Guest Post: Arpine Nikolyan’s GYR Experience

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

I am Arpine from Armenia. I was inspired to learn about the world at age 14 when my family hosted a Peace Corps Volunteer. I first worked as a student, helping to organize community events, and when the organization ‘’Women for Development’’ became involved in my community, I started to collaborate with WFD. I have been involved with WFD as a volunteer for 5 years… the volunteering creates an empathy that creates conditions for Peace. WFD’s current projects mainly focus on the following main issues: rural community development, women’s rights, and peace education in schools of Armenia. Through non-formal education WFD aim to raise community’s capacities, independence and entrepreneurship of young women in particular.

Through my volunteer work in WFD I was able to create peaceful environment by opening my eyes to the need for peace education. This influenced me to work in the field of “Peacebuilding’’ in which I have taken part of GYR 2016.

After the completion of my university studies, I served with the European Volunteer Service in Bucharest and I would like to share my story of attending Global Youth Rising, which also happened in Romania.

Arpine blo post picture

The most memorable 14 days of my European trip during this second stay in Bucharest and Sibiu, I found myself to be the happiest I have been in quite a few days. Immediately upon my arrival to Bucharest the entire city seemed absolutely perfect. The people, the waterless fountains, the florists on the sidewalks, the insanity of the taxi drivers, the simple bakeries and cafes, the fresh juice stands in the parks, the communist-era buildings, the construction sites, the crowded metro… the all put a smile on my face like no other.

On the first day I decided to visit Laura, who is one of my best friends in Bucharest that I met during my EVS. Romanians are very friendly, open and generous, so getting in touch with the locals and becoming friends with them is very easy. They will invite you into their homes, sit you at the table and serve you the best food they have. They believe in God, horoscopes, fortune tellers and legends, if you are interested in hearing some amazing stories, this is the right place for you. Many people speak English so the language won’t be a problem.

The next day I was supposed to be in Păltiniş and participate in Global Youth Rising 2016. I was the only Armenian participant, I was so excited and that I had a great opportunity from PATRIR and on the other hand for me it was difficult to take responsibility. In the morning almost in the last minutes of missing the bus I get a bus to Sibiu. I didn’t miss the chance to and I explored Sibiu a little b it, even though I was so tired after a 5 hour trip to Sibiu…

One of the GYR groups in Sibiu

One of the GYR groups in Sibiu

GYR participants in Sibiu

GYR participants in Sibiu

Sibiu is the one of the prettiest cities in Romania and one of its most important cultural centers. It lies in the very heart of the country, in the enchanting region of Transylvania and stands out due to its atmospheric Old Town, whose magnificent architecture conveys the visitor through 8 centuries of history and traditions. This lovely historical center is an ensemble of squares, museums and national Monuments of great beauty and inestimable value.

There is something pretty unusual about Sibiu’s rooftops. Most of the buildings in the old Town were endowed with tall attics with small-eye-shaped windows overlooking the city. Locals call them ‘’The City’s Eyes’’, and they are a  characteristic feature of Sibiu’s architecture. The city was full of life and creativity, and an attractive place for photographers… so I didn’t hesitate to take some pictures from many interesting sights and spectacular panoramic views.

 

The next day we started Global Youth Rising 2016, the most powerful and useful forum for sharing, cooperation and exchange. Trainers came from a variety of key organizations in the field of peacebuilding, including PATRIR, NOY, PAX, National Peace Academy, IAHV, Peace Revolution, Building Bridges for Peace, FCV, and many more.  Participants came from all around the world, from Guatemala, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Bangladesh, the UK, France, Lebanon, and many more.

Working in groups

Working in groups

Global Youth Rising: a morning common session

Global Youth Rising: a morning common session

The Global Youth Rising youth peace forum provided me with new knowledge skills and broader understanding about peace building and conflict transformation, activism and social justice. I didn’t only acquire and develop skills and capacities needed to be more effective in my further work; I also had a great opportunity to be immersed in an environment of diversity: diversity of people, histories, cultures, ideas, beliefs and principles, where all were shared.

 

As I prepare to leave Global Youth Rising and return to Armenia, where I will continue to work for Women for Development, one thing I will remember is to be a change that I wish to see… to use the new gained practical skills,  knowledge and experience while working with WFD.

 

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