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The Power of Intercultural and Interreligious dialogue, Armenia

Intercultural and interreligious understanding - what is it? A distant dream, utopia or an urgent necessity? Anyway, despite any answer it is impossible to deny that nowadays it is one of the most important topics all over the world.

From 16 to 24 July 2016, 25 young people (including us, three representatives of NGO “Stella”) got together in sunny Yerevan in order to participate in a wonderful training “The Power of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue” and to discuss how we can turn the dream about peaceful and tolerant world into reality. We spent nine days trying to figure out how to promote mutual understanding between people from different cultural backgrounds and how to combat hate speech and its consequences. Sometimes our views were completely opposite, sometimes it was difficult to accept someone's point of view, but in the end we all proved by our own examples that cultural differences will never influence our relations if we respect them and rather concentrate on what we have in common.

We worked on the aims of the project using different methods of non-formal education. The final practical task that we had to do was to spread the message that love, respect and no hate in our hearts can save people's lives and be the best way to solve conflicts instead of aggression. We wanted to create something visible in order to spread this message in society and we organized a great video flash mob. It took place on the European Day of Victims of Hate Crime. In this way, we tried to make our small contribution into achieving peace all over the world.



Even though the project was full of serious discussions, in between we had a lot of fun while exploring beautiful Armenia. We are very grateful to the organizers for giving us the chance to see "Garni and Geghard" the world-famous temples. We explored ancient and unique Armenian culture while traveling, spending time with locals and even while dancing on a huge Armenian wedding! At the same time, we appreciate that one day we had an opportunity to explore each participants' country's culture during the intercultural evening that was arranged by the organizers. But the most precious memory about the project that we will cherish forever are the amazing people that we have met there. Perhaps, before the project it would sound impossible, if someone said that you could gather 25 people together and every one of them would be such an awesome and unique personality, with no exceptions; that all these people in only nine days could become a real family, that they would start to support each other, would try their best to take care of each other and would sincerely wish that this friendship never ended and one day they could meet again.

Therefore, we would like to thank NGO “Stella” and our dear organizers of the project "The Power of Intercultural and Interreligious dialogue" for this unforgettable impressions and experience that will stay with us forever and will always motivate us to continue doing our deeds to make this big world better.

Lada Yaroslava, Victoria Volosnik, Vladyslav Andriyanov