First residential phase (July 25- August 4, 2006)
Over the course of the first segment of this phase in the summer of 2006, participants have become familiar with the process and results of the transformation in Czechoslovakia and the Czech and Slovak Republics after 1989. This came about through seminars and discussions with invited lecturers.
Participants have also become familiar with the functioning of political institutions and civil society in the Czech Republic through excursions and meetings with leading officials from relevant institutions.
In the second segment of the first resident phase, lecturers helped participants to evaluate and analyze the transformation of Czech and Slovak societies. Participants also attempted to identify the main problems of social and political developments in their own countries.
In the closing phase, participants prepared projects, in which they recommended solutions to specific problems in their countries.
Project implementation phase (August 5, 2006- September 29, 2007)
Under the continuing support of project organizers, participants attempted to implement in their countries the projects that they defined at the end of the first seminar phase.
Project 1: The European Neighborhood Policy in Georgia
Implementation by: Giorgi Vashakidze, Nino Evgenidze, Khatuna Madurashvili, Tamar Karosanidze (Georgia)
The “European Neighborhood Policy in Georgia” is a joint initiative of Georgian NGO activists who have been participating in the “Shared Experience” summer program in Telc, Czech Republic. During the program participants from Georgia became familiar with the transformation process that had taken place in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
After finishing the Shared Experience program the Georgian civil activists set up a group that focused on ENP development in Georgia, particularly, the group consists of four members who are respectively employed in NGOs operating in Georgia. Notably, Giorgi Vashakidze used to work for the Eurasia Foundation and currently he works for the Civil Registry Reform project as a project manager, Nino Evgenidze works for the Economic Policy Research Center as a project coordinator, Khatuna Madurashvili works for the United Nations Association of Georgia and deals with refugee issues and Tamuna Qarosanidze is a head of Transparency International in Georgia.
Initially, the group had three main objectives: 1. to make information on ENP available for Georgian NGOs and public generally; 2. to observe developments on ENP issues within the Government of Georgia (GoG) and 3. to establish contacts between Georgian State officials working on ENP issues with their counterparts in the Czech Republic.
In order to implement the desired goals the group has agreed to establish a steering committee that could meet every two months and discuss the action plan for a project implementation. Subsequently, the group held three meetings where ENP developments were discussed. During the meetings it was agreed that the best way to reach the target audience was a publication and dissemination of a bulletin on ENP issues. Hence, the group has published and disseminated two ENP bulletins where ENP developments within GoG as well as in Civil Sector were discussed. The group has conducted interviews with experts in the ENP field, the latter was included in the bulletins. Each bulletin consisted of a couple of topics, mainly an introduction, general overview of ENP in Georgia, topics such as transport and energy, Vilnius conference on common vision on common neighborhood as well as useful links on European Union and ENP were included in the bulletins.
The two editions of bulletins were disseminated via a local network of Georgian NGOs as well as among GoG. Indeed, two main objectives set initially i.e. information dissemination on ENP issues as well as developments on ENP within the GoG have been achieved in the first phase of the implementation process. Nevertheless, it turned out that GoG is in the process of approving an ENP action plan. According to representatives of the Georgian Government we had met during the implementation process as soon as the ENP action plan is approved the Georgian officials will be happy to cooperate with Czech counterparts in the ENP strengthening process.
The working process is ongoing and two more ENP bulletins will be published in the framework of the project. Also, a discussion meeting with Georgian state employees will be held so that they can use the contacts and knowledge of the group for further ENP activities.
1.Public Awareness on ENP issues has relatively increased;
2.The bulletins published have triggered discussions on ENP issues among NGO sector in Georgia.
1.Two more bulletins will be published and disseminated by the end of 2007;
2.Discussion meetings on ENP issues will be held in Tbilisi State University as well as in two secondary schools in Georgia.
Project 2: School of Young Leaders
Implementation by: Gayane Ghazaryan, Armen Sargsyan (Armenia)
What conditions lead to the foundation of the School?
Nowadays Armenia faces numerous social, economic, political and other challenges, and many problems associated with these challenges, hampering the development and prosperity of the country. In order to properly recognize these problems, as well as find optimal and smooth ways to solve them, Armenia needs individuals that are able to act in an accurate and well thought-out way leading the Armenian population.
After obtaining independence Armenia faced an extreme lack of competent leaders, which facilitated the rapid growth of corruption and an inefficient management system. Therefore incompetent leaders who were in power at that time used to sacrifice common good to their personal profits and made strategically short-sighted decisions in that vital formation period of present Armenia.
Following the change of Armenia’s management system the challenges that Armenia was facing before have changed as well. Now there is a vital lack of a new generation of competent leaders with a flexible mentality, who will be able to most effectively find and realize accurate solutions to the problems modern Armenia faces.
While Yerevan provides greater opportunities for active Armenian youth to realize themselves as leaders,promising active youth from Armenian regions where the economic and social situation is much worse have much less or even no opportunities to develope and realize their potential as new generation of leaders. This poor situation has resulted from the overall factors that were present during Armenian transition into market economy, namely close borders, absence of any kind of communication, as well as overall social and economic depression.
The abovementioned circumstances emphasize the role and importance of wise, competent and independent leaders in Armenia. Their main goal is to find a way out of this difficult situation and facilitate the developement of various areas of the country. Yet much more important is the need for young active leaders, whose ideology and system of values exclude the sucrifice of common good to personal profit.
In the spring 2006 the Center for Organizing Youth Activities of the Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs of the Republic of Armenia initiated a foundation for the School for Young Leaders (SYL). This school deals mainly with the active Armenian youth acting in different areas of society and business, training them in the sphere of leadership.
In achieving its gole of providing leadership knowledge and skills to active Armenian youth representatives, the SYL has already enrolled about 90 students and established active cooperation with various organizations acting in Armenia.
The SYL sees its mission as faciliting the formation of a new generation of young leaders with a healthy system of values, discovering young individuals with a high potential for leadership and developing them by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, positioning, and mentality.
The SYL is also aimed at raising the level of political culture and awareness within the Armenian youth, develop the overall atmosphere of political and social tolerance, facilitate the formation of formal and informal youth unions of like-minded active individuals, implementing common projects, which will lay a sound trust basis in the relationships of future leaders.
Train a new generation of young leaders with a healthy system of values, who will greatly contribute to the formation of democratic and jural state with the knowledge and skills they would obtain, as well as discover the most active young individuals providing them with equal opportunities to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills concerning leadership, and creating the required conditions for their implementation.
Gayane Ghazaryan and Armen Sargsyan participate in this project as lecturers and organizators. During lessons they share their experiences acquired in Czech republic during first residental phase of Shared Experience Project.
Project 3: The Choice is Ours
Implementation by: Hovhannes Bayburtyan
Program to increase the role of the youth in the pre-election and election processes
Today the interests and the specific needs of different vulnerable groups of youth are often left out of the field of interest of political parties and candidates, with the end result being that the youth feel unprotected and abandoned and indifferent towards political life.
On the one hand this is a result of the non-involvement of the potential electorate by the politicians and the parties into the process of development their pre-election programs and policy making in a broader sense. On the other hand, because they have a low level of political culture young people either do not participate in the pre-election processe and the elections at all, or they make their choice without serious political grounds, but taking into account the personal factor of each candidate.
The youth must have the feeling of being the master their own future, for which it is necessary for the youth to be not only an object of policy developed by the political parties, but also to act as an active subject of development and adoption of the policy affecting the youth themselves.
From this aspect it is especially important to implement and develop mechanisms of representation and documentation of youth interests in the policy making processes during the pre-election period, since the choices made by the political party or the candidate, who will represent youth interests during the following term should follow exactly these pre-election programs.
To solve the above-mentioned problems it is necessary to increase the civic activity of the youth, assist to the increase the level of political literacy of the young people, promote their direct participation in the pre-election and election processes, and assist in the establishment of a constructive dialogue among young people and the political powers.
The goals and objectives of the program
The goal of the project is to assist in the political transformation of Armenia and increase the civic activity of the youth in the process of youth-related policy making through the promotion of direct active participation of the youth in pre-election and election processes.
The objectives of the program are:
1. Hold 1 informative meeting for the students and the representatives of the youth NGOs directed towards the increase of the awareness level of the youth concerning pre-election and election processes.
2. Input and spread in Armenia the progressive European experience and mechanisms of youth involvement into the policy development processes through duplication and distribution of “”People and policy making” guide for political parties” CD among the heads of youth branches of political parties.
3. Assist in the establishment of a constructive dialogue among young people and political powers through by an “Electoral forum” with the participation of young voters, the representatives of the youth branches of the political parties.
The expected outcomes and the impact of the project
In the result of the realization of the project:
1. The level of awareness of the youth concerning pre-election and election processes will increase, the indifferent attitude of the youth towards political life will change and the direct participation of the youth in pre-election and election processes will rise.
2. The basis will be made for the establishment of well-educated and meaningful constructive dialogue among the youth leaders and political powers.
3. The European countries’ progressive experience and mechanisms of youth involvement into the policy development processes will be installed in Armenia, the attitude of the political powers concerning the direct participation of their electorate in the pre-election process will change.
During the first stage of the project the following activities were carried out:
1. As I am involved in the NGO field and well known as head of one of most active youth organizations in Armenia, I received an invitation from local TV GALA to participate in a series of TV debates concerning the upcoming Parliamentary elections. I was asked to participate as a youth expert. At this moment I have participated in two TV programs:
Educational system as a tool of influence on elections results
The perception of elections in people`s minds
On February 24 I was also invited to a TV program on another local TV channel Tsayg where we talked about Election Governance – role of voters during elections, etc...
During the TV debates I talked about the European experience and mechanisms of the electorate’s involvement in policy development processes that I learned during Shared Experience Forum.
Also I talked about the importance of the direct participation of young voters in the development of election programs of political parties. Because it will improve the pre-election programs cause a greater correspondence with the real interests and needs of Armenia’s youth.
I would like to mention that this series of TV debates is not yet over and I will participate in several other programs.
In the framework of my project a week ago I gave an interview to Radio Freedom Yerevan about the role of youth in election processes and the importance of people’s involvement in policy making.
2. On February 24 I organized an informative meeting with 15 active students and representatives of youth NGOs.
The main topic of our discussion was: “youth participation in the process of the development of policy concerning their problems and interests”. During the meeting I presented the European approach to this problem and we had interesting debates about it.
Project 4: Series of Discussions
Realizátor: Anna Ghosalmyan (Arménie)
Série přednášek – předávání zkušeností získaných během první residenční fáze projektu Sdílená zkušenost konaného v České republice
11. září 2006 se konala diskuze na universitě „Mkhitar Ghost“ za účasti studentů fakulty práva a historie. Protože učím historii náboženství, nemohla jsem takové informace poskytovat v rámci svých přednášek. Požádala jsem tedy přednášejícího politických věd, zda by takovouto přednášku neuskutečnil v rámci svého předmětu na základě mnou dodaných informací získaných díky projektu Sdílená zkušenost. Před diskuzí jsem připravila informace v angličtině a přednášející politických věd připravil informace o zkušenostech Arménie v průběhu transformace. V průběhu diskuze jsme porovnali zkušenosti České republiky a Slovenska a Arménie a vyzdvihli jsme možné způsoby překonání překážek v demokratizačním procesu naší země. Studenti zdůraznili, že životní podmínky v Arménii jsou odlišné a proto lze zkušenosti evropských zemí užít jen částečně, ale informace z náhledu transformačních modelů mohou být velmi užitečné a nápomocné naší transformující se zemi. Dle mého názoru byla první zkušenost docela úspěšná a rozhodla jsem se pokračovat v této aktivitě v jiných sférách.
5. října 2006 jsem zorganizoval druhou diskuzi pro členy neziskové organizace „Armenian Civil Servants“. Přes některé překážky (nedostatek času zájemců kvůli pracovní zaneprázdněnosti) jsme byli schopni shromáždit okolo 40 lidí z různých oborů působnosti (většina z nich byla z Rady pro státní úředníky). Mohu prohlásit, že toto nebyla přednáška, pouze jsem účastníkům předala směrnice a informovala o mé zkušenosti z České republiky, o přednáškách konaných v Telči a předala jsem tištěné materiály získané v Čechách. V podobných diskuzích bývá většina účastníků velmi pohotová, což však nyní bylo bohužel jen částečně, protože lidé mají vlastní dogmatický náhled na budoucnost státních úředníků v Arménii a v rámci tohoto pohledu nebyli flexibilní. Ale i přes to byla diskuze vcelku zajímavá, informativní, někteří měli velmi dobré údaje a čísla, o které se s námi podělili. Ukázalo se, že podle sociologického průzkumu mnoho státních úředníků pracujících v systému státních služeb nevěří v budoucnost silného systému státních služeb v Arménii. Účastníci zmínili, že takovéto diskuze jsou velmi důležité a velmi užitečné pro rozvoj jejich budoucí kariéry.
Podle mého názoru jsou takovéto akce velmi důležité z pohledu výměny informací různých Evropských zemí, je důležité studovat jejich historický vývoj a zkušenost a snažit se z toho získat nějaký výsledek pro svou práci a svou osobnost.
15. listopadu 2006 jsem zorganizovala zajímavou diskuzi v General Department of Civil Aviation, kde pracuji. Zájem o diskuzi mezi mými kolegy nebyl tak velký jako v předchozích případech, ale i tak to bylo poučné. Mluvili jsme o problémech týkajících se našeho oddělení a probírali jsme možné způsoby zlepšení systematické práce státních úředníků v General Department of Civil Aviation.