Archive for the 'Peace' Category

Armenia and Azerbaijan: Youth Dialogue

Via ImagineDialogue:  


Imagine 08
Azerbaijani and Armenian Student Retreat and Dialogue
June 3 – 11, 2008

If you are an Armenian or Azerbaijani student currently studying in the U.S. interested in engaging in a constructive dialogue with each other, please consider participating in the second Azerbaijani-Armenian Student Retreat and Dialogue program to be held in the United States from June 3-11, 2008 (specific location will be announced soon). Located in a serene natural setting the retreat employs a unique methodology that combines analytical dialogue and conflict resolution trainings with outdoor teambuilding and living together in a remote area.

The first Imagine Dialogue and Retreat program for Armenian and Azerbaijani students took place in May of 2007 with support from the US Department of State. The program brought together 12 young professionals from Azerbaijan and Armenia for a successful 8-day dialogue and retreat during which the participants explored their thoughts about the conflict and each other, as well as discussed the challenges Nagorno-Karabakh conflict poses for two societies. For more information on the program please visit Imagine website at

The aim of the Imagine Retreat and Dialogue is to lay a foundation for open communication by empowering Armenians and Azerbaijanis with conflict resolution skills. Though this experientially based retreat and dialogue focuses upon the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, it will do so in a non-political manner that promotes no political agenda or particular position. The workshop will be led by a three-person team of co-facilitators (one American, one Armenian, and one Azerbaijani) with significant academic and practical experience in conflict resolution. The program will also include periodic follow-up activities during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Twelve scholarships are currently available for this year: Six for Azerbaijani students, and six for Armenian students. All winners will receive meals, round-trip travel support, and accommodations for the weeklong workshop.

Students interested in applying please fill out the enclosed program application and send it together with your CV to [email protected] by the closing date of Monday, March 30, 2008.

Jughacide, Stamps, Politics and Dinosaurs

Months after annihilating the largest medieval Armenian cemetery in the world, Azerbaijan honored a nearby Muslim monument in stamps.


An ongoing Google search about Jughacide (Jugha + cide/kill) – the destruction of the world’s largest Armenian medieval cemetery in Jugha (Djulfa or Julfa) by Azerbaijani authorities in Nakhichevan– introduced me to a website that sells Azerbaijani postal stamps since 1992.

djulfa-gulustan-tomb.gif (Gulustan tomb by Digital Image, 2003)

I was shocked to find out that on May 22, 2006, just a few months after wiping out the cemetery and banning European delegations from visiting the vandalism site, Azerbaijan had issued a stamp with the depiction of Gulustan Tomb – a medieval Muslim monument only a few miles away from the barbarized cemetery.

I couldn’t help but think about the irony and the cynicism of honoring a Muslim monument – just next to the vanished cemetery – in a time when Azerbaijan vehemently denied (and still does) that the vandalism ever happened. What this a coincidence or a message to the Azerbaijani people? If it was a message, then what was it? A sense of satisfaction of finalizing the Jughacide? A reminder that the Azerbaijani people should only think about the Muslim heritage? What about the sarcastic speeches of Azerbaijani tolerance?

Interestingly, the same Gulustan tomb was already depicted, among with other monuments, on a 1999 stamp that commemorated the 75th of Nakhichevan – the birthplace of then president Heydar Aliyev who has stamps for his 80th Anniversary, for his death, etc.


The stamp for Aliyev’s 70th Anniversary had three grammar errors in one word: Nakhichevan, the Armenian region (now part of Azerbaijan due to J.V. Stalin’s order in the 1920s) where Aliyev was born. The regular Azerbaijani spelling for Nakhichevan is Naxçıvan (“c” with a tale on the bottom and “i” without the dot on the top), yet the 1993 stamp wrote the name as “Haxcivan” (H- for Heidar Aliyev?).


In 1994, Aliyev was replaced by Prehistoric Animals – the Dinosaurs – namely Coelophysis and Segisaurus, Pentaceratops and tyrannosaurids, Segnosaurus and oviraptor, Albertosaurus and corythosaurus, Iguanodons, Stegosaurus and allosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus and saurolophus, perhaps in an attempt to document the early days of Azerbaijani culture destroyed by Armanian terrorists. Well, the last one was a joke, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Azerbaijani authorities claimed that Armenians were responsibly for the extinction of the Dinosaurs. But if you pay attention to the stamps, you will see that all stamps, but one, depict fighting animals, and this perhaps symbolizes the anger in Azerbaijan at the time although the war with Armenia was already over.


Another war, namely the one on terror, has also become a theme for an Azerbaijani stamp. On September 18, 2002, Azerbaijan issued a stamp with New York’s twin towers and the phrase, “Freedom for All.” Are the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh part of that “All”? Not the vanished cemetery in Nakhichevan for sure.

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