Editor's choice
South Caucasus Youth Peace Summer School held successfully in Georgia from 21-31 August

South Caucasus Youth Peace Summer School held successfully in Georgia from 21-31 August

The first South Caucasus Youth Peace Summer School (SCYPSS) was held successfully in Kachreti, Georgia from 21-31 August 2023. Thirty young participants aged between 21 and 29, ten each from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia participated in the Summer School. At the end of the Summer School participants also attended the South Caucasus Regional Dialogue Forum. The School and the Forum were organised by LINKS Europe, with the support of the European Union and the Government of Norway.
Editor's choice
Opinion: The future of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process hinges on the Agdam-Khankandi road

Opinion: The future of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process hinges on the Agdam-Khankandi road

The stalemate that surrounds the progress of various humanitarian convoys that seek to supply the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh aptly symbolizes the situation at the moment in the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process, writes Vasif Husseynov is this op-ed for commonspace.eu. "Azerbaijan relies on the international law and hopes that the principle of territorial integrity will eventually prevail over all other counterclaims. At the same time, Azerbaijan takes measures to ensure that the local Armenians will have alternative for humanitarian supplies if they indeed face the threat of starvation. The dispatch of humanitarian cargo and declaring Baku’s readiness to provide more is the manifestation of this policy. For many observers in the region and as proposed by the Azerbaijani government, the only exit from the present deadlock in Karabakh looks like to be the opening of both Agdam and Lachin roads at the same time. It might create necessary conditions for the supplies of humanitarian aid to the local population and help Baku and Yerevan to proceed with the peace treaty negotiations", he argues.
Türkiye's Evolving South Caucasus Policy under Re-Elected Erdoğan
The South Caucasus has consistently occupied a pivotal position within Turkish foreign policy. This significance has been underscored by Türkiye's deepening influence in the region, a trend that has gained momentum especially in the wake of the Second Karabakh War. With the recent re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Presidency of the country, it is certain that Ankara will continue its active engagement in the South Caucasus. However, a nuanced analysis is imperative to fully grasp the multi-pronged approach that Türkiye has adopted in its dealings with this region. This strategy involves complex engagements with Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, offering a perspective through which the intricate web of geopolitical challenges can be unraveled. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Simona Scotti says that "this dynamic foreign policy stance also underscores the significance of the South Caucasus in extending Turkish influence to Central Asia.  In recent years, the growing importance of this region has garnered significant attention, not only for Türkiye but also for Europe. Situated at the crossroads of continents, Central Asia has emerged as a hub of economic potential, strategic significance, and cultural exchange. Türkiye, with its historical ties and shared Turkic heritage, recognizes the value of strengthening its relations with Central Asian countries. Consequently, the South Caucasus assumes a pivotal role in Türkiye's efforts to foster deeper diplomatic, economic, and cultural connections with Central Asia, ultimately benefiting both Türkiye and Europe by promoting regional cooperation and diversification of partnerships."
dennis2020 Thu, 08/31/2023 - 04:56
Opinion: Forthcoming municipal elections in Armenia may pose a first test for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan
Delays in signing an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement open the prospects that the process may be derailed as a result of domestic politics. Next month, Yerevan will go to the polls to indirectly elect a new mayor. The parliamentary opposition is boycotting the vote, and a large number of voters remain apathetic or undecided, but the vote can still be seen as demonstrative enough ahead of the 2026 national parliamentary elections. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Onnik James Krikorian argues that Pashinyan foes are already attempting to turn the 17 September 2023 vote into a ‘referendum’ on Armenia-Azerbaijan talks and former de facto State Minister of Karabakh Ruben Vardanyan has called for the same. If Karabakh does dominate the campaign trail, and if Pashinyan’s Civil Contract can emerge victorious with no major abuse of administrative resources recorded, then there would hardly be any political reason not to sign a peace agreement in the nearest future. But if the government were to lose City Hall as 2025 and 2026 approaches, then that would look even less certain. For now, that does not appear likely, but what happens next month could greatly influence Pashinyan’s options in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
dennis2020 Mon, 08/28/2023 - 05:19
Editor's choice
Women artists make impact on Saudi Arabia's art scene

Women artists make impact on Saudi Arabia's art scene

The role of women in various aspects of Saudi society has been changing dramatically in recent years. One area where great strides has been made is the arts and culture scene, including in various Saudi regions. The women’s art movement in Baha is elevating the Saudi art scene by showcasing regional and national heritage. Visual artist Samia Al-Othman told the Saudi Press Agency that the women’s art movement in Baha has witnessed significant development in recent years. Al-Othman has taken part in local and international exhibitions and forums, and undergone training courses in different art schools, utilizing a range of techniques since 2012. Nada Al-Jabiri said that she discovered her talent at an early age, adding that aspirations for the future can be seen in her drawings, which aligns with empowering women and using their artistic ideas. Women artists in Baha have been influenced by local and global experiences, which is reflected in many of their works. (SPA) She added that visual art is sending a great message by highlighting national identity and introducing Saudi cultural, historic, social and artistic heritage to the world.
September's G20 summit in India will meet under the slogan "One Earth, One Family, One Future."
India will underline the need for further diversity, the voice of the Global South as well as a human-centric approach to globalism as the country gears up for the G-20 leader’s meeting on 9 and 10 September in New Delhi under the motto "One Earth, One Family, One Future." India, as a developing country, has placed utmost importance on inclusivity for its G-20 presidency and has within this scope invited several non-G-20 members for the range of meetings held during the country’s term. The 32 countries, in addition to the G-20 members and guest countries, are present in the programs. The G-20 includes the European Union and the major economies of all continents, including the U.S., China, Russia and Germany. The Indian Presidency has drawn out six focus points, namely inclusive and resilient growth, progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), green development and life, technological transformation and digital public infrastructure, reforming multilateral institutions as well as women-led development.  India announced that it made a proposal for the African Union to be a permanent member of the G-20. The world’s economic gravity center has shifted dramatically in the past years. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the share of emerging markets in global trade increased from 32% to 46% between 200 and 2019, while their share of receiving global foreign direct investment (FDI) rose from 15% to 46% and most of the world’s GDP growth occurs in those emerging markets.  India, the most populous country in the world, for its part, is aiming to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2027. In 2014 it was the 10th largest, while today it ranks fifth.
dennis2020 Sat, 08/26/2023 - 10:01
BRICS leaders invite six countries to join the group at the end of their summit in South Africa
The summit of BRICS - the group bringing together Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa concluded this morning with an invitation to six countries to join as from 1 January 2024. Speaking at a briefing at the end of the summit, the president of host country South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said   "We reiterate our commitment to inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultation." Ramaphosa said that BRICS is a diverse group of nations. "It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but have a shared vision for a better world." "As the five BRICS countries, we have reached agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process, which has been under discussion for quite a while.  We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow. We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from 1 January 2024."
dennis2020 Thu, 08/24/2023 - 11:08
“The role of religion in peacemaking is to preach love, including of those who are different from us, those who are not like us” – Metropolitan Grigoli of Poti and Khobi
“Religion will play a more effective role in the establishment of peace when we do not offer our believers only religious dialogues or other formal formats, but we call and teach them to firmly adhere to the divine blessing, the doctrines that from time immemorial teach us to love our neighbour, condemn violence and inspire us to be at peace with ourselves and with the world. The role of religion in peacemaking is what it should always have been - to preach love, including of those who are different from us, those who are not like us. There is a lot of material for this kind of teaching in the Caucasus region, and not using it is an important missed resource, especially if we take into account the fact that the vast majority of the population of our countries consider themselves believers.” This was stated by His Grace Metropolitan Grigoli, Archbishop of Poti and Khobi whilst addressing participants of the first South Caucasus Youth Peace Summer School (SCYPSS), which is being held in Kachreti, Georgia from 21-31 August 2023. Metropolitan Grigoli warned that “wounds caused by war and conflict cannot be healed by another war! The power of mind and language is always greater than that of arms, and peace between countries should be built on the peace-loving nature of human being; All paths leading to peace today are expressions of responsible moral consciousness”. At the end of his speech Archbishop Grigoli praised the initiative to hold the first South Caucasus Youth peace Summer School and congratulated participants for their contribution to the work of the School.
dennis2020 Wed, 08/23/2023 - 16:41