2017 was blessed with a wealth of successes. EPF Human Rights Program Director Isabella Sargsyan was awarded the Freedom Award by the international community working in Armenia in recognition of her dedicated work in the field of religious tolerance and the protection of other rights and freedoms. EPF published a collection of studies on "Manifestations of Tolerance and Intolerance in Armenian Literature", continuing its efforts to motivate the public to pursue discussions concerning values at the crossroads of international and national values, and not to get caught up in one or the other vortex. This year, for the first time, EPF partnered with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the world's largest non-governmental organization of Armenians, to implement a European Union-funded civil society development program. This program, like all previous EPF programs, introduced a methodological innovation in our approaches to civil society development, addressing specific professional groups through so-called “vertical” specialized trainings. Museums, authors and e-book creators engaged, environmental, women's rights, cultural issues and other initiatives were addressed. Contacts were established between Diaspora volunteers and NGOs in Armenia.

The attempted military coup in Turkey in 2016 allowed the Erdogan government to launch a massive crackdown on civil society and journalists. Thousands were imprisoned, some fled the country. EPF's work with Turkey-based civil society was affected by these events: many partners became targets of persecution. Alas, in the fall of 2017, EPF's crucial partner Osman Kavala, the head of Anadolu Kultur, one of the charismatic leaders of Turkey's civil society, was imprisoned. Despite international protests, Osman remained in prison. However, even in that situation, he encouraged his organization and partners to continue dialogue programs with Armenia, so that Armenia- and Turkey-based societies could continue the difficult process of getting to know each other and clarifying the issues of the past.

Updated on 26 June, 2021