Promoting Peace Through Literature
In an era where discord often takes center stage, literature can serve as a bridge to foster understanding and harmony between different cultures. This sentiment was at the heart of a recent conference that took place across the South Caucasus region, focusing on the positive portrayals of neighbors in the literary works of the region’s nations. The initiative of Rasim Mirzaev from EuroKaukAsia stemmed from an observation: for many, there’s a significant gap in appreciating the profound literary traditions that crisscross these adjacent nations.
The inception of this project was rooted in an encounter 2 years ago in Yerevan, where discussions with Armenian youth highlighted a significant gap in their awareness about Azerbaijani literature that painted Armenian characters in a positive and respectful light. It became evident that such gaps exist in Azerbaijan and Georgia as well, concerning Armenian and Georgian literature respectively.
To curate participants for this unique conference, an online contest was launched across four countries: Germany, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. From the numerous applications, the finest candidates were handpicked. Additionally, project coordinators from all South Caucasus nations assisted in selecting participants, ensuring the best representation.
A series of compelling presentations and discussions that served as an eye-opener for many attendees. Among the Azerbaijani contributors, Nazmin Jafarova’s exploration of Armenian themes in Azerbaijani literature, Gyunel Isaeva’s prototype analysis from various Azerbaijani literary works, and young writer Samed Shikhi’s take on positive Armenian imagery stood out.
From Armenian side literature critic Armenik Nikogosyan shed light on positive instances of inter-cultural relations in Armenian literature through the ages. Global Peace Ambassador Nelly Davtyan delved into the Azerbaijani fondness for the Armenian literary work “Kirva” by Levon Javakhyan. This particular session was especially engaging, prompting numerous questions and fostering an atmosphere of intrigue and eagerness to learn. Another highlight was the deep dive into the relationships between Armenians and neighboring nations under external influences, presented by literature critic Artak Arakelyan.
The Georgian contingent, particularly students from Tbilisi State University, added their unique perspectives. They brilliantly illuminated the diverse palette of Georgia’s multicultural society and its representation in literature and art.
The conference wasn’t just limited to presentations. A series of invaluable meetings were organized with writers and public figures from the region. The engagement between the youth and esteemed personalities like Armenian writer Vahram Martirosyan, Georgian ex-Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia, and German historian Professor Eva-Maria Auch was remarkable.
A standout moment from the event was the comprehensive presentation and workshop led by the German delegate, Daniel Heinz. He delved into the history of Germans in the South Caucasus and shared contemporary German perspectives on the current situation in the region.
During the conference the participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan felt compelled to share poignant narratives of unity between their nations during the Soviet era, stories filled with hopes of renewing and even deepening those ties in the future. A prevailing sentiment, echoing throughout the conference, was a collective yearning for lasting peace and a hope that their nations would never again be marred by the horrors of war.
This event was not just another conference- it emerged as a nexus of understanding and collaboration between Caucasian and German youths. It underscored the imperative of cherishing our interwoven histories and cultures, marking a significant stride towards a harmoniously united world.
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