Peaceful Change initiative held the first of a series of Media Consultation Dialogue, conducted as part of the project: Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development. Media Consultation Dialogues look to engage media experts and professionals from a range of backgrounds and who hold different perspectives, to assess different elements of the media scene and propose new approaches to tackling conflict-generating narratives.
The first Dialogue took place over two separate online sessions on 17 November and 1 December 2020. It reflected on findings of a recent study on divisive narratives in the media in Kosovo and Serbia and discussed critical factors that enable unhealthy portrayals of Kosovo and Serbia in one another’s informational space. The discussions proposed:
Finding ways to give media outlets more and more diverse information about their neighbouring country, to help journalists move past worn-out narratives that dominate the present media space.
Finding ways to incentivise journalists and media outlets to research, produce and publish different types of stories.
Pooling resources, so that media representatives receive more information about one another’s societies on a more regular basis.
Peaceful Change initiative’s Programme Lead on the Western Balkans Programme, Ian Bancroft, participated in the Foreign Policy Centre Webinar on “Building a lasting peace? Power sharing and sectarian identities in Bosnia” on 9 February 2021. The panel discussion was focused on the complex relationship between peace building, power sharing and sectarian identities in Bosnia; it also examined the real challenges of improving public trust and reforming institutions in ways that enhance and protect peacebuilding in Bosnia.
PCI’s partner in the project Amplifying local voices for equitable development has announced a small grants scheme to support local-level, community-based initiatives that help deal with the impact of Covid-19 on local communities, whilst cutting across ethnic divisions.
Full details of the grants scheme can be found at the following links:
From 11-15 July 2018 in the Georgian city of Kobuleti, PCi’s Programme Adviser Artak Ayunts conducted a training for young leaders from across the South Caucasus titled ‘Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding’. The training was part of a larger project, ‘Youth for Peace in the South Caucasus’, which aims to build trust among young activists from different parts of the region, who will work at peace camps in Armenia and Georgia for teenagers with mixed nationalities. The training was organised with the support of the international non-governmental organisation HEKS-EPER and several NGOs from across the South Caucasus region: Syunik Development NGO; Regional Network of Peace and Reintegration; Lazarus Charity Foundation of the Patriarchate of Georgia; and The Union of Azerbaijani Women of Georgia.
PCi participated at a Kyiv roundtable event co-organised with the parliamentary Human Rights committee and hosted at the Ombudsman’s office on 23 October 2018. The roundtable focused on the conflict in eastern Ukraine and sought to promote ways to engage across divided communities and promote dialogue in the interests of achieving practical changes for vulnerable people in conflict-affected areas. As part of the Panel input, participants also shared experience from PCi practice on institutionalising dialogue at a local level in Ukraine. The panel speakers (in the PCi session) included Jonathan Cohen, Executive Director of Conciliation Resources; Natalia Mirimanova, a conflict resolution practitioner; and two Senior Advisers at Peaceful Change initiative, Craig Oliphant and Anthony Foreman.
Tim Molesworth, PCi’s Senior Adviser, Conflict Sensitivity and Peace Technology, participated in the annual meeting of the global Conflict Sensitivity Community Hub in Beirut, Lebanon, from 17-19 July 2019. The Hub brings together international and local organisations to promote and develop the concept and practice of conflict sensitivity.
The 2019 Hub meeting provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience and tools relating to conflict sensitivity between participating organisations. Tim presented PCi’s experience facilitating the Libya Conflict Sensitive Assistance Forum since 2013, sharing some of the lessons learned and discussing how the experience could be relevant in other contexts. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the Hub to connect with the recently established Local Conflict Sensitivity Forum in Beirut facilitated by House of Peace, and to share perspectives.
Within the Alternotion project – which aims to create an online platform of cross-border storytelling on the cultural similarities of Armenians and Azerbaijanis – PCi’s Programme Adviser Artak Ayunts conducted training for young bloggers and vloggers from Armenia on conflict transformation and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (3 February 2019). The training was part of an EU-funded PeaCE project (Peacebuilding through Capacity Enhancement and Civic Engagement), implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation, aiming to encourage young Armenians and Azerbaijanis from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh to develop a shared vision for peace in the region through learning conflict transformation and peacebuilding methodologies.
In April 2019, PCi commenced work on a 12-month project funded by the UK Government and within the framework of UNSCR 2250 on youth, peace and security. The first component involves research into youth involvement in the violence-free revolution that led to a change in government in 2018. Workshops will then be convened for Armenian civil society organisations focusing on peacebuilding to discuss the research findings and develop recommendations, and it is envisaged that organisations will work collaboratively to advocate for the recommendations. The project aims to have the recommendations included in the government’s official Youth Policy. The second component will develop educational materials to build young people’s awareness of peace and security issues in Armenia and increase knowledge of peacebuilding activities. Materials will be piloted among youth directly affected by conflict in the province of Tavush in the north east of Armenia.
Peaceful Change initiative and the Youth Cooperation Center of Dilijan (YCCD) hosted a roundtable event on Youth Policy issues in Armenia (October 2019) in Yerevan. This is a component of the project ‘Progressing Youth Participation in Armenia on Governance and Peace’. Participants included officials from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (MESCS) responsible for the development of Youth Policy in Armenia, representatives from civil society and youth organisations, active youth workers, and young men and women interested in the issue. The discussions were focused on topics which produced suggested recommendations and messages. PCi and YCCD will work with civil society and government to raise awareness of these recommendations/messages, to promote inclusive and participatory processes in the development of Youth Policy in Armenia.
Peaceful Change initiative accompanied leaders of youth organisations, government representatives and members of the Armenian National Assembly on a visit to Scotland from 18-22 November 2019. The delegation met with Scottish youth leaders, government officials, business leaders and academics, gaining insight into how they might strengthen the ability of young people to participate in decision making at different levels on their return to Armenia. Highlights included meetings with Members of the Scottish Parliament (Edinburgh), the Scottish Youth Parliament (Dundee) and youth working alongside police officers at the ‘Community Safety Hub’ in Dundee.
Artur Ghazaryan from the Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan, and PCi’s Armenian project partner, said: “This has been a great experience … young people [in Scotland] are involved in different channels, such as the Youth Parliament, the local council and other informal initiatives and are educated to be civic-minded so they can contribute to political and economic affairs and other areas of life. This is a great example and when we return to Armenia we can seek to try and adopt and improve youth representation in different sectors of life as well.”