CAUCULT

CAUCULT was an international, intercultural project promoting local culture-related initiatives that support ethnic, religious and cultural diversity across the South Caucasus. The unique cultural diversity was the strength of the Caucasus region throughout its history and resulted in an amazingly wide range of cultural expressions. Wars and conflicts of the past decades cast a shadow on the beauty and strength of this unique feature of the Caucasus.

CAUCULT aimed to re-discover the cultural diversity in the Caucasus as a key to a creative, progressive and prosperous development of the region through empowerment of local cultural actors and community art activities promoting intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity. Furthermore, these activities are supposed to encourage a mutual and vivid dialogue between various stakeholders representing different cultural backgrounds.

By means of a variety of targeted measures for capacity building, community art development, targeted media work and the promotion of inclusive cultural policies the project:

  • Supported active participation of citizens, especially groups with less recognized ethnic and cultural backgrounds, in cultural activities;
  • Established strong, inclusive and sustainable networks of cultural actors from different areas in order to actively promote cultural diversity;
  • Enhanced a structured and skillful intercultural dialogue between all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure greater respect for and more appreciation of cultural diversity.

The project was implemented by an international team of NGOs located in five different countries: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Austria and Lithuania (links to the websites of the coordinating organizations). 

THE NETWORK

The main participants of the project were the Key Dialogue Workers (hereinafter KDW) – cultural actors from 3 regions of Armenia and Yerevan representing different cultural and educational institutions, civil society organizations, as well as ethnic/national minority groups.

Due to the specially designed empowerment activities the KDWs enhanced their knowledge in the field of cultural management and learned about the method of community art. Based on the gained knowledge in cooperation with local authorities, civil society organizations and other institutions they have implemented over 20 cultural events each designed taking into account the very specific needs and peculiarities of the communities they live in.

The most important outcome for KDWs, the main target group of the project, was the enhanced knowledge and new skills on cultural events management (incl. some basic knowledge on fundraising), work with mass media, community art techniques, as well as the networking activities. Since one of the main identified problems of the target communities was the lack of cultural managers the implemented training courses and networking activities were of a huge support for the communities involved in the action.

In Armenia there are 19 key dialogue workers involved in the Network from Gyumri, Alaverdy, Stepanavan, Vanadzor, Goris, Qarahunj village and Yerevan. However, the Network grew considerably on the spot due to different community art events implemented by KDWs in cooperation with other local actors.

COMMUNITY ART

Taking into account the specific aims of CAUCULT, namely promotion of participation of minority groups in cultural life, establishment of dialogue between community members and local authorities, community art was selected as a tool of work within the frames of the project.

WHY COMMUNITY ART?

Community art is a new format of cultural events that can be defined as a method of community mobilization and/or a way to establish a dialogue with the community members through art and culture. The term community art was defined in the late 1960s as a methodological approach where professional artists implement cultural activities with the involvement of community members, thus, addressing community needs and problems.

SPECIFICS OF COMMUNITY ART:

  • To free art and culture from the "only for professionals" format and provide all community members with opportunities to discover their innovative and creative potential and apply this in addressing different community challenges.
  • To show alternative ways for community members of searching and addressing solutions to existing community problems by promoting dialogue, principles of peaceful problem solution and maximum promotion of innovative approaches and creativity.
  • To organize events with maximum participation and involvement methods. This will promote community members with chances to express their opinions and have their input in searching a solution to an existing problem as well as raise the visibility of "not visible" groups, places and problems.

To reach considerable changes in social life it is necessary to select a communication method which will influence different levels of consciousness, help people look at different issues from different perspectives and feel better the importance of different community problems. The community art approach is exactly the method that allows people to feel connected to community problems and helps to raise their concerns.

EVS

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) forms part of ERASMUS+, a European Union programme that promotes the mobility of young people through international activities with a non-formal education dimension such as youth exchanges, voluntary services, youth initiatives and training of youth workers. EVS offers young people the opportunity to volunteer up to twelve months in another country. A wide variety of placements can be found in the social, cultural, environmental, and sports sector. EVS provides the funding to cover the volunteer's costs.

Voluntary activities should:

  • take place in another country, be non-profit making, unpaid and not involve job-substitution
  • last for a specified period of time (between two and twelve months)
  • be planned, implemented and followed up as a partnership between a volunteer, their sending and their host organisation

EVS projects can take place in both programme countries and partner countries. Programme countries include the member states of the European Union, the EFTA/EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and pre-accession countries. Some EVS projects can take place in partner regions of the European Union, including Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region. At least one of the countries involved in a project (either the sending country, where the volunteer is from, or the host country, where the volunteer is going) must be a programme country.

The Programme Countries are:

  • The 28 EU Member States, the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Turkey

The Neighboring Partner Countries are:

  • South East Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina Former Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia
  • Eastern Europe and Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine

Mediterranean Partner Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Syria, Tunisia

What costs does EVS cover for you as a volunteer?

  • Your international travel - EVS covers reasonable travel costs from your home to the host organization
  • Exceptional volunteer costs - any reasonable and justifiable costs related to the special needs of the volunteer (medical attendance, additional preparation, etc)
  • A volunteer's allowance, fixed per host country, and paid in full to the host organisation to be given to the volunteer weekly or monthly
  • Your accommodation and food costs

Insurance - all volunteers are insured against sickness, accidents, permanent invalidity, and repatriation in case of serious illness, accident, and death. The insurance also covers civil liability.

Expedition to India & Shri Lanka in 2014-2015

On December 25th 2014 five members of the International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dilaogue started the study visit to Sri Lanka and South India. The main objectives of this expedition were:

  • Study of the Buddhist culture artifacts in Sri Lanka and its cultural heritage in gerenal
  • Study of the cultural heritage of South India, its traditional Dance Schools, Ayurvedic Medecine and Traditional Martial Art Kalaripatu
  • Study of Ashram life in South India on the example of Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam
  • Study of the Tibetan settelments in South India and their cultural life

The study of Sri Lanka was interupted earlier due to heavy strorms and floods in Central and Eastern Sri Lanka, and accordingly the Indian part of the expediton was extended. All the planned destinations besides the mentioned Sri Lankan regions were visited and the results of the studies are now in the process of systematization and analysis.

Gates and Keys

International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue (ICIRLD) in cooperation with its partner organization National Pool of Trainers (NPT) from Armenia, together with other partners from EECA and Program countries invites you to get involved in the realization of a series of Trainings and Seminars dedicated to the various aspects of PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE!

The cycle is called “GATES and KEYS”, and it will address several aspects of personal development, such as motivation, aim setting, prioritizing, self awareness, self assessment, harmonic development etc. Due to the intercultural nature of the organization, it was decided that a special attention will be paid to the theories, philosophies, methods, tools and approaches that different cultural and spiritual traditions have on various aspects of personal development. So, when designing the activities of the Gates and Keys project cycle, possible inputs from various traditions on the topic will be researched well in advance and this intercultural aspect will be the essential part of the programmes. It will be also important to combine this elements taken from World Cultural Heritage with nowadays scientific insights on the topics, providing participants with an up-to-date information on the front-line scientific research.

The first Training which was held in 2013 and was on the topic of Motivation. According to the experience that ICIRLD and NPT gained through their numerous national and international trainings as well as research projects, young people in the wide range of cases do not lack talent, skills, abilities to bring change in their own realities and in the social environment of their communities, but they simply do not have or are lacking appropriate motivation. Motivation is not something that is given to one in a certain portion (relatively big or small), this is a feature of our deep inner self, which is connected with a lot of other aspects, such as awareness, creativity, compassion etc. As well this is a feature of us with which we can certainly work, and a set of psychological disciplines, spiritual traditions and training schools are suggesting numerous tools on how to approach this issue. All the aforementioned composed the core of this first Training Course, which was highly evaluated by all the participating promoters.

During the Training Course on Motivation partners has come up with several other ideas on continuation of this process, and training courses and seminars on the process of Learning, Awareness, Perception, Prioritizing and others were developed and will be realized in coming years. The idea is also to form a strategic partnership/network of organizations that are interested in the topics of personal development and to realize series of inter-connected events to provide even a higher impact on participating youth workers and their communities.

This Training Course on MOTIVATION is the first one in the cycle of projects called “GATES and KEYS”. The Training which was held on March 16-25, 2013 was on the topic of MOTIVATION. Young people in the wide range of cases do not lack talent, skills, abilities to bring change in their own realities and in the social environment of their communities, but they simply do not have or are lacking appropriate motivation.
Motivation is not something that is given to one in a certain portion (relatively big or small), this is a feature of our deep inner self, which is connected with a lot of other aspects, such as awareness, creativity, compassion etc. As well this is our feature with which we can certainly work. A set of psychological disciplines, spiritual traditions and training schools are suggesting numerous tools on how to approach this issue. This training course is dedicated to the development of the skills of youth workers and youth leaders from EECA and Program countries to support young people in their quest for MOTIVATION.

If you or your organization are interested in joining this process and receiving information on the upcoming and planned activities, as well as contributing in development of “Gates and Keys” project cycle on youth personal development please contact us.

 

Russian Project

From 2009 to 2012 ICIRLD had been participating in annual intercultural meetings in Tverskaya oblast 400 km from Moscow. Every year more than 20 000 people from 93 countries gather to discuss various topics, such as intercultural dialogue, international cooperation, social work, youth work and other. Those meetings are organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of Russian Federation.
In 2011 and 2012 members of ICIRLD research team conducted two study visits to Karelia. During their visits there they participated in annual meetings with youth workers and young activists from 30 different countries. Main topics of this projects were intercultural dialogue, training courses about video making, art, painting, traditional souvenirs making and others.
ICIRLD conducted cultural expeditions in Karelia in 2012, which lasted for 40 days. The project, which was done in cooperation with Karelian Regional Museum consisted of extended intercultural research focused on local people of Karelia and the Vepsians (small community of 7 thousand Finnic people). The project resulted in a documentary movie about traditions, rituals and other aspects of the daily lives of the community. The film was subsequently presented at Barents Kino Festival at Petrozavotsk, Russia. Tatul Davtyan, Kateryna Goncharova, Elina Shahnazarova, Alexandr Grishayenkov, Oksana Kvanina were involved in the working team.

Bridging the Gap

From 20th to 28th of February ICIRLD in cooperation with Kaleidoscope-Cooperative from Germany has organized a project dedicated to challenges of discrimination in youth work. 29 professionals involved in formal and non-formal education from 11 countries met in Aghveran, Armenia to share their experience and learn new methods and tools that can be used in their every day work with young people with various cultural backgrounds.

During the Training Course participants developed strategies and common international activities in the field of anti-discrimination youth work. All the results of this debate will be published on our website soon.

In the meanwhile, we recommend you some inspirational reading on how youth project can actually benefit from cultural diversity:

https://www.salto-youth.net/downloads/4-17-2201/SALTO%20booklet_new.pdf

Transforming the iceberg

ICIRLD is launching another project that is part of the serious dedicated to creating quality methods to be used in international youth work. This time, from 13th to 22th March 2015, we will meet with 26 European youth workers and young leaders to discuss and analyze tools related to intercultural learning and dialogue. We will reflect on theoretical concepts and brainstorm on how to improve our daily work with youngsters with different religious, ethnical, and cultural backgrounds. In result, we will create a ready-to-use toolkit containing practical guidelines and methods that can be implemented by youth workers in different countries. It will be published on our website, so feel free to use and share it with others!

ICIRLD

"ICIRLD" is a non-governental organization, which has a mission to build a world where Cultural Diversity is RESPECTED and VALORISED, where the “Culture of War” is replaced by a CULTURE OF PEACE, and where people from different cultural backgrounds work hand in hand for the solution of global problems and for sustainable development. 

Aims of the organization:

  • Promotion of intercultural, inter-religious and inter-civilization dialogue
  • Conflict resolution and establishment of a Culture of Peace in the world
  • Consolidation of the potential of representatives of different cultures for the solution of global challenges

 Our Objectives

  • Research of cultural peculiarities of different ethnic and cultural groups as well as comparative inter-cultural research and presentation of results to a wider audience
  • Research and training courses on intercultural learning on national, regional and international level
  • Development of a database on cultures of the world (ethnic music, films, photo archive etc.)
  • Organization of various international youth projects in the framework of the programs of Council of Europe and European Commission

The main working feilds of ICIRLD are Intercultural Research, Intercultural Learning and Dialogue, Personal Development and Youth Work and Promotion of Volunteerism. 

ICIRLD was established by a group of experienced youth leaders, trainers and researchers in 2003. All of the members of the initiative group already had extensive experience in the organization of international projects. They came together with the idea to create an international platform to mobilize the potential of people with various cultural backgrounds for research and training on the topic of intercultural dialogue and communication as well as for the promotion of a culture of peace all over the world.

For the founders of ICIRLD it was clear, that the solution for current global challenges can't be found within a single group, society or country and therefore joint international actions are needed. The key actions of the organizations were evolving with the time. Here is a brief timeline presenting the most important phases of the development of ICIRLD, key projects, aims and ideas.

The time from 2003 to 2005 was mostly dedicated to establish a dynamic, devoted core team. The key activity in this period were internal trainings for staff and volunteers on all the spheres of functioning of the organization. In this time, a concept of a long-term training on intercultural communication was being shaped to be implemented in following years.  The organization was mainly functioning as training provider and expert organization for  institutions willing to host trainings on various aspects on intercultural communication, e.g. in cooperation with the Panarmenian International Youth Center Foundation and the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Two periodical annual training courses were organised. The first one was dedicated to intercultural learning and international youth work, while the second was an opportunity to learn more about European Youth Policy, its structures and programmes; both projects were realised in close cooperation with National Pool of Trainers NGO. Two manuals on respective training topics were written and published.

In 2004, ICIRLD started working in the frame of YOUTH Programme of European Commission. The team took part in two training courses in Lviv and Warsaw respectively,  where the programme  was introduced to the them. ICIRLD has been very active in European youth programmes ever since.  The organization is both hosting and sending participants and volunteers abroad. Moreover, ICIRLD is one of the main organizations in Armenia presenting the youth programs of EC to the NGO sector in Armenia and promoting in it in all the regions of the country. ICIRLD cooperates with SALTO EECA Resource Center of EC as one of its multiplier organziations since 2004 and is accredited to send and host EVS volunteers.

Since  2006, ICIRLD has been  organizing expeditions and study vists to various countries in order to study their cultural peculiarities and collect materials on their cultural background. This cultural/intercultural research is one of the main spheres of ICIRLD's activities till today. The team representatives have visited e.g. India, Iran, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Nepal, Russia. ICIRLD is aiming at exploring cultural peculiarities of both neighbouring and distant countries.

Today there is a wide range of activities that ICIRLD considers to be crucial for the organization. Firstly, working with the regions of Armenia, supporting them in EVS projects  and other international activities. ICIRLD aims to prepare them to work independently and realise international projects. Up to now, due to the support of ICIRLD more than twenty organizations throughout the country have started to realize international/European projects.

Secondly, active cooperation with partners from EU and Caucasian countries on the organization of long-term projects on regional level, e.g. “Caucasus Cultural Initiatives Network-CAUCULT” (2012-2014) and “South Caucasus Part of Europe” (2010-2011). This particular long-term project format is more and more appealing to the organization as it enhances strategical changes in communities.

Last but not least, besides a very active European cooperation, ICIRLD is aimed at extending its international network and to do so it is in the process of establishment of its branches in various countries. It established its branches <hyperlink to the text about branches>  in two  countries: India and Ukraine. And there are a number of initiative groups which are in the process of forming Branches (India-Punjab, Nepal, Poland, Germany and Finland).

Dialogue of cultures

The Internation Intercultural Festival "Dialogie of Cultures" generally aims to facilitate the processes of Cultural interaction, learning and dialogue in the broader context of globalization, with special stress on the leadership role of youth in these processes.

The project objectives are to introduce a group of active young people of different national and ethnic backgrounds to the basic concepts and practices of Intercultural Learning and involve them into intensive intercultural communication exercise in the format of cultural presentations in the categories of national art, music, cinema, dance, and cuisine.

History

The idea of Intrecultural Festivals was first developed in 2006 after series of training events organized by the International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue (ICIRLD) on the topics of Intercultural Dialogue and Culture of Peace both on national and international levels. The idea was to combine in depth exploration of cultural pecularities of young people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds with educational modules on Intercultural Learning and Culture of Peace using the toolbox of Non-Formal Education.

This idea was supported by Pan-Armenian International Youth Center Foundation and the first festival was organized involving 50 participants from 9 nationalities (Indian, Armenian, Syrian, Iranian, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarus, Georgian and Asyrian). Mainly young people living in Armenia took part in this festival, including international students studying in Armenia as well as representatives of national minority communities. The festival had a great success, so it was included in the annual plan of the Foundation.

The next year, in 2007 the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs also joined the partnership and provided part of the funding from the State Budget on youth affairs. ICIRLD was again the main expert organization responsible for the content, management and educational parts of the project. This time 90 participants from 12 nationalities joined the festival. Amongst them there were already 5 delegations that arrived from abroad. This festival was dedicated to the All Different All Equal Campaignof the Council of Europe and received an award within“Young Active Citizens” Project competition ran by Youth Directorate of Council of Europe.

The Intercultural Festival of 2008 was then again organized by ICIRLD in cooperation with the Pan-Armenian International Youth Center Foundation and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of RA. This time the number of participants was again extended; especially the number of international delegations. All in all 120 paricipants took part in the Festival from 20 nationalities. This year the fetsival was dedicated to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue announced by European Union and the event was included in the list of activities of that thematic year. plan of thie year. It is interesting to mention that some of the international delegation were strongly supported by their respective youth affairs ministries (e.g. Syria, Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Lithuania).

After 2009 due to the world economic crisis the Festival did not take place and it was stopped till 2013. In 2014, ICIRLD in coooperation with its Norwegian partner – Narvik Senteret revived the idea and realized the youth exchange project “Dialogue of Cultures-2014” keeping the same format and concept but adapted the activites to the requirements of Youth in Action Programme of European Commission.

The Festival program includes:

  • Icebreakers, i.e. interactive games facilitating introduction of the Festival participants to each other and their joint activities. The games are led by the trainers and are played by all participants;
  • Team Building Exercises, i.e. games that help develop team spirit and team work skills in achieving a particular task, for example building a paper bridge. The games are led by the trainers and played by all participants;
  • Introduction to Intercultural Learning theory, models and concepts through oral and visual presentations by the trainers, i. e. Power Point, slides, and scientific The presentations are followed by Question and Answer and Short Discussion sessions;
  • Group presentations by participants of their native countries and cultures basing upon the history, geography demography, nature, architecture, sculpture, religion, rituals, music, dance and other aspects. The presentations are based on the CD, DVD, audio-video, photo, poster and other visual and audio materials brought by the participants. The participants should perform national dances and songs themselves. The 3 best performers get prizes and certificates of appreciation;
  • Presentation and learning of national games;
  • Competition on the best knowledge of World Architecture, Music. The winners get appreciation certificates;
  • Excursion to historical places in Armenia. The participants learn about the historical and cultural heritage of Armenia;
  • National Cuisine Day. Participants break down into mixed groups with 4 people in each, where 2 are external assistants to the core ethnic group. Each group makes national dishes. In this way the participants learn from each other. The groups present their separate tables with the dishes they cooked during the National Cuisine Day. The 3 best groups get prizes and certificates of appreciation;
  • Contemporary, national dances – dances and games on the basis of the musical materials brought by the participants.
  • Screening of documentary and other movies brought by the participants;
  • Project wrapping up, evaluation and follow up, i.e. the participants evaluate the project, their own experiences received as a result and forward their remarks and suggestions for more effective implementation of the next Festival and other relevant projects.
  • The format of the Festival includes both learning and creative elements.

 

Subcategories

Our Working Fields

 

Intercultural Research

 

Intercultural Learning and Dialogue 

 

Personal Development and Youth Work

 

Promotion of Volunteerism