The Open Door mechanism represented a part of the USAID-funded Support to Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement Project (SATR) implemented jointly by a consortium of Armenian partners, including Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Yerevan Press Club, Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia and International Center for Human Development and Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council. The mechanism supported innovative and/or pilot ideas in support of Armenia-Turkey dialogue, expansion of the number of organizations participating in this dialogue, and addressing the issues, which may have been omitted from the Project scope until now.
During the period of February 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012, more than 40 inquiries and proposals were received, 11 of them were supported. Starting from July 1, 2012 the Open Door mechanism of the SATR project has closed, and EPF will not accept new inquiries and proposals.
Below is the list of approved projects and their brief descriptions.
Implemented by Women’s Forum NGO in cooperation with “DOGUNKAD” Association
May 1, 2012 – August 31, 2012 (4 months)
To contribute to the development of economic ties between Armenia and Turkey through supporting cross-border cooperation among women-led businesses of the two countries. The grantee, Women’s Forum NGO, together with its partner in Turkey “DOGUNKAD” Association, will establish a platform of female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses in Armenia and Turkey interested in cooperation with the neighboring country. Twelve Armenian and Turkish businesswomen will participate in a three-day business-to-business meeting to be held in Turkey in July 2012 to explore realistic opportunities for cooperation. It is anticipated that at least two business agreements will be achieved as a result of the business-to-business event. The information collected by the project teams in Armenia and Turkey will be entered into the database of business contacts maintained by the Information and Consulting Center for Armenian and Turkish Entrepreneurs. The project will result in the establishment of an informal regional network of businesswomen, as well as will set grounds for the development of joint business projects between women-led businesses from Armenia and Turkey.
Implemented by “Forum for 21st Century Leaders” NGO in cooperation with “The Earth Association”
May 1 – July 31, 2012 (3 months)
To contribute to increased dialogue between Armenia and Turkey on addressing common enviornmental issues by enhancing cooperation between young environmentalists and environmental NGOs from the two countries via setting up a framework. Acknowledging the shared risks posed by the growing number of environmental threats in the region, “Forum for 21st Century Leaders” NGO from Armenia along with its partner “The Earth Association” in Turkey will organize a three-day workshop in Yerevan in May 2012 that will bring together 14 young environmentalists from seven different civic initiatives and organizations in Turkey and Armenia. The participants will discuss the perspectives of sustainable communication and cooperation directed towards addressing common environmental challenges and develop a joint policy-brief to be presented and advocated at national and international levels with the primary focus on Rio+20, i.e. the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22, 2012. The workshop will enhance the capacities of young environmentalists from Turkey and Armenia to address common environmental issues and threats, as well as will contribute to the rapprochement process between Armenia and Turkey through establishing long-term partnerships in environmental activism.
To contribute to mitigated cultural estrangement between Armenian and Turkish societies through introducing the general public in both countries to the identity issues and culture of the Muslim Humshen Armenians residing in Turkey, as an example of a unique ethnic unit practicing Armenian traditions and language alongside with Muslim religion. The grantee, Inknagir Literary Club in cooperation with a Turkish partner, “Biryaşam Kültür ve Ekoloji Derneği” (“One Life” Cultural and Ecological Union), will set out on an expedition to 2-3 villages in Hopa residence – the primary settlement of Humshen Armenians in Turkey – to conduct a series of interviews with the Hamshens and to collect photo and video materials on their traditions, daily life, language, degree of integration in the Turkish society, social and economic problems and other issues. As part of the project, a set of articles will be written in Armenian and Turkish languages based on the collected information and published in tert.am online daily and 168 zham weekly in Armenia. The grantee and the Turkish partner will elaborate a strategy to ensure dissemination of the project material via Turkish media. Also, the findings of the expedition will be presented at a PechaKucha Night in Yerevan, Armenia. Finally, the materials will be published on a dedicated website and distributed to wider public on CDs. The project will result in increased public awareness among Armenian and Turkish populations of the lifestyle and concerns of the Humshen Armenian community in Turkey.
Implemented by Narekavank Tour
August 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012 (8 months)
To support trade and business development between Armenia and Eastern Turkey through increasing awareness of Armenian and Turkish businessmen about potential business opportunities in pre-selected industries in Armenia and Eastern Turkey and promoting feasible models of business cooperation among Armenian and Turkish businessmen. As part of the project, the grantee, Narekavank Tour LLC, will establish an Information and Consulting Center in Yerevan, which will serve as “one-stop shop” for information for Armenian and Turkish entrepreneurs interested in cooperation with one another. The Center will provide customized assistance to individual entrepreneurs and companies through exploring opportunities of potential business cooperation with counterparts from both countries, and carry out ongoing assessment of potential economic opportunities between Armenia and targeted regions in Eastern Turkey, such as Kars, Van, Mush, Adana, Antakya, Erzurum, Diyarbakir, as well as in Istanbul. The Center will also run a website featuring company profiles and information about legal aspects of business cooperation between Armenian and Turkish businesses. The project will result in increased awareness of business opportunities among Armenian and Turkish businessmen, which will reduce the existing levels of distrust and promote greater willingness to engage in business partnership with counterparts from the neighboring country.
To contribute to increased communication, networking and exchange of experience between academic and professional circles of Armenia and Turkey through establishing a cross-border network of students, young professionals and faculty members interested in environmentally sustainable building and city design. The grantee, “Civic Forum” NGO together with Yıldız Technical University from Turkey will organize a workshop on environmental sustainability challenges of the built environment. The five-day workshop in Istanbul will bring together 20 young professionals in the field of energy efficiency, as well as expert speakers from Armenia and Turkey around the issue of energy-efficient architecture. The workshop will be designed to facilitate networking and exchange of knowledge and expertise between the young specialists and trigger off cooperation among them through development of joint projects. Participants will have an opportunity to visit companies and research centres focusing on energy issues to identify relevant issues and ideas for joint projects. As part of the workshop, the project also anticipates publication of joint articles and an e-bulletin, as well as public presentations at universities and unions of architects in Armenia and Turkey. The established ties and communication between the participants will outflow into an online forum, which will be developed to sustain and expand the discussion initiated at the workshop. The project will result in the establishment of an informal network of specialists interested in environmental sustainability and built environment in Armenia and Turkey, as well as lay the foundation for possible cooperation amongst them.
Implemented by Shirak Competitiveness Center Foundation
November 15, 2011 – February 29, 2012 (3 months)
To contribute to the development of economic ties between Armenia and Turkey through supporting cross-border cooperation among women-led businesses of the two countries. The grantee, Shirak Competitiveness Center Foundation, will hold its annual Shirak EXPO that will host a group of businesswomen from Turkey, and will focus on the role of women in economic development. About 50 Armenian and 10 Turkish businesswomen will participate in the EXPO in Gyumri on November 24-25, 2011. The first day of the event will include a trade fair of food products, construction materials, textile, and services. The second day of the event will provide a forum for the participants to discuss a broad range of topics including the overviews of the economies of Armenia and Turkey, women’s role and involvement in business, as well as investment risks and opportunities in production and service sectors in Armenia and Turkey. The project will result in the establishment of an informal regional network of businesswomen, as well as will set grounds for the development of joint business projects between women-led businesses from Armenia and Turkey.
To support trade and business development between Armenia and Eastern Turkey through the establishment of a regional business forum enabling discussion of issues of common interest and providing an opportunity for contact-making and business partnership development. As part of the project, the grantee, Gyumri Development Foundation, will build upon the previous experience and organize the second Gyumri-Kars Economic Forum in Kars, Turkey during October-November 2011. About 40 Armenian and Turkish businessmen, regional and international experts will participate in the Forum and discuss the prospects of development and implementation of joint business projects, particularly in the context of Armenia-Turkey economic relations. The Forum will last 3 days and address a broad range of issues, such as the opening of Armenia-Turkey border and its economic benefits for the region, common economic market in the South Caucasus, Caucasus brands as a peace-building tool, as well as a set of specific topics, such as prospects of joint dairy production, beekeeping, production of honey and medicinal herbs, Caucasus tea blends and others. The project will result in increased cooperation and development of joint business projects between Armenian and Turkish entrepreneurs and companies in food production and processing.
Implemented by Armenian Foundation for Promotion of Cinema and TV for Children and Youth “Rolan Bykov Foundation” in cooperation with Anadolu Kültür
August 1, 2011 – October 31, 2011 (3 months)
To contribute to enhanced cultural dialogue between societies of Armenia and Turkey through supporting professional exchange and bilateral projects between Armenian and Turkish children and youth, as well as between filmmakers. Within the framework of the 7th International Film Festival for Children and Young People in Yerevan in October 2011, the grantee, the Armenian Foundation for Promotion of Cinema and TV for Children and Youth Rolan Bykov Foundation, in cooperation with a Turkish partner, Anadolu Kultur, will organize a workshop on the techniques and culture of animation production for a select group of about 10 Armenian and Turkish youth. As part of the workshop, the participants will co-produce a short animation film, which will be premiered at the closing ceremony of the festival in Armenia. Also, a round-table discussion focusing on experience-sharing among the participants of the festival, and a presentation on recent initiatives in the area of arts and culture in Turkey will be organized on the sidelines of the festival. The festival will also feature 4-5 Turkish films addressing a theme relevant for children and youth. The project will result in children and youth, and filmmakers from Armenia and Turkey establishing mutual contact and improving their skills in the production of independent film. The project and the follow-up activity in Turkey will also contribute to strengthening the humanistic image of the other side among engaged communities in Armenia and Turkey.
To contribute to the increased awareness of the societies of Armenia and Turkey about one another through the illustration of social ramifications of a closed border. As part of the project, the grantee, Independent Journalists’ Network NGO, will document the problems facing the Armenian migrants during their 36-hour bus trip between Yerevan and Istanbul. The grantee will also establish a blog featuring the views and the experiences of the observed Armenian migrants. The materials posted on the blog will also be published in AGOS newspaper based in Istanbul. To ensure broader public awareness a documentary film will be produced based on the collected material. The film will be broadcast via the IMC TV in Turkey and Yerkir Media TV in Armenia. The grantee will also arrange group screenings in small-scale cinema theatres in Armenia and Turkey for stakeholders from civil society, government, media, and expert community. The project will result in increased awareness among ordinary public and stakeholder groups in Armenia and Turkey of the experiences and challenges that the Armenian migrants face when traveling to Turkey, as well as will further feed the public discussion on the ramifications of the closed border.
Implemented by Khachatur Dadayan
April 1, 2012 – August 1, 2012 (five months)
To present to the Armenian-speaking and the Turkish-speaking audiences the common history of economic cooperation between Armenians and Turks. A writer Khachatur Dadayan proposed to publish a book in Armenian and Turkish Languages to be titled “Armenian Trade and Economic Presence in the Territory of Modern Turkey: 15th Century – 1915. Book of Facts”. The book will focus on the trade and economic presence of Armenians in the territory of modern Turkey in the period between the 15th century and 1915. The book will be based on a collection of facts retrieved from the national archives of Armenia and Turkey, the Matenadaran, the media and other sources. The book will demonstrate the enormous input that Armenians had in the past in the economic development of Turkey.
Implemented by Dr. Hasmik Stepanyan
September 15, 2011 – September 15, 2012
To present to the Armenian-speaking and the Turkish-speaking audiences the common history and the role of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. A scholar at the National Academy for Sciences of the Republic of Armenia Hasmik Stepanyan proposed to translate into Turkish and publish her book titled “Role of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire” dedicated to the 500th year anniversary of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul. As a result of the project, Dr. Stepanyan Dr. Stepanyan will deliver the translation of the book into Turkish. At the same time, the author will negotiate the opportunity to publish the book with publishing houses in Armenia and Turkey.