REGIONAL SEMINAR OF THE COALITION FOR TRUST

A regional seminar of the South Caucasus Coalition for Trust was held in Yerevan on September 15-17, 2015. It was the first project event following the establishment of the Coalition in Istanbul in June 2015. It was shortly followed by the official registration of the Coalition as an association in Norway in September 2015.

The goals of the seminar were first, to present and discuss student projects implemented within the framework of the project, and second,to bring together as many stakeholders as possible from the region. 

The seminar had altogether 30 participants from Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorny Karabakh and Armenia. They were joined by members of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the project’s implementing agency. The participants included the staff and heads of the project’s partner organizations, members of the student teams that implemented student projects as part of the Coalition for Trust project, and active stakeholders from the media, civil society and academia.

The focal sessions of the seminar were dedicated to the presentation and discussion of student projects. They were varied in their nature and methodology, representing different approaches to trust-building. Two of the projects involved the collection, processing and production of materials for websites (the website of the Coalition and that of a partner organization); one consisted in the production of a film; two were research projects; one enabled trust-building between high school students as part of the Peace Jam international project. Overall, the projects reflected the interest of young people in the ideas of the Coalition and their capacity to implement activities in various formats.

The seminar also included a lecture/discussion of conflict resolution in the region, a conflict resolution game based on the prisoner’s dilemma, and the screening of a Swedish film.

As a result of the seminar, participants from the region had the chance to meet, exchange views and ideas, establish a network, and plan future joint activities. Many of them are hoping to join the Coalition in their organizational or individual capacities (as Friends of the Coalition).

The seminar was widely covered by the media of Armenia, including several news reports and an invitation ofMr Bjørn Engesland to speak in an online TV program.