Peace Counts Academy goes Caucasus


Representatives of local NGOs, teachers, young academics and multipliers from Abkhazia, Armenia and Georgia participated on the four-day Peace Counts Academy in the Caucasus region. The Peace Counts Academy took place from 19th to 23rd November 2014 in Yerevan, Armenia.

The Caucasus region is marked by tensions and struggle for political participation and self-determination, since the violent conflicts between Georgia and Abkhazia (1992/93) and between Georgia and South-Ossetia (2008). Until today, communication and interaction beyond the territories' boundaries are difficult. All participants actively promote a culture of peace and inter-generational dialogue in this troubled region.

The concept of the Academy builds on the training of trainers implemented in 2013 in Yerevan. At the core of the Academy were the depending of understanding of topics and methods and the introduction of new ones as well as time for people to meet and exchange their experiences. The participants developed new methods for future local Peace Counts workshops, based on their personal experiences as trainers on the one hand, and reports about successful civil peace initiatives all over the world, on the other hand. Particularly interesting were methods combining Peace Counts reportages and interviews from the project "From Trialogue to Dialogue" implemented by Berghof Foundation in South-Caucasus since 2012.

The participants are motivated to implement their ideas in the coming year and to continue working with Peace Counts in the region. The head of our partner organisation "World Without Violence", Dalila Pilia, states: "It is marvelous: If the project's funding and support continues, we will have more than 150 persons participating on our workshops. Representatives of different generations will have the opportunity to talk about peace work and the promotion of peace, despite their problems and difficulties, and that there is no alternative to a life in peace, not in our [abkhaz] society, nor in the whole of the Caucasus region."

The Academy was facilitated by Berghof Foundation staff members, Andrea Zemskov-Züge and Dagmar Nolden.

The Academy is part of the project "Peace Counts on Tour 2014" which is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with financial means of the German Federal Foreign Office. A comparable Academy concept had been successfully implemented in Northeast India.