By Ramin Habibzada, a youth leader, Secretary General of the National Youth Council of Azerbaijan (NAYORA)
In December, 2022 – January, 2023, I had the opportunity to organize training sessions and workshops on cultural remembrance, mutual understanding and tolerance. Working with the Azerbaijani team, we were able to invite both youth and elders from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, many of whom had been living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Baku or other cities in Azerbaijan for the past 30 years due to the conflict.
Our local activities consisted of various workshops and events, including the „Suitcase of My Life“ event, where we invited both youth and elders to share their experiences and thoughts about conflicts in their lives. We also organized energizers and workshops using new methods, which many of the participants found surprisingly effective and vowed to use in their future events.
One of the most challenging parts of the process was shooting a PSA video about the life and challenges of IDPs from the first Karabakh War. We interviewed the wife of a former martyr, and some of the questions we had to ask her were very sensitive, which made it difficult to listen to her answers. Nevertheless, the video was published on our website, and I invite you all to watch it.
Overall, I consider this experience a success as it was able to promote peace education and conflict management in the region. By teaching and learning these important methods, we can strive towards a more peaceful world.
My overall experience with the local activities was very rewarding. It was a great opportunity for me to work with the local audience, especially the IDPs who have been affected by the conflict for so many years. It was very inspiring to see their resilience and their willingness to learn about peace education and conflict management.
My message to everyone is that peace education is a lifelong learning process, and it requires the participation and commitment of individuals, institutions, and societies as a whole. We can all contribute to building a culture of peace in our communities, no matter how small our actions may seem. Through dialogue, understanding, and cooperation, we can create a world where conflicts are resolved peacefully, and people can live together harmoniously, respecting each other’s differences and working towards common goals.
I would also like to thank the organizers of the program for giving me this opportunity to learn and share my knowledge and experience with others. I hope that this program will continue to inspire and empower young people to work towards building a more peaceful and just world.