In the summer of 2012 CSSP for the first time supported an activity in the South Caucasus by joining the “Tekali Festival of Art and Conflict Transformation” in the small village of Tekali, in the Georgian border region to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Tekali Festival took place as a third gathering in support of the “Tekali Process”, which aims to strengthen the dialogue between Armenian and Azeri civil society since the Upper Karabach conflict in 1994. Despite rare ceasefire violations, the armed conflict is over. Still it remains frozen by unsolved territory claims and displacement of citizens in Karabach and occupied villages. The division between both countries is strong, as the conflict has inflicted many wounds on both sides and erected barriers and psychological obstacles between them. Nevertheless each of the governments uses every possibility to strengthen the hostility between the two countries.
To avoid nationalistic and ethnic driven disturbances, the festival was organised outside of both countries in the neutral area of Tekali in Georgia. Different artists, journalists and peace activists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Germany met to discuss how peace can be brought into society and to share different ways on opening perspectives for peace such as art, political documentary theatre (Teatr.doc) and mediation. During the five days of festival these approaches were experienced by participants. Every festival day ended with a film produced by Armenian, Azeri and Georgian Filmmakers showing the conflict from different perspectives.
With the idea that art serves the kindness, humanity and reconciliation among people, the participants had the possibility to jointly experience peace and mutually cooperate. On this five day festival, CSSP conducted a workshop about the basics of mediation. It focused on the understanding of mediation that every person itself can contribute to peace personally by living the ideals of it.
Within the frames of the festival CSSP could promote mediation activities and tried to assess in how far our approach can bring an added value to the local context. Based on the positive feedback we received, we at the moment we further assess of the conflict situation and support the promotion of the Teqali initative in Berlin in cooperation with our partners from the South Caucasus.