Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Armenian Atlantic Youth Association: Continued Engagement after Bucharest

By Shakeh Badalyan, Head of the Armenian Youth Atlantic Association

At the Young Atlanticist Summit in Bucharest this year, two of the YATA participants were from the Armenian Youth Atlantic Association (AYAA). Just after their arrival back to Armenia, the AYAA board decided to organize a one-day event that would be devoted to the Bucharest Summit entitled “Bucharest NATO Summit: New Enlargement, New Challenges, New Opportunities”. The event took place on April 22, 2008 with the financial support of the US Embassy in Armenia. The event targeted mostly young people, who are the most dynamic part of society. They usually are not limited within historical, traditional, ethnical and other restrictions, which means that young people are more flexible for creating a free space for communication. The workshop hosted more than 40 students and young leaders from different NGOs. During the workshop, the participants expressed their opinions and heard from others on important issues such as regional identification, NATO’s roles in international affairs, NATO’s new enlargement and development, and the challenges it faces today. Some representatives from the Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries were invited as speakers. They particularly provided information to the youth on the activities that the Armenian government has already done within the IPAP, especially concerning the reforms done in the framework of civilianization process. The speakers from Armenian Youth Atlantic Association, who had already participated in the Young Atlanticist Summit, presented the main issues and topics discussed in the Summit, and during the second session they provided detailed information on the Young Atlanticist Summit and the Bucharest Summit in general.

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