YIC Newsletter_ October 2012

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YIC Newsletter_ October 2012


  • October

    Upcoming Clubs


    14:00 International Club

    (Sona Sahakyan)

    16:00 English for beginners

    (Volodya Khachatryan)

    17:00 Conversational English

    (Kimberly VanKirk)


    16:00 English for beginners

    (Volodya Khachatryan)

    17:00 Spanish Club

    (Anna Harutyunyan and Iustina



    16:00 Photography Club

    (Lus Carvalho)

    17:30 Intermediate English Club

    (Siranush Minasyan)


    15:00 European Club

    (All EVS volunteers)

    15:00 EyoU Club

    (Aleksandra Ziba and Victoria

    Walter - Last Thursday of each month)

    17:00 German Club

    (Anna Schott & Johanna Palomita)


    16:00 Farsi Club

    (Galya Hovhannisyan)

    17:30 Intermediate English Club

    (Siranush Minasyan)


    November 2012 #4

    More info on Facebook:



    In partnership with Counterpart International, YIC was able to give four

    participants an unforgettable experience to spend a week in ivas, Turkey, learning

    about the importance of solidarity and social assistance among young people, with

    participants from all across the European continent.

    While the Youth Initiative Center is frequently both an organizing and participating

    organization in Youth in Action projects and initiatives, this one was particularly

    special. The program was specifically designed to reach youth from disadvantaged

    backgrounds; and with the generous support of Counterpart International, the

    participant costs could be covered. YIC gave an open call among the 41 Youth and

    Community Action Centers (YCAC) throughout the country, and four participants

    from four different regions of Armenia were chosen to attend the week-long

    international youth exchange.

    As part of the program, participants were encouraged to recognize not only

    marginalized groups within their own countries, but also to identify groups who

    could assist and support such groups. And during the final days of the exchange,

    participants were given the opportunity to visit the local municipality and service-

    oriented organizations, where they learned first-hand about innovative and effective

    social assistance programs.

    Just as importantly, bringing 30 young people from Lithuania, Georgia, Russia,

    Moldova, and Turkey also promoted cross-cultural understanding and appreciation

    among the participants, and strengthened their skills in cooperation and teamwork

    while encouraging tolerance toward different lifestyles and points of view.

    By Kim VanKirk

    Youth Exchange

    A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

  • Often, pictures can express more than words. Photographs

    can document our realities and express our feelings when

    words fall short. And pictures can be a powerful way to bring

    people together. From the 14th-20th October, that is exactly

    what happened when five YIC members participated in a

    youth exchange in Turkey entitled Photographs Talk Louder

    than Words. The project was organised by Hasan Ferdi

    Turgutlu Technical High School in the town of Turgutlu in

    western Turkey and featured 30 participants from six different

    countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Slovakia,

    Turkey and Ukraine.

    The goal of the project was to use photography as a medium

    to encourage young people to work together across borders

    and through cultural differences, since photography is an art

    which is not restricted by language and culture. The project

    also worked towards recognising photography as an effective

    way of expressing opinions and feelings, as illustrated in the

    project title photographs talk louder than words.

    Participants received an introduction to basic photography

    and famous photographers before spending time taking

    pictures in and around Turgutlu. The participants

    photographs were then displayed and shared in an exhibition

    at the end of the week. In addition to the time spent behind

    the camera, there was also free time for the participants to

    explore the culture and sights of the town and its surrounding

    landscape. By Kristoffer Jansen

  • Club Spotlight - EyoU Club

    Beginning from November 1st, YIC staff and members will

    happily add one more country to our growing list of EVS

    countries represented at the Youth Initiative Center--

    Germany. Under the Active Citizens in the Caucasus

    project, five volunteers from Germany will arrive to spend the

    next eleven months in different non-governmental

    organizations in the South Caucasus countries of Armenia,

    Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Two volunteers will be hosted in

    Azerbaijan, one in Georgia, and two others - Anna Schott and

    Johanna Teubler - will complete their voluntary service with


    The idea behind the project is two-fold: first, to strengthen

    local organizations and

    youth centers with fresh

    enthusiasm and a taste of

    Europe; and second, to link

    the five volunteers

    activities with a common

    purpose. Once the

    volunteers return to

    Germany at the end of the

    project, they are expected

    to promote volunteering in

    the EECA region and encourage others to take a chance with


    Generally, the project will promote the European values of

    active citizenship, volunteering, social inclusion, and equal

    chances for all, primarily through the use of non-formal

    educational events and activities for local youth and children.

    Specifically, the Armenian project will focus on providing

    opportunities to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds,

    including orphans and youth from underprivileged areas. And

    like all EVS volunteer projects, the volunteers are encouraged

    to initiate their own ideas and activities within the framework

    of the project, according to their own aspirations and specific


    Like all EVS projects, our volunteers have the opportunity to

    receive as much as they give. Under this particular Youth in

    Action (YiA) project, the volunteers will get insight into the

    workings of a youth-focused NGO, become familiar with non-

    formal education methods and tools for working with youth,

    and discover potential approaches for avoiding the

    marginalization of certain social groups.

    Stay tuned for the upcoming activities within this project, or

    just come by the office and say hello to our newest EVS

    volunteers! By Kim VanKirk

    EVS Hosting

    Active Citizens in the Caucasus

    On the 25th of October, two of YICs EVS volunteers,

    Aleksandra from Poland and Victoria from Austria, conducted

    the first meeting of the EyoU Club. They informed interested

    youth about the European Union in general, and focused

    specifically on the Youth in Action program and the

    possibilities for young people in Armenia to go abroad.

    During the first meeting they also outlined the purpose and

    main topics of the EyoU Club. YIC members can attend this

    club to learn about the opportunities connected with the

    European Union, the system and structure of the European

    Union, and how they can potentially benefit from it. In

    addition to the monthly EyoU Club, all of our EVS volunteers

    will kick-off the European Club in November, which will meet

    weekly and present the cultures of Europe. Whereas the EyoU

    Club will focus only on the opportunities and programs within

    the European Union, the European Club will introduce the

    customs, traditions, and lifestyles of our

    EVS volunteers home countries.

    The topics of the EyoU Club are

    decided upon beforehand, and will

    be announced in the YIC Members

    Group on Facebook. Suggestions

    and requests for topics to discuss

    can be made to the two club leaders

    and will be gratefully received.

    The next EyoU Club will be held

    on Thursday, the 29th of November

    at 15:00. During this upcoming club,

    our volunteers will inform our members about scholarship

    opportunities in foreign countries and give practical advice on

    searching and applying for programs, such as DAAD in

    Germany. By Aleksandra Ziba and Victoria Walter

  • What is youth participation and how can we increase the

    understanding of it? How can we motivate young people to

    become active citizens and be included in decision-making

    processes? What kind of social issues are facing youth, and

    what is the best way to deal with them?

    These questions, among others, were the focus of the six-day

    training course You Have More Rights That Staying Silent in

    Kobuleti, Georgia in early October. The training course

    brought together youth leaders, youth workers, and young

    people from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Italy, Lithuania,

    Moldova, Romania, and Slovenia.

    Participants developed their knowledge and skills on the

    topics of youth participation, active citizenship, human rights,

    and democracy, with the hope of increasing youth

    involvement and supporting young people in developing

    initiatives to address local issues. To this end, the trainers

    provided a variety of useful tools, including the European

    Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and

    Regional Life (a publication by the Council of Europe) and the

    RMSOS framework, as well as many opportunities for

    information sharing through team-based activities, discussions,

    and role plays.

    During a mid-training trip to the city of Batumi, participants

    sat down with representatives from the local municipality and

    Droni NGO, in order to learn more about the existing

    methods being used to engage local young people.

    Immediately following the discussion, participants enjoyed an

    afternoon in the seaside city, where they got to experience

    Georgian culture, history, and cuisine. Later in the week, the

    participants also joined together for the Intercultural Evening,

    where the cuisine and cultural traditions of each country were

    introduced. During the Armenian presentation, everyone got

    up to try a traditional dance; later in the evening, everyone

    learned how to play a typical Belarusian childrens game.

    Through it all, participants shared stories and laughter, and

    discovered similarities that are stronger than any differences.

    And even despite a hurricane on the final day that took out

    the power and tested the resourcefulness of the training team,

    the objectives of the training course were fulfilled, and

    participants left with tangible ideas for future cooperation.

    By Gagik Grigoryan

    Training Course

    You Have More Rights Than Staying Silent

  • International Training Course

    URA You are Able At the Youth Initiative Center, we know about the power of

    volunteering and the many benefits it can bring to both the

    organization and the volunteer, and we want to make sure that

    others do, too. So it was an easy decision to organize an

    international training course with the aim to promote volunteering

    as a mechanism for increasing youth employability. The program,

    entitled You Are Able (URA!), specifically focused on:

    recognizing the types of voluntary activities that lead to

    capacity development and competitiveness in the job market;

    how to recruit, retain, and recognize volunteers for maximum

    effectiveness; and

    the introduction of mechanisms for tracking voluntary work

    as a learning process.

    The training began on October 14th, when 25 participants from

    13 different countries arrived in Gyumri to attend the week-long

    workshop, which took place at the Berlin Art Hotel. For the next

    six days, the participants took part in discussions, simulations, and

    seminars all designed to give them new knowledge and skills about

    how volunteering can be used to increase prospects for

    employment. In addition to the ideas and tools presented by the

    trainers, participants were encouraged to exchange their own ideas,

    experiences, and realities with one another.

    The workshop also provided the opportunity for participants to

    experience Armenian culture, many for the first time. As part of

    the learning process, participants were sent out into the

    community with small volunteering tasks to complete, which

    offered the chance for interaction with local people. And

    Armenian hospitality was at its finest when thirteen local families

    volunteered to host the international participants for the first two

    nights of the training, giving these participants a glimpse of daily

    life and culture in Gyumri.

    For more information about the training, including information

    about the partners, the program agenda, videos about volunteering

    made by the participants themselves, and other useful links, please

    check out the URA! blog at: www.ura2012.wordpress.com. For

    pictures from the training course, check out the URA photo album

    at YICs Facebook page. By Kim VanKirk

  • I just cant miss this unique opportunity for self-discovery,

    was my first thought when I saw the announcement about the

    Rolling Istanbul EVS opportunity in Hrant Dink

    Foundation (HDF; www.hrantdink.org). This EVS is special

    because, apart from working for an Armenian organization in

    Istanbul that specializes in minority/human rights and cross-

    border dialogue, I also have the opportunity to meet young

    volunteers from all over Turkey through TOG (Community

    Volunteers Foundation; tog.org.tr/EN/) and develop my own

    community and cross border projects.

    As a volunteer in Hrant Dink Foundation, I mostly act as a

    link between the activities being organized by HDF and their

    current and potential Armenian partners, thus increasing

    awareness of HDFs activities in Armenia, finding new

    opportunities, expanding the network, and extending the scope

    of cooperation.

    In the future, we plan to write a project proposal on

    cooperation within the educational sphere, such as academic

    exchanges and implementing the Erasmus Mundus program

    between the two countries.

    I also participated in the annual youth gathering with

    Community Volunteers Foundation, which enabled me to

    meet new people and learn about volunteer needs-based

    initiatives all over the country, and contributed to my expertise

    in future undertakings. And as a member of TOGs

    international study group, well be working on developing new

    projects that focus on the organizations priorities and scope

    of interest, which are: youth mobilization and activism,

    cooperation with Germany and Armenia, and volunteer work.

    Before embarking on this adventurous path I had many

    doubts, but as they say: You never know until you try. My

    last comment would be: Dare to try. By Ariadna Grigoryan

    EVS Sending

    Ariadna volunteering in Turkey This month, we are pleased to introduce Ariadna Grigoryan, our EVS volunteer in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • We caught the member of September for a short interview:

    How did you find YIC?

    I followed my sisters advice (Nelli Minasyan - Project

    Officer in YIC) to become a member of YIC. Now I am also

    a local volunteer.

    What is the best thing at YIC ?

    YIC has so many good features that it is really difficult for

    me to single out some

    of them. But most of

    all I like their working

    style of for youth,

    with youth and by


    What is the most

    important thing you

    have learnt at YIC?

    The m...