In the early 1990s Armenians and Azerbaijanis fought a bitter war over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh. Since the war ended in 1994, ordinary people on both sides have had virtually no contact and a whole generation has grown up knowing almost nothing about each other.
Internews Armenia is part of the Dialogue Through Film initiative, which aims to give young people in Azerbaijan and Nagorny Karabakh a chance to talk directly to each other by helping them make short films about their lives.
As well as learning about film-making, the 20 young people involved so far have also been learning crucial lessons about each other. Conciliation Resources supports Nouneh Sarkissian to train and mentor participants – both to produce the films, and to facilitate at community screenings in Armenia.
I absolutely believe that freedom of information for any society is a crucial thing.
In my particular situation, this is what I am trying to work for. Because this is the society where my daughter is growing up, and I want her and her friends to live in a free country. I think this project is very important because it has so many layers.
First of all it gives people the opportunity to talk with each other and engage across the divide. It also gives them the opportunity to do creative work and learn what the media is... and then they create the product, which becomes public. So they are actually able to distribute their views to a wider audience.
Together with Conciliation Resources, we [at Internews] are trying to find some solutions. I really value this relationship and the attitude Conciliation Resources has on the ground - being next to us and working alongside us, no above.
Nouneh Sarkissian, Journalist and Mentor