Regional Studies Center foundation, in partnership with Civic Forum NGO with financial support of the EU within the framework of the Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process programme conducted a two-phase training course entitled “Closed Borders, Open Minds”. The first training course took place in Yerevan, Armenia on 12-19 May 2014 and the second one in Istanbul, Turkey on 12-19 October.
The training courses were aimed at deepening participants’ knowledge, developing their skills and shaping positive opinion and political context on the Armenia-Turkey normalization process.
The objectives of the second training course were:
- To promote active citizenship among the participants motivating them to act as agents of changes and opinion leaders in their local communities,
- To give an opportunity of sharing experience on non violent actions and advocacy campaigns, learning from the best practices and failures,
- To create a platform and set ground for future cooperation across the borders by bringing together youth leaders from both countries and equipping them with tools and methods,
- To serve as a framework for intercultural dialogue and communication between the participants,
- To encourage the participants to contribute to the Armenia-Turkey normalization process using their personal and professional capacities,
- To advocate with policy makers a faster Armenia-Turkey normalization process,
- To deepen participants’ understanding of the key concepts on conflict management/transformation and peacebuilding,
- To expose the participants new concepts of designing initiatives/projects which could promote the Armenia-Turkey normalization process at least on the civil society level,
- To develop a common vision of the normalization process and its final outcomes,
- To map the potential resources for joint efforts to contribute the common vision of Armenia Turkey normalization.
The training course was based on non formal education methodology, including work in small groups, debates, discussions, workshops, visits, etc.. Contributions from experts in the field of conflict management established a theoretical framework and a common reference point for learning and communication. There was also opportunities to meet civic activists who shared their practical experience on the topic and share the lessons learnt. The project was adapted to the needs and expectations of the participants, who would put it into practice by developing and implementing follow up projects.