AEGEE Oldies Explore Caucasus

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The spectacular Tatev Monastery in Souther Armenia was built in the 9th century.

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 Tat­ev Monastery in Arme­nia was built in the 9th cen­tu­ry.

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.

AEGEE-Tbil­isi pick­ing grapes. Geor­gia is the cra­dle of wine.

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)

Novarank

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)
Club/pub

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

Wednes­day, 17th of Octo­ber    
Depar­ture