Armenia today represents a vivid example both of new opportunities and challenges that the youth are facing. This is partly evidenced by the fact that 88% of young men and women (18-29 years of age) view the 2018 change of government in Armenia positively. At the same time, issues including unemployment, poverty, housing as well as other challenges in the socio-economic sphere carry their own particular impacts on youth resulting in a large number of young people leaving the country, either for permanent emigration or seasonal guest worker jobs. This report synthesises findings and analysis of research into the participation of youth in decision making and peacebuilding in Armenia in the context of the political changes since April 2018.
The Report (produced in Yerevan 2019,) has been produced as part of “Progressing Youth Participation in Armenia on Governance and Peace” project.
Azerbaijan’s military action against settlements on Armenia’s sovereign territory violates international law and cannot be justified by any of Azerbaijan’s declared statements on provocations, the mining of Azerbaijani’s territory, or ongoing frustrations at the pace of implementation of the 2020 ceasefire agreement. We appeal for an immediate cessation of military action for the protection of civilians and a return to ongoing dialogue formats.
PCi’s peacebuilders and our partners have long-standing relations with civic and political actors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan and have a profound respect for those who have been committed to a peaceful transformation around the parameters of the conflict between the two countries. We have deep empathy with the people of Azerbaijan who experienced considerable suffering and acknowledge outstanding grievances from previous wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are convinced, however, that a military or force-based resolution to the present situation can only cause harm to the neighbourly relations without which a lasting peace is impossible.
We call on civil society and independent actors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to act in line with principles that look ahead to peaceful relations between the two countries by withholding from rhetoric that supports or justifies military action, by not posting information that has not been verified, and by using ties that have been built over years of working for peace to in the region to verify facts, understand perspectives, and provide moral support to one another.
A training manual was produced as a component of the project ‘Progressing Youth Participation in Armenia on Governance and Peace’, which supports UNSCR 2250 on youth, peace and security. The manual has four modules which support users in:
increasing understanding of peace and peacebuilding together with the basics of conflict transformation
developing communication skills in support of non-violent dialogue
communicating approaches and tools related to decision making in line with UNSCR 2250 leading to the development of action plans for youth engagement in governance
PCi worked with YCCD (an Armenian NGO) to promote youth participation in decision making and peacebuilding in Armenia, supporting UN Security Resolution 2250 calling on governments to include youth participation in local, national and international institutions, in efforts to end conflict. A short film was produced to capture the project’s impact (available in Armenian with English subtitles).
PCi has produced a research report focusing on the participation of youth in decision making and peacebuilding in Armenia in the context of the political changes since April 2018. The research was conducted in the framework of the project “Progressing youth participation in Armenian on governance and peace”, which is implemented by Peaceful Change initiative and Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan and is funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.
Peaceful Change initiative worked with an Armenian NGO, Youth Cooperation Centre of Dilijan (YCCD), to promote youth participation in decision making related to peace and governance issues. This supports UNSCR 2250, which urges governments to include youth participation in local, national, and international institutions, in efforts to end conflict.
15 young activists from Yerevan, Tavush, Shirak, Lori, Kotayk and Ararat regions participated in the six-day training held in Dilijan in August 2019. They were equipped with the skills to become ‘trainers’ and take their skills back into their communities, to work with other young people to engage them in peace and governance issues.
The training was structured around a Training Manual that had been developed with support from PCi. It sought to improve understanding, among the youth, of peace and peacebuilding in Armenia, and explained the basics of conflict transformation.
Arman, a 28-yearold civil society activist, said: “It was useful to know that peace is not just a general term and that it can be used in both a positive and negative way.” It also sought to develop communication skills that support non-violent dialogue and outlined approaches and tools that support the development of action plans for youth engagement in governance in Armenia.
Following the training, Marika, a 26-year-old teacher, said: “Now I am ready to go back to school and to work with the new materials, the Training Manual will be very helpful!”
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.”
Peaceful Change initiative worked with YCCD (an Armenian NGO) to promote youth participation in decision making and peacebuilding in Armenia, supporting UN Security Resolution 2250 calling on governments to include youth participation in local, national and international institutions, in efforts to end conflict. A short film was produced to capture the project’s impact (available in Armenian with English subtitles).