of repair, but driving to another country on an Erasmus+ project is way more interesting than taking a plane.
The objectives of the visit were:
to learn about youth work and the circumstances of the youth NGOs in each country as they relate to peace building/education and
to get to know about the youth policy being developed by the Armenian Government, also as it relates to peace building/education.
The first day was about getting know to each other through playing different games and undertaking various activities.
The visit was saturated with cognitive and outgoing activities.
We visited the Regional Studies Centre, where we were simply amazed by the professionalism and communication skills of Richard Giragosian, Director of the Centre, who told us a lot about some of the relevant issues in the region, that the media do not report and about which we would not have otherwise learnt.
We visited the Assyrian church in Verin Dvin, where we learned a lot about Assyrians and one of the priests sang a chant for us in Assyrian. Giorgi says, he found true Christian spirituality in that church:
“I have served in the church for 10 years and have never been as close to God”.
We also visited the Yezidi temple in Aknalij, where we learned about the Yezidi ethnic minority.
We also visited PINK NGO, where we learned about the LGBT situation in Armenia.
On our last day we visited Memorial and museum of Armenian Genocide, which was one of the most soul-touching places, dedicated to the history, that we have seen.
We had visiting speakers from Disability-Inclusive Development NGO,
Hrant Donk foundation,
Society without Violence NGO.
These 3 speaker supplied us with a lot of information about the situation for women’s rights in Armenia. We have to record how good the representatives were, they had all the statistics and analysis done that you need to know very detailed situation before taking action.
“Was it fun? Yes, absolutely”
Our fun started on very first day. It was an exceptionally sociable group and we adapted well to each other. Every evening we’d gather on the balcony, play different games, or have a walk around the city together – both on foot and by car. A taxi costs around 1-2EUR, so it was no problem to call for a minivan and go wherever we wanted at any time. One of those amazing evenings was a really great cross-cultural night where we shared different things from our cultures. We Georgians had some wine, chacha, sarajishvili brandy, churchkhelas and local cheese sulguni.
A lot of countries had their local vodka, and we had to try everything – starting with some good quality chocolates, ending with Zakuska.
Speaking personally – the homemade sausages of the Hungarian guy were awesome. Overall, it was one of the best projects we’ve been to and we have come away with some wonderful memories, some of the best in our lives.
We would like to thank the organisers and facilitators: Tatev Margaryan, Seg Kirakossian, Artsrun Pivazyan, Eduard Oganyan.
And special thanks to Stanislav Avdeev for organising the informal activities, and, as participant, for organising so well all the fun evenings.
The project was organised by Foreign Students of Luxembourg, hosted by WIYU NGO and financed by the Erasmus+ Programme , Luxembourgish National Agency - Anefore.