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South Caucasus


Opening ceremony

nationality human: opening ceremony: september 22

Edvard Antinyan: Respected guests and dear fellow countrymen, the South Caucasian festival “I am Human” will take place in Yerevan during theses three days. It is the second year the festival is being organized, this year it will play in 5 different cities of the republic, and 27 such festivals are organized all over the entire South Caucasus. The initiators of the festival are the Heinrich Bell Foundation, the Open Community Foundation, and the Co-Action Eurasia Foundation as well as the embassies of Georgia and Switzerland supports the festival. The organizer of the festival in Yerevan is the independent organization "Dempros", the president of which am I, Edward Antinyan.

Our goal is for the viewer, during the process of the festival, to watch the films about conflicts in different countries and express his or her opinions about the problems, to evaluate and find the problems that are common in our community and the community of the countries of which the films are about. The active participation of the viewer is important, specially the young viewer. It’s important that the title “Nationality-Human” was not only seen on the screen but also became embodied in the audience.

And in consideration of the majority of our audience are representatives of youth; I give the podium to the president of permanent parliamentary commission of science, culture, youth and sports Armen Ashotyan.

three opinions about the project

Armen Ashotyan and Edvard Antinyan
Organizer of the festival Edvard Antinyan and the head of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on science, education, culture, sport and youth Armen Ashotyan
Armen Ashotyan: Dear countrymen, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to greet today’s event, it would be an exaggeration to talk about, how actual are the ideas Peace and Human Rights for our region. From that point of view, I am certain that the event that has been organized by "Democracy, prosperity, security" NGO will find a viewer and the equivalent reaction from its target groups.

I’d like to also say, about what should the relationship be like between youth and government, from my point of view. The youth not only needs governmental, cultural and social politics, it also needs national relations and national education. From that perception, I think, the logo of today’s festival is undoubtedly important, but the understanding “Nationality - Armenian” (a deeper interpretation I am ethnic Armenian) should not be any less important for the youth living in Armenia, where the word Armenian informs no lesser authority, sound and a hue to life and the image of thought of every young person living in Armenia.

I wish the festival a success, and I think that young people who get an opportunity during these three days to view appropriate documentary films, will receive great impressions, but, nevertheless will not forget, and I have to repeat again, about the national component in the upbringing of the youth is not of a lesser importance then the civic education. Thank you.

Edvard Antinyan: I present the word to a member of the jury of South Caucasus festival, the president of Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives, the coordinator of festivals that are being done in Armenia. Mr. Georgi Vanyan.

Georgi Vanyan: Dear friends thank you for coming. Before I begin I’d like to ask to honor the memory of the victims of the last war in South Caucasus with a minute of silence. (Minute of Silence)

The South Caucasus festival of peace and human rights “Nationality - Human” was founded in 2007 and I hope it expects a long lasting life. But the fate of this festival doesn’t depend on us, the independent organizations. I, as a member of the jury, presented my principals from the beginning and will be executive in my position – the festival must come out of the NGOs regular events and arrive to regular people. A citizen must become the active face of the festival. I’m hoping that during the process of festival discussions, the demand in the world, the demand which is conserved within each of our families, will be will be brought out into an open square and will be voiced on that square through an outsider citizen, a target of a conflict citizen. We must form our social request for peace, and turn government and political officials into the performers of that order. I’d like to give a special thanks to Eurasia Partnership Foundation for supporting the festival and present the word to the Director of the foundation in Armenia Mr. Ter-Gabrielyan.

Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan: Thank you. I’d like to briefly tell about the uniqueness of this festival. First of all the festival is being financed by three regional contributors and our foundation is only one of them. We are glad that the ongoing agreement process, which demanded a lot of persistence, is finally over, and the festival has made it to Yerevan, Armenia. Another uniqueness of this festival is probably the fact that it’s the one and only project where the films are being shown in the entire South Caucasus region with no exceptions – not only did it play just in Georgia, Azerbaijan but also in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorny Karabakh. And now it has come to Armenia. This way the festival becomes a symbol of South Caucasian relativity against all conflicts. Thank you for your attention.

Georgi Vanyan: Dear friends it is with greetings that I’d like to give the word to a classic of modern Armenian film, the director of the “Golden Apricot” festival, my good friend – Harutyun Khachatryan.

proud silence filled with the belief that we know more than our neighbors

Harutyun Khachatryan
Harutyun Khachatryan
film-maker, director
of «Golden Apricot» film festival
Harutyun Khachatryan: And of course the “Golden Apricot” welcomes this festival, the festival by it self can never be an end in itself. I think, this festival, which was given birth to by a few miraculous people and those who believed them and stood by them, became a beginning of a path – a rocky and a difficult one, but in the same time a right and a humane one. There are problems the authority figures and professionals are neglecting, problems, which only we see and feel and we are supposed to fixate them in films, paintings, and photos.

Naturally our festival has different goals – it’s a professional film festival, I consider your festival is an important one because the occurrences, conditions and difficulties, which are existent today, remain out of view. And your feelings, your love and relationship are very important for this festival. We are prepared to participate in your festivals and help within the allowance of our possibilities.

We give a greater significance to film authorities from the South Caucasus region in our festival as well, for we are – a unified region, and we are supposed to exchange with our concerns, pain, grief, speak, try to tell each other about what we feel, about what we understood and what we didn’t. Because conflicts start when we stop talking to each other. They start from proud silence filled with the belief that we know more than our neighbors. Here, your conversation has begun and let it continue. Good luck on the path that you’ve chosen.

Georgi Vanyan: I’d like to give a word of greeting to a person, who in the very beginning of the war had the civil courage to rebel and voice the demand and the principals of a peaceful coexistence. Please welcome Ashot Bleyan.

horrifying conflicts in south caucasus

Ashot Bleyan
Ashot Bleyan
the principal of «Mkhitar Sebastaci» educational complex
Ashot Bleyan: Thank you. In 1988, when I began my public-political career, I knew three things exactly and I’d like to voice those three things again.

The most horrifying in my life were and still are conflicts in South Caucasus, international conflicts. What ever the opinions or versions are, I myself believe, that our people (meaning the people of South Caucasus), we ourselves are responsible for this resistance, for these conflicts, we’re responsible for our everyday connivance. The last Georgian- Ossetian stand off became acts of bad fate for me, where I feel responsible and guilty. I think this festival can become a means of counter actions to this everlasting threat of bloodshed. I know what being bewildered is, a bad knowledge of one another, it has been and is the main sin of South Caucasus people. We don’t know each other very well. I think, this festival can become a reason for us to get to know each other.

And finally, we must realize the importance of human rights, which for me are associated with freedom. We remain un-free in South Caucasus, because we don’t tie peace and freedom between one another, and among that, peace and freedom are inseparable. I greet the festival that united these two important ideas. Only with respect to individual right and human freedom it’s possible to achieve peace in Caucasus. I welcome the festival and, I’m prepared to become its participant with a clear conscience.

festival route and team : georgians, armenians

Festival team
Yulia Adelkhanova, Temuri Kiguradze, Luiza Poghosyan and Irakli Chikhladze
Georgi Vanyan: It is with love that I’d like to present to you my colleagues from Georgia. Irakli Chikhladze. He will be enlightening the entire course of the festival in Armenia, Public meetings and discussions will be embodied in his interviews. I thank Irakli for his work. The South Caucasus Center for Peace-Making Initiatives, except for the festival in Gyumri, invited guests from Georgia, to support the co-organizers in Armenian cities. It is with respect that I’d like to introduce to you a young journalist, a correspondent of the newspaper “Messenger”, some one who was wounded in Tskhinvali, who passed through the horrors of war, - Temuri Kiguradze. It is also with joy that I’d like to introduce a talented beginning journalist, who has already made a significant announcement in journalism. And where have we been? – With that question addresses us a representative of the war generation – Julia Adelkhanova.

During our meetings, our guests will attempt to fill the shouting vacumm of information about the last war and about what’s generally going on in Georgia. I hope the upcoming relations will be a reason for our journalists for settling professional co-operation and exchange of information with Georgian colleagues.

Journalists have already asked me if these festivals are CCPMI projects. I answer - no. CCPMI only co- ordinates all festivals, that were thought up by the co-organizers of five cities in Armenia. I’d like to say a few words about the past festivals. The festival of my dreams happened in Noyemberyan, which is bordering with Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Youth Activity Club of Noyemberyan, lead by Mkhitar Gishyan, organized it. Please give him a round of applause. The residents of Noyemberyan and the bordering towns nearby had the stormiest discussions, which will be posted, on our website.

The next festival took place in Vanadzor. There too in an overcrowded auditorium a lot of important questions and the kind of problems were brought up which our politicians are avoiding.

The next point was Gyumri. There were also failures, the event passed just as an event. After Yerevan we will head for Yeghegnadzor, for realization of a young activist Nane Asatryan’s idea, and I am certain that in Yeghegnadzor we will be able to have a fully functional festival.

These three days in every one of the cities we get an opportunity to make a choice between political speculations and civil dialogue. Let’s take advantage of the occasion today and the following two days. The subject of the first discussion: “ Armenia-Azerbaijan: Speculations and dialogue, where does the line of separation pass?” On the second day the films we will view will give us an opportunity to discuss the subject “Us and others”. On the third day the subject “Armenia – Georgia, predestined challenges” will be put for discussion. These predestined invitations and threats, like a mine in a slow motion have exploded between us during many years, and we stand with a bowed head. Where to go? I think the festival will become a means, which will help to find new ways to one another.

And finally, I’d like to introduce the host of the festival – an actor of the Vanadzor State Drama Theatre after Abelyan, the main prize winner of a yearly republican competition “Artist - 2007” – Hamlet Gyulzadyan. Hamlet brilliantly hosted the festival in Vanadzor, and I, apologized to his college here, and asked for the capital’s festival microphone to be passed to him. I thank mister Gyulzadyan for agreeing with my proposal, and having torn out the three days from his busy actor’s schedule.

Before I invite you to the auditorium I present the word to the honorable representative of the Georgian Embassy in Armenia Nino Aptsiauri.

person doesn’t choose his neighbors: we are caucasians

Nino Aptsiauri
Nino Aptsiauri
Advisor of the Georgian Embassy in Armenia
Nino Aptsiauri: Greetings to everyone gathered here, I wish the festival success. Primarily, on the behalf of the Georgian people I’m expressing gratitude to the organizers of the festival. “I am Human” is a very valuable understanding. Right now we are going through what is called a very tough period of time for the entire South Caucasus. We too, the Armenians, the Azerbaijanis, and the Georgians must continue to remind each other that our progress and peace are under the terms of our good neighborliness. A person doesn’t choose his parents or his neighbors.

History formed us as a one whole. The first Christian Georgian King Mirian commended his son to take care of the entire Caucasus. And it’s specifically with that realization, caring for Caucasus, which we must look into our own future. I wish the Caucasian people peace and prosperity. “Nationality – Human”- and I’d like to add: we are the Caucasians, the ones who are supposed to think about the entire Caucasus. Thank you.

Recorded by Luiza Poghosyan
South Caucasian Documentary Film Festival of Peace and Human Rights in Armenia implementing by Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives with support of Eurasia partnership foundation - Armenia and the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)