“Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: the role of youth in the solution of the military conflicts”

Why this conference?
In many regions of the World there still have been various conflicts (between nations, countries, ethnic groups and etc.), at the different levels and stages. Many fear conflicts – with good reason – since they can be highly uncomfortable, especially when you do not know what to do about them. However, conflicts can also create energy and open up new possibilities for change and development. The challenge is to gain a positive approach towards conflicts by learning how to deal with them. In this way we can benefit from conflicts rather than let them lead to stagnation of the programme and damage of the relationships within a group.

Something, which has particularly come under our attention, is the negative denotation of the world conflicts. We believe that conflict is not bad per definition. Rather conflicts, through using and transforming conflicts at an earlier stage into sustainable ways of coexisting management in youth work. The traditional approaches focus on analysing and eliminating the causes of conflicts, but if somebody is called the “cause of the conflict” they might only resist the proposed solution even harder. In stead we wish to use the power of imagination – we wish to show the participants methods for creating shared visions and for understanding the interconnectedness of our actions. More specifically we wish to introduce systems approach and appreciative inquiry as ways of resolution of the conflicts.

This seminar & conference has been funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Republic. This training tries to offer young people in general and young people with fewer opportunities in particular, non-formal ways to learn. Under this there is strong focus on conflict resolution as a means of increasing the tolerance of the European and Asian societies and the personal growth of the people participating in youth activities. There is strong belief that a lot can be done to facilitate that such learning happens. Learning and development has to grow from within, indeed, these aspirations. This training will focus on implementing innovative approaches towards conflict management by starting with the experience of participants.

Overall Aims and Objectives of the conference
The aim of this conference is to present and train innovative methods, which will be focused on the transformation of conflicts into new understandings, creative ideas and broader agreements. According to our belief this is the true potential of the diversity of the current European and Asian societies. In this way conflicts will be seen as a potential for young people and Youth NGOs to grow deeper and wider and expand their networks, but also for personal growth of the individual participant. Moreover we wish to stimulate the formulation of new projects within the framework of the program.
The objectives of the conference are to:
• Gain knowledge to predict and analyse regional conflicts.
• Discover power of youth for resolution of the current conflicts by using their guidance, knowledge and skills.
• Gain skills to transform conflicts into peaceful dialogue about visions for the future and cooperation. The participants should gain skills to transform conflict-escalating acts at all levels into talks about future cooperation – both as part of the conflict and as neutral third part.
• Create an understanding of how to use training-methods which take a contextualised approach into account, so that the issues discussed and the skills developed are relevant and easily applicable and thus to facilitate learning transfer;
• Build East-West partnerships between the partners involved and the organisations represented;
• Assess and enhance exciting conflict resolution practices;
• Equip participants with knowledge and basic conflict transformation skills;
• Empower participants to carry out conflict transformation training in a team and initiate co-operation between participants as a basic for future training work;
• Identify potential linkages and partnerships for multiplying the training outreach and the impact of the skills development.

Methodology of the conference
The basis of this conference will be situated learning, which means that rather than working with exercises from manuals and simulation games, we will incorporate cases of the participants and discuss the issues in relation to their reality. This requires a very active participation from the participants. If you are interested in participating you should therefore be willing to share and work on challenges from your own organisational work in small groups (e.g. challenges you are meeting when managing a youth project). This approach has been chosen as it is believed that conflict management skills can only be practiced while trying to deal with real-life conflicts, rather than a simulation remote from reality. One participant will thus practice the mediator-tools, while the other will be sharing his/her current conflicts. We will thus use exercises (interviews, role-plays, drama etc.) mainly based on real-life cases/experiences. The same goes for developing project ideas, as think the outcome is greater when based on the real visions of the organisations rather than simulated cases.
The main focus of the conference is to train innovative resolution of the conflicts competences. We draw upon two approaches for inspiration. The first approach is systems approach. This is a theory, which sees everything as interconnected and working in feedback systems, where elements reinforce or block each other. The specific tools connected with this approach are a certain set of questioning-techniques and facilitation methods, which stimulate reflection on destructive patterns and options for breaking these. The other approach is appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry takes the best of what is as its starting point for development and growth. Through finding strengths, wishes and hopes, the method encourages to do more of what is best, combine the best solutions from different areas into creative options and in this way move forward. The participants will both be subjected to the methods and thus experience their potentials, get a formal introduction to the theories behind, and try to apply them themselves. The trainers will make a great effort not to lose the reality out of sight – the reality in which the learned skills should be applied. Therefore the training-flow will be interrupted by reflection moments focusing on applying insights into future Youth activities as well as other activities of the organisations.

Profile of Participants
The seminar will bring together participants from a variety of backgrounds: youth leaders and those working with conflict resolution as well as NGO representatives, Youth Workers, Youth Leaders. The requirements for participation are:
• Be aged between 18 and 30 (indicative)
• Have a certain level of experience with the work of their organisation
• Be in a position to multiply the learning outcomes and to implement project ideas
• Be willing to continue East-West cooperation after the training.
• Have proven personal and organisational interest in this training
• Be fully available during the whole training course (meaning training and travel days) and willing to participate actively (only in that case you will be certified)
• Be able to speak English well enough.
• Active at the local, regional and national level,
• Level of commitment for follow up of project implementation,
• Available for full duration of the conference

The participant selection process will be based on a detailed questionnaire and recommendation letters from sending organisations.

Which countries can participate?
ALL Countries can participate

Practical and Financial Conditions of Participation
First of all there is no participation fee in this conference.
Board and lodging, local transportation will be provided by the organizers.
You will be picked up at the airport.
International transportation and visa fees have to be paid by the participants.

There will be a special procedure in place for visa. Please submit with your application form the attached visa request form, including a copy of your passport.
Participants who will be selected from the countries that there is no Embassy of Azerbaijan Republic are able to have entry visa to Azerbaijan at the International Airport named after Haydar Aliyev.
Other selected participants:
We will send the letter of invitation to the Embassy of Azerbaijan Republic to your country.
Note: It’s very important please take the invitation letter with you in any case.
We will make easier getting visa procedures for you.

The conference will take place from the 17th of December – till the 20th of December, 2007
Arrival day: the 17th of December, 2007 - all day
The end of the program: the 2oth of November, 2007
The Departure day: the 20th of December, 2007 - all day

The conference will be hosted in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan Republic by the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
Information on exact venue will be provided later.
Exact location will be shared with acceptance and invitation letters.

Working languages:
The working language will be English and Azerbaijan only.

Cultural Program
• Meeting Baku city by excursing to the Old city, the Maiden Tower, historical monuments, see sights etc.

Application Procedure and Selection of Participants
All those interested in attending must return the application form to the team by e-mail latest by ……………..
In order to apply for this training you have to use the attached application form.
The application has to be sent to

The deadline for applying is the 10th of December 2007.

Selection is expected to be done by the 11rth of December 2007

Further questions
If there are any further questions concerning this conference, please do not hesitate to contact the following details:

If you want to attend the conference on the international level, furthermore if you want to travel to one of the best city in the world Baku, apply now.

The preparatory team will select participants on the basis of the profile outlined above and ensuring a balanced group (gender, geographical regions, different types of experiences, cultural backgrounds and organisations).


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