Besides all the joy and sharing and information received this was also an interesting quick research on how much interest do Armenian people have in uniting their efforts to achieve things together. Most of the participants expressed interest in collaborating in different projects that they got to know on the spot or they heard earlier but didn’t have a chance to get connected to.
@Arsen Gabrielyan, Norayr Ghubasaryan and Armen Nersisyan from Garni community near Yerevan were participating to such a networking meeting for the first time and in the beginning had quite many questions about it’s aims and essence, but at the end, regardless the language barrier, they found their specific interests and explored several tools (like twitter and related online tools) that they were not familiar to, never used before. From the first glance - their style, way of communicating and strategies are quite different from those who are active in international networking and collaborative online platforms. Local villagers are more used to traditional mentality and ways of solving things. But at the same time the essence of their work, their intentions go in tact with for example #unMonastery because they also want to create an independent community with self-sustainable lifestyle that can help everyone living in the community to explore the alternative environmental lifestyle, to prepare for living in a post capitalist reality whenever it happens. They have a few resources at the moment that can be considered as a potential start for an eco-community, including a house they just bought in a wonderful place near Garni, but the main resource is people and they were very happy to see how many of the participants had similar ideas, aims, dreams. All of them have Facebook accounts but only Arsen is connected to Edgeryders so far. Perhaps Norayr and Armen will also join soon, but the main idea is that they got connected to real people at the workshop and now they will have the freedom to chose which medium they like the most for collaborating.
@Arpine who represented the IDHR (Institute for Democracy and Human Rights), got very inspired by the idea of establishing unMonastery in Armenia. There is a potential to explore here. Arpine and I will meet soon to discuss the possibilities of establishing unMonastery in Armenia, and maybe even some details, hopefully with Arsen Norayr and Armen present.
Janna Barseghyan, a worker at UNDP, is interested in migration issues in Armenia and seemed to find new topics that she can explore in the frame of her research on migration.
@Lili Khurshudyan, that also works at UNDP in Armenia and worked at IPSC - Institute for Political and Sociological Consulting, expressed a number of concerns about the way Armenian society functions, about the way people interact, especially the fact that people often do not want to help each other when it comes to building something, they compete in not the best healthy way of competing, they try to achieve things on the cost of each other’s comfort etc. This topic then grew into a discussion about how men and women are involved in society, how equal or unequal their roles are or should be, etc. Lilit is concerned about Armenia being so mono-cultural and conservative.
Arpine Galfayan from IDHR told about her work in which her team tries to help to raise self-esteem in people, organizing psychological sessions, working together on something, making crafts, soap, candles, teaching house work skills to people. They support orphans to get involved in business, first by teaching them to make things, then assigning specialists to help them to market / sell their own stuff. Arpine also mentioned about the projects aimed at reclaiming the public spaces, encouraging women to express themselves in public spaces etc.
Alessandro - the Italian expat living in Armenia and exploring the freelancing lifestyle told he was working hard to become unemployed he told that when he started to de-touch from the working routine everybody was telling him he is crazy that he is quitting his job and that he is looking for another job. He is now teaching robotics to kids in Yerevan, at Tumo center. As part of his philosophy of employment he wants to know who is the person he is going to work with? He puts emphasis on the individual, that it’s a person first of all, then a worker / co-worker. He is not just a bunch of skills. Alessandro wants, in the long run, to see the job market changing, this is his motivation. Even the concept of startup may be seen in a new light, in a new form, such as, maybe, unSrartup:) He wants to build something to help him sustain his family, without having to compromise on his philosophy. He mentioned the crazy.com at some point, needs to be explored more.
@email@example.com Nane Bagratuni - a freelance journalist that worked at Naregatsi Art Institute and International Center for Intercultural Research, Learning and Dialogue, has an experience of movie making and is interested to make some new short documentaries about people or projects some of which she got to know at the Spot The Future workshop days. She found co-thinkers who are also into movie making (Janna Barseghyan and some others) and is now planning to meet soon for planning the next steps.
Anna Meliksetyan - works as Project Manager/Coordinator at Armenian Progressive Youth and is the Founder of Carpool Armenia Facebook group, has participated very actively in the fight against raising the prices of public transport of Armenia, printed flyers and leaflets, distributed them to her friends and networks, organized the campaign and all of that was done independently from any organization or grant project. Now she is interested to structure the Carpool Armenia initiative a bit, to stimulate it stay active even when there is no concrete protest needed or happening. She would like to make it a permanent carpooling / car-sharing event that people can use every day and benefit from it every day.
@amusheghyan Anahit Musheghyan - really amazed by the idea of unMonastery and would like to create one in Armenia. So, for now we have at least Anahit Musheghyan, Arpine Galfayan, Arsen gabrielyan, Norayr Ghubasaryan, Armen Nersisyan and me Vahagn Vardumyan in this idea of creating unMonastery in Armenia. There were other posts on Edgeryders already mentioning the names of some other people who may be interested in this, so I guess this is to be discussed in a special topic here on the Edgeryders platform. Anahit also got in involved in Alexandro’s project concerning the choice of right work among young people.
@georgikamoyan Georgi - Works at Be2, worked at Synergy International Systems and Synergy, is interested in building online platforms for people to interact peer-to-peer and help / collaborate with each other directly. He is also very interested in stimulating healthy lifestyle in Armenia by organizing online and offline events to share knowledge and skills, to organize local initiatives that will ensure the continuous flow of the knowledge and will help to change mindsets in Armenian society.
Sona from carpool initiative expressed a wish to write an article about carpool but is still not registered on Edgeryders, she may do it soon.
Eric - pilot working for a number of Airlines in Armenia, ethnically Ukrainian, lived in France and is already 5 years living in Armenia. Totally integrated and speaks Armenian and Russian perfectly, is motivated to help people to dream and to teach them to fly, but is challenged by the local business reality which doesn’t allow / support him anyhow to realize the idea of establishing a Sky School here. He would like to teach his knowledge of flying by using a special software and set of hardware (up to a real cabin of an airplane, tuned as an educational machine, real size, real functionality, with virtual screens instead of sky) somewhere where he gets a space and some support team. he is also an engineer and cyclist, can make many things for cyclists to make cycling more entertaining and to help advertise it among wider public in Armenia.
Lilit Midoyan - Volunteering at Armenian Progressive Youth, Coordinador at Prim foundation and Volunteering at AIESEC in Armenia - represented the Save Teghut Forest civic movement as a member, now she will become the responsible for connections with public for this movement. She is interested in human rights defense and is a volunteer at World Vision Armenia, wishes to see the lives of children now in a better light so she gets involved in their life and helps as a volunteer. Lilit aims to activate the youth so she volunteers in APY and AISEC Armenia. Karen Harutyunyan - Studied at Yerevan State University of Architecture and Construction, currently actively involved in DEM EM (dem.am) movement against the obligatory social tax process and is aiming to connect to wider networks for exploring more online social and activist tools in order to maximize the effect of the local activist actions.
@Andranik Atoyan Andranik Atovets - a local master of Yoga, WuShu, teacher of Gyurjiev dances and organizer of eco-trips to nature with outdoor saunas, yoga trainings and related activities. He is enthusiastic to share his time and knowledge with the Edgeryders on local and international levels. He believes in a big change that starts in a small scale, in us.