A Peace Vision for the Caucasus

By Gohar Markosyan*

“If you do not involve local women, peace will not be sustainable…” Ana Maria Gomes, member of the European Parliament. Brussels, 6-7 November 2007, The EU & UNSCR 1325, point 8

Today, not only in Armenia, but also in the entire Caucasus region, the issue of peace and stability largely depends on the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict, which has lasted for more than 20 years, has not been resolved yet, despite all the efforts made by experienced diplomats from all over the globe.

Nowadays as an NGO, and, moreover as a women’s organization, we are challenged by the issues of peace building both in our country and the region. Without peace, without a peace- building environment, without peaceful and non-violent resolution of conflicts, sustainable development of separate individuals, nations and the State is impossible.

It is not a secret that the future generation’s education and the formation of cultural values among children beginning from the family and continuing during kindergarten, school and throughout university is mainly carried out by women and mothers. Women are the people who deal with almost all issues related to children. And if today we are facing issues related to peace and security, this means that it is necessary to raise women’s participation in decision-making processes on all levels, including in mechanisms for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, as stated in UN Resolution 1325.

The investment of the NGO, Women for Development (WFD), in this area is very practical and measurable. We are working in several directions. However, the first priority for us is the integration of Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in the curriculum of schools. With this goal, WFD NGO is implementing the Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in Schools of Armenia project.

Our vision of the future

The strategy of Women for Development is to spread the Armenian model of peace education in the countries of the region – Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must not be resolved in a military way. We have to find a peaceful solution and educate a new generation dedicated to peace ideas – a generation for whom there will be only one possible way of resolving any kind of small or big issue, that is, the method of dialogue and negotiations; a generation for whom war and conflict will exist only in history books.

* Dr. Gohar Markosyan is the President of the Armenian NGO Women for Development

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