German-Armenian-Azerbaijani Workshop on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict held in Georgia

In mid-September, Candid Foundation from Germany, together with EPF Armenia and the Humanitarian Research Public Union NGO from Azerbaijan, conducted a meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani participants in Tbilisi, Georgia, marking the central event of the 'Dreaming of a Colorful Garden' project.

The two-day workshop began with a general conversation about conflicts in the South Caucasus led by Tornike Sharashenidze, professor of international relations at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, and a presentation of public opinion data from Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by Mariam Kobaladze, researcher at the Caucasus Research Resource Center. Later, participants discussed the draft essays on their visions for life in the two countries after a potential future peace agreement. Ideas ranged from trips to the respective other country and potential trade opportunities to the creation of a Caucasian Union. As a special feature, participants received individual feedback on their essays from the director of the German Goethe-Institute, Stephan Wackwitz, who is also the author of several essay books, including one on the South Caucasus.

"It is not unusual to see some tensions at such meetings, but participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan got along very well and had a constructive discussion", says Oliver MĂĽser, who organized the meeting. "Some of them knew each other from previous similar events, which obviously made things easier. We did however pay special attention to include some new faces to increase the multiplicator effect.”

The essays will be published in a book and on a web platform at the end of the year. The vivid stories from a post-peace agreement life in Armenia and Azerbaijan shall “whet the appetite” for peace and thus increase the readiness for a compromise in both societies.