TURKISH-ARMENIAN YOUTH DIALOGUE (TAYD)

HasNa Inc. and Youth Empowerment and Sustainability (YES) are partnering to launch an annual summer program in the United States which will focus on fostering trust and understanding through interactions between Turkish and Armenian Youth. Turkish-Armenian Youth Dialogue (TAYD) will bring Turkish and Armenian teenagers together in Washington D.C. each summer and encourage dialogue and long-term friendship between them.

 

Currently, the border between Turkey and Armenia is closed. Despite the political relations at the governmental level, Armenian and Turkish people share great number of similarities and have a lot to gain socially, economically and culturally from closer ties. The ultimate goal of TAYD is reconciliation and peacebuilding between the two countries over time through the understanding and friendship established among the Turkish and Armenian youth. As friends and future professionals, the youth represents the future of Armenian-Turkish relations. Currently, there is no existing annual program that facilitates dialogue and cooperation between Turkish and Armenian youth. TAYD aims to fill this vacuum and start an annual program for Turkish and Armenian teenagers in the United States. Our theory of change is that by bringing two ethnically divided communities in close contact with one another and facilitating dialogue, we will be able to help them understand one another better and in this way, gradually build an entire generation of Turks and Armenians who have chosen peace and friendship over conflict.

About the Partners

TAYD is a partnership between HasNa Inc. and Youth Empowerment and Sustainability (YES). TAYD is not affiliated with any governmental, political, or religious organization. It takes no political position about the relations between Armenian and Turkish governments. Rather, TAYD is based on the belief that, no matter what, the future of Armenia-Turkey relations will benefit from increased trust, understanding, and friendship between Armenian and Turkish youth.

The mission of HasNa Inc. (established in 1998) is to promote cross-cultural understanding and economic empowerment in culturally divided areas of the world and to encourage individuals and communities in such areas to work together toward advancement and peaceful coexistence.

YES is a non-governmental organization founded in Yerevan, Armenia in August 2015. The mission of YES is to empower young people by sharing relevant professional experience with them, to inspire them to bring the changes they want to see in their communities and in the world, and to support young people in their personal development by providing them with a chance to improve their education, skills and knowledge in various aspects of life.

About the Program

The goal of this three-week summer program is to promote friendship and understanding through interaction and to develop leadership skills of teenagers. Turkish and Armenian teenagers will begin to discover what they have in common and learn to communicate and cooperate as they move together through their time in the United States.

 

HasNa and YES will select 10 teenagers from each country through an application process and will pair one Turkish teenager with one Armenian teenager who will then be hosted by a neutral American family in the D.C. area for three weeks in summer 2017. HasNa and YES will cover the travel expenses of the teenagers and the participants will be hosted by families in the U.S for free. During the three week program, teenagers will participate in peacebuilding workshops and activities but they will also take part in social events which will bring them closer.

 

The first Turkish-Armenian Youth Dialogue will be held between June 25 and July 17, 2017. There will be 10 participants selected from both Armenia and Turkey for summer 2017. TAYD program coordinators will select the participants in an open and fair process which includes an online application followed by interviews via Skype. Turkish and Armenian teenagers can download the online application form posted on the websites of HasNa and YES and email the completed form to TAYD coordinators until 2 December 2016. After this deadline, TAYD coordinators will shortlist the candidates who will be contacted for interviews in January 2017. The finalists will be selected by early February 2017 when the interviews with all shortlisted candidates are completed.

 

After being selected for the program in early February, the participants will spend spring 2017 learning about each other as individuals through structured orientation meetings as well as via TAYD Facebook page. During spring, they will partner with someone from the other country and become a formal “pair.” In June, the teenagers will arrive in the U.S. and each pair will live together with an American host family for three weeks. TAYD host families will be based in the Washington D.C. area. Host family eligibility is based upon the following three criteria:

  • a politically neutral home (no affiliation with Turkey or Armenia)
  • a safe home with appropriate adult supervision
  • a bedroom for the teens to share

Integral to the program is the bonding which occurs as the teens live with a neutral, loving American family who provides a room for them to share and welcome them into their lives. While living with their host families, Turkish and Armenian teenagers will get together for the following group activities: communication and conflict resolution trainings, team-building activities, leadership skills, social media training and workshops on different themes based on the teenagers’ interests such as environmental awareness, community service and volunteerism. In addition, the participants will gather for social activities, which will include their host families as well as American teenagers. They will also explore Washington DC and visit its numerous landmarks and museums throughout the program. While living with their host families, the teenagers will have a chance to learn about American culture and history and to improve their knowledge of English language.
 
Prospective applicants for TAYD should read the selection criteria carefully.

Selection Criteria

Candidates must:

  • Demonstrate satisfactory written and spoken English language skills
  • Be 16 or 17 years of age during the program implementation period (no exceptions will be made)
  • Have a valid international passport for travel
  • Be able to cover the U.S. visa application fee
  • Have international health insurance for the duration of stay in the U.S.
  • Be able to provide officially notarized Parents’ Permission for international travel
  • Be open to new ideas and able to work with peers from other countries
  • Be able to live and work in multicultural environments
  • Commit to improving relations between Turkish and Armenian communities
  • Be able to fully participate in all program activities, including travel
  • Be team-oriented and able to work collaboratively
  • Have concrete ideas on how to use the skills gained during the summer program in the future

 

HasNa and YES will purchase roundtrip airfare for program participants. Accommodation during the program will be provided by host families. Participants will have breakfast and dinner at their host family’s house. Training costs will also be covered by HasNa and YES.

As mentioned in the selection criteria, participants will cover the U.S. visa application fee and will be expected to have international health insurance. Aside from these expenses, participants are also responsible for purchasing lunches during the program and paying for public transportation when necessary. On most days, participants will be dropped off and picked up by host families. However, the group will use public transportation under the supervision of group leaders and trainers on some weekdays. Since HasNa and YES will not pay for participants’ lunches and public transportation expenses, participants should bring some pocket money with them to cover these expenses. We estimate these expenses to be a maximum of $40 per day. Therefore, we recommend that participants bring approximately $750 with them for these expenses. Aside from lunch and public transportation costs, all other expenses relating to the program will be covered by HasNa, YES and the host families.

 

Deadline for Application

All applications must be sent no later than Friday, 2 December 2016. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview in January 2017. Finalists will be notified of their acceptance by early February 2017.

Please make sure you have carefully read TAYD program information before you complete the application. The application form must be completed by the applicant and his/her parents/legal guardians.

 

You can download the application form to your computer. Please fill out the application form and save it as a Microsoft Word document. Once completed, the application form (in Microsoft Word) must be emailed to tayd@hasna.org no later than 2 December 2016, Friday. Early submissions will be greatly appreciated. Please write “TAYD Application” in the subject line of your email. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.

For any questions please contact: tayd@hasna.org.

Information for Host Families

TAYD needs host families for three weeks between 25 June and 17 July, 2017. Requirements are a bedroom for either two boys or two girls to share and an adult who is at home during the day to bring them to activities and welcome them into the life of your family. Also, host families must be politically neutral. In other words, host families cannot be Armenian-American or Turkish-American families. Finally, host families should reside in greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Contact tayd@hasna.org if you are interested in hosting.