Playing Roles for Better Understanding

Yerevan, Armenia:

In the period from 25 February to 1 March, 2011, the Go Group Media conducted in Yerevan, Armenia, the meeting of young people, aged 20 to 30, who represented different societies of the Caucasus region, including Georgians and Ossetians, from both North and South Ossetia. We call the project ‘People to People Dialogue Across Divides’, and this time we have managed to create a specific, experimental channel for such conversations. The three-day meeting was conducted as a psychological role-play.

The hosts, Armenian psychologists, involved the participants in an active exercise encouraging them to change their habitual roles and sometimes face the need to ‘become a person from the opposite side’. The aim of the role-play was to make the participants realize that any dispute always involves more than one truth, and for being able to resolve a dispute, one may need to be able to, at least, truly acknowledge those truths as truths and not as mystifications of the ‘other side’.

Some of 14 participants – journalists, doctors, businessmen, poets, many of them active bloggers, met a person from the ‘other’ side of the conflict for the first time.

They got to work as a team on resolving complicated family, business and political ‘conflicts’, thus gaining an experience which contributed to cross-community understanding and prepared citizens to play a more active role in decision-making in the region.

  • Most of the participants of Yerevan meeting were journalists and civil activists aged between 20-30 Photo by Temo Bardzimashvili

Mission participants:

Khristina  Ianovskaia, doctor, civil activist
Temo Bardzimashvili, Liberali magazine, EurasiaNet
Zarina Sanakoeva, freelance journalist
Levan Tsertsvadze, poet, civil activist
Fatima Plieva, freelance journalist
Dato Kanchashvili, Netgazeti.Ge
Alan Tskhurbaev, “Kavkazskiy Uzel”
Goga Aptsiauri, Radio Freedom
Zurab Tavasiev, entrepreneur
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Telavi State University, Telavi Series magazine
Irina Ianovskaia,  “Journalists for Human Rights”
Sopho Bukia, Liberali Magazine
Maria Plieva, bloger
Viktor Roganov, ABREC Studio

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