Conflict vs Connection:
A Training for Young Peace Builders in Armenia
From 10th to 17th of April, Armenian Progressive Youth NGO (Armenia) in partnership with TeachSurfing (Germany) hosted 45 youth workers from 12 different countries; Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. They were hosted in Armenia to participate in the eight-day international training course “Conflict vs Connection: A Training for Young Peace Builders”.
The implementation of this international Training Course in Armenia was due to the existing conflicts in the region, which in their turn negatively impact both Armenia’s and the neighbouring countries’ development. The course focused mainly on the topics of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace building and conflict management, which are very relevant in the participating countries. As a result, participants of the course have learnt to consider cultural, ethnic and religious diversity as an opportunity and not an obstacle.
The ambition to build peace has been among the political and diplomatic circles of the participating countries. However, many of the conflicts are still unresolved, influencing young people living in those countries. More often, young people are the ones who become victims of violent conflicts and wars.
Within the project, a public “Human Library” event was organized. Local and international participants of the event had heard a lot about Muslims, Buddhists, people of different nationalities and groups, but never had a chance to meet and talk to them, ask them about their daily life, ambitions, aspirations and concerns. “Human Library” was a great opportunity. Human Library works as an ordinary library: readers came to the library, choose a book and read it. The only difference is that books are humans, and the reading is a real conversation.
During the Training Course, 45 participants had the chance to participate in lots of interactive exercises and non-formal educational activities, identifying the reasons of conflicts, possible solutions and the role that young people can play in conflict resolution processes. Additionally to discussing the cross-border and international conflicts, they discussed also interpersonal conflicts and learnt about effective strategies to overcome them.
The International Training Course was organized by Armenian Progressive Youth (Armenia) and TeachSurfing (Germany). It’s been a unique project with its wide geographical scope and the relevance of the subject. The project was funded under the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.