From 6th till 17th October 2012 more that 30 AEGEE oldies will explore Armenia, Georgia and Nagorno Karabagh. This Summer University Caucasus is the result of a unique cooperation between AEGEE-Tbilisi, AEGEE-Yerevan and the alumni association Les Anciens d’AEGEE. The participants and organisers will report about this event in a special section of AEGEE history and news portal Golden Times.

The concept of this event was created by former Les Anciens coordinator Gunnar Erth in May. “I was looking for a great theme and location for a Summer University for oldies”, he recalls. “It should not just be just beach and fun, but an event of high cultural value, a trip for explorers – for some of the most active members AEGEE ever had.” The students organisation took a special interest in the Caucasus region at several occasions in the past decade. The greatest highlight was surely a Case Study Trip, organised by former CD member Aliki Louvrou in August 2003. 14 students had the chance to explore all three countries of that region over a duration of three weeks – among them Natalie Kolbe and Tomek Helbin, who will join this year’s event, too.

Aliki Louvrou described this trip in 2003 as a unique, revealing experience. “We were stunned by the mentality of the people, where hospitality knows no limits, by the breathtaking landscapes, still undiscovered by mass tourism, by the obstacles and problems that young people face there, but still never giving up; the Caucasus may seem quite a far away region, but it has a European conscience and soul, strong, especially among young people, who read the same books, listen to the same music, have the same dilemmas and problems like any other European young person” (click here for more info about that trip).

Ani and Mariam, main organisers of the Georgia part.

Unfortunately this year’s Caucasus event cannot cover all three countries. “We would have loved to go to Baku in Azerbaijan, too”, says Gunnar Erth. “Unfortunately we don’t have three weeks at our disposal, since almost all of our participants are working already.” Still, there is time enough to spend nearly a week in Armenia, four days in Georgia and two days in the land-locked region of Nagorno-Karabagh. The complete programme is organised by AEGEE-Yerevan and AEGEE-Tbilisi. It’s the first time that Les Anciens is cooperating with two local AEGEE branches. “We could never do it without the great two AEGEE antennae”, says Gunnar.

AEGEE-Yerevan is one of the most active antennae in AEGEE.

Both AEGEE antennae are looking very much forward to this event. “AEGEE-Yerevan and all our team are very excited to welcome the AEGEE oldies!!It is our pleasure to show our country to the most experienced members of our lovely association!”, says Shushan Khachatryan, founder of AEGEE-Yerevan. Shushan started to plan the Armenian part of the event, but cannot be there, since she left for the Netherlands to pursue an MBA. The coordination in Yerevan is done now by Meri Dallakyan. Shushan: “We selected all our favorite excursions, but in particular I like Noravank and Tatev Monasteries – you have some mystery there, you’ll see”. Also in AEGEE-Tbilisi the enthusiasm is great. While the focus in Armenia is about history and culture, the participants will have the opportunity in Georgia not only to get to know the country, but also to use their hands: they will pick grapes. “Georgia is the cradle of wine, so of course this plays an important role in the programme”, underline Mariam Mskhalaia and Ani Zakareishvili, main organisers of the Georgia part of the event. They add: “We hope to create some magical memories.”

These are the programme highlights:

Saturday, 6th of October
Arrivals, Registration
Official Opening Ceremony, Armenian national evening/national cuisine (dinner)


Sunday, 7th of October
Yerevan City tour
National Gallery of Armenia, Museum of History
History of Armenia Presentation
Evening in a pub

Monday, 8th of October
Tour to Garni ancient temple, Geghard Monastory carved in the mountain
Continue to Sevan lake, Sevanavank Monastery and Noradus

Tuesday, 9th of October
Visit to Tsitsernakaberd (Armenian Genocide Memorial)
Armenian-Turkish Conflict presentation

Wednesday, 10th of October
Tour to Khor Virap and Noravank Monasteries
Continue to Shushi and Stepanakert (Nagorno Karabagh)

Thursday, 11th of October
Trip from Stepanakert to Gandzasar, Askeran, Amaras and back to Stepanakert

Friday, 12th of October
Departure from Stepanakert
Trip to Khndzoresk – Tatev – Yerevan

Saturday, 13th of October
Closing Ceremony
Departure to Tbilisi/Arrival in Tbilisi

Sunday, 14th of October    
Opening Ceremony Tbilisi
City Tour +Museums
Visiting wine factory + wine degustation
Social evening

Monday, 15th of October    
Programme in Tbilisi
Vintage in Kakheti (participants will help local people in picking grapes )
Local traditional evening with making Churchkhela (sweets made from grapes’ juice and nuts)

Tuesday, 16th of October    
Departure from Tbilisi
Visiting Mtkheta, Gori, Uplistikhe
Georgian national evening

Wednesday, 17th of October