Tag Archives: youth

On 25 September the official contract signing ceremony for winning grants under the small grants scheme of the “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” project took place. 17 winning projects received funding, exceeding €900,000 (projects could receive up to €60,000). These projects will be implemented by 46 civil society organisation (CSO) partnerships based in Yerevan and other Armenian marzes. The implementation of these projects will not only bring about positive change, but also strengthen civil society in Armenia by building a strong CSO network across the country. This network will provide CSOs with the opportunity to work in consortia, share experiences, learn from each other, and develop their skills and capacities.

DSC_0898Sub-granted projects will begin from 1 October 2017 and last 12 months. Projects cover the following sectors: youth, social services, justice, and human rights, entrepreneurship, and education. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, together with the President of Podlaska Regional Development Foundation and “STRONG CSOs for a Stronger Armenia” Grants Manager, Andrzej Parafiniuk, spoke to attendees of the ceremony.

DSC_0523Ambassador Świtalski highlighted in his opening speech that a crossroads had been crossed: ‘Congratulation to all of our civil society partners who have made it to this stage. Signing the contracts has brought you past the crossroads – over the past two years you have tested your patience, congratulations for surviving until now! We have now 17 excellent projects. We are naturally interested in the success of this project, as your success as pioneers will determine how often and how deep the concept of sub granting will go. So, today, while signing the contracts, understand your responsibility: there is no other option than success, it is an obligation!’

DSC_0459Parafiniuk echoed the importance of the project event: ‘This is a very important moment for the project. You have passed through hundreds of hours of training, coaching, seminars and conferences, as well as many other activities which we have proposed to you over the past two years. Now we have come to the most important part of the project – you have to practice what you have learned. Today we are signing contracts and you will start to implement your projects in a few days. Success is in our common interest, so I am sure we will cooperate well during the projects’ implementation’.

The “STRONG Civil Society Organisations for Stronger Armenia” project is aimed at increasing the capacities of CSOs in Armenia to be independent development actors, more competent, more responsive to citizens’ needs, and to proactively support the country’s development through practical, project-based approaches. The project is being implemented by a consortium of the Podlaska Regional Development Foundation and DAS.AM. It was launched on 1 October 2015 and the implementation period is 3 years. Target groups of the project include CSOs across Armenia (not just Yerevan) and their client groups, the private sector, state institutions, and different segments of society. The project is co-funded by the European Union.

In May 2016 the EU Delegation to Armenia launched the first Euroclub in Armenia. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Świtalski, promised that Euroclubs would be opened in all Armenian marzes by the end of the year. This is now a reality.
On 22 November 2016 the last Euroclub in Armenia was established. The concept of Euroclubs started more than 25 years ago in Portugal, and spread to other EU member states and beyond. Euroclubs now exist across the EU and have been established in Eastern Partnership countries.
The idea behind the clubs is very simple; it is about offering a possibility for young people to gain access to information and to conduct conversations about Europe and European values and opportunities.

333333The main goals of Euroclubs in Armenia have been be to inform and educate young people about the EU and EU-Armenia issues, offer assistance in establishing long-term partnerships with European youth NGOs, apply for and obtain EU resources, and support Armenian youth’s aspirations to strengthen relations with the EU. The Delegation of the European Union in Armenia decided to launch this project to involve youth from all Armenian marzes and create equal opportunities. The very first Euroclub in Armenia was launched in Goris (Syunik marz); the second was in Yeghegnadzor (Vayots dzor marz). The third was recently established in the capital, Yerevan. Autumn 2016 then became a month for launching Euroclubs as, by end of October, Euroclubs had been set up in Dilijan (Tavush marz) and Armavir (Armavir marz). In November, even more were established in Gavar (Gegharkunik), Gyumri (Shirak marz), Vanadzor (Lori marz), Abovyan (Kotayk marz), Artashat (Ararat marz) and Ashtarak (Aragatsotn marz). All Euroclubs were established and are run with the assistance of a local partner organisation.
222222At the opening of the clubs, representatives from the EU, including the Ambassador himself, welcomed the club members and answered to their questions on the EU and EU-Armenia relations. Ambassador Świtalski highlighted that the existence of more Euroclubs was a symbol of the strong European identity of young Armenians: ‘Young Armenians want to stay in touch, have contact and engage in dialogue and cooperation with young people in other European countries; I don’t just mean the European Union. We believe that, through Euroclubs, Armenian youth, in particular those in the regions, will get additional possibilities to learn more about EU projects in Armenia and establish links with these projects. At these opening ceremonies I have spoken to participants who praise the youth activism behind these clubs’.

The concept of Euroclubs started more than 25 years ago in Portugal, and spread to other EU member states and beyond: Euroclubs now exist across the EU and have been established in Eastern Partnership countries.
The idea behind the clubs is very simple; it is about offering a possibility for young people to gain access to information and to conduct conversations about Europe and European values and opportunities. The main goals of Euroclubs in Armenian marzes have been be to inform and educate young people about the EU and EU-Armenia issues, offer assistance in establishing long-term partnerships with European youth NGOs, apply for and obtain EU resources, and support Armenian youth’s aspirations to strengthen relations with the EU.
The Delegation of the European Union in Armenia decided to launch this project to involve youth from all Armenian marzes and create equal opportunities. The very first Euroclub in Armenia was launched in Goris (Syunik marz) and the second in Yeghegnadzor (Vayots dzor marz). Now it is Yerevan’s turn.
14702404_1134237206630207_6348905847760770808_nOn 18 October 2016 the opening ceremony of the Yerevan Euroclub took place. The Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, spoke to participants during the opening ceremony, praising the youth activism behind the clubs: ‘I’m very glad that young people in Armenia are interested in this idea and initiative. The fact that more Euroclubs are being launched in Armenia has symbolic significance – it shows that the European identity of young Armenians is very strong. Young Armenians want to stay in touch, have contact and engage in dialogue and cooperation with young people in other European countries; I don’t just mean the European Union. That said, we believe that, through Euroclubs, Armenian youth, in particular those in the regions, will get additional possibilities to learn more about EU projects in Armenia and establish links with these projects’.
After the opening ceremony, Ambassador Świtalski met over 30 members of the Euroclub in Yerevan. He chaired a discussion, during which they asked many questions and talked about the future of the Yerevan Euroclub.

Becoming the Head of the European Parliament, Council of Europe, High Representative of the EU, or party leader at the European Parliament – in real life it needs years of experience and hard work. However, for students it has become possible just through an application and interview process. On 7-9 October Armenian and international students gathered in Yerevan to take part in the “Armenia Model European Union (AMEU)” youth conference financed by the EU Delegation to Armenia. During this unique, political simulation conference, participants undertook the roles of Heads of EU member states, EU leaders, and many other officials.
More than 100 Armenian students from various regions, as well as 30 international participants took part in the project, after being selected through a competitive two-phased procedure through which 500 applicants applied. International selected participants came from Finland, Estonia, United Kingdom, Latvia, Germany, and many other countries.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the event, where he talked about current developments in the EU and answered participants’ questions: ‘The future of the EU will not be easy; however, my main message to you is to be positive and optimistic. It’s true that the EU faces very serious challenges, existential challenges and risks, this is admitted by top officials. You know the kind of challenges to which I refer: firstly political, for example, the results of the referendum in Britain and its impact on the future of the EU. As you know, the reflection process is ongoing and it is too early to judge the impact on the EU’s future. There are two current tendencies which were clearly manifested during the recent summit in Bratislava. The first is to deepen the integration and make a closer step towards the federation project. The second is take a step back and take stock, to strengthen the national foundations of the common project and to rethink the idea, as well as the prerogatives delegated to Brussels. I believe that the European project will continue to develop, even without the United Kingdom we will be powerful enough to attract the attention and the interest of other countries. The European project will also produce tangible benefits for stability across the globe. Our newly adopted global strategy contains a number of very important indications of where and how the EU is going to project its values to the wider world, including in this region to countries like Armenia’.
Luis Antonio Cervera Bojorquez, a student from Mexico now studying at the UWC Dilijan international school in Armenia, had the opportunity to attend the conference and valued his participation: ‘Living in Armenia is an amazing experience and I would not change it for anything. The conference gave me an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. It was the kind of experience you would not get anywhere else, it was very exciting. It showed me how the EU works and experience what it means to be in diplomat’s shoes for a day or two’.
14650348_1125630454157549_334085314560057312_nViktorya Muradyan from Armenia participated in AMEU years ago, but is now one of the head organisers of the event: ‘This conference gave me a lot – firstly the willingness and motivation to change something, as well as a new life vision. It gave me friends who will stay with me forever. Organising a model conference in Armenia even after six years in a row is hard but, as you can see, it’s possible’.
During the conference, participants simulated the EU legislative procedure of adopting decisions. They addressed recent migration processes and the refugee crisis in Europe. The aim of the event was to simulate civic activism and improve EU-related knowledge and the level of European awareness among the Armenian youth. The organiser of the event was “AEGEE-Yerevan/Yerevan European Students’ Forum” Youth NGO. On the closing day of the conference, Ambassador Świtalski presented participants with Certificates of Appreciation.

The “Armenia Model European Union 2015” youth conference (AMEU 2015) was organised on 14-15 November 2015 by the AEGEE-Yerevan and Yerevan European Students’ Forum NGO, with support from the EU Delegation to Armenia. During the conference participants filled the roles of heads of the EU member states and leaders of the Eastern Partnership countries, as well as the offices of several other high-level EU officials.
More than 80 Armenian students and activists from various regions of Armenia and 20 international participants participated in the project. They were selected from around 400 applicants through a competitive two-phase procedure.
10675508_924165990970664_3290856329734345821_nThe Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, gave advice from his own experience to the young people present at the conference: ‘All of you offer a better future for Armenia. Your fathers and grandfathers build the independence of this country after centuries, but now it is your turn, you must be the game changers, you must build the Armenia of the 21st century, you must build an Armenia capable of fulfilling your dreams. It is all up to you alone. Having a good diploma is not enough, you must believe in some very important values, European values. I hope that this event will help you to develop your understanding and consolidate your belief in these European values’.
Participants addressed recent political developments in the Eastern Partnership region and made decisions taking into account current trends and pressures within the European Union. Indeed, participants represented the national interests of their assigned state expressed during the EU-EaP summit. In the weeks leading up to the conference, participants had the opportunity to participate in 2 preparatory training sessions, learn about the activities of EU institutions, and acquaint themselves with the cornerstones of the EU common foreign and security policy. 12241390_924724680914795_3519069433732465066_nDuring the conference, participants also had the possibility to improve their negotiation skills. The main aim of the model conference was to stimulate civic activism and improve the EU-related knowledge and level of European awareness among young Armenians.
On the closing day of the conference, Ambassador Piotr Switalski presented the participants with certificates of appreciation.