August 2008


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Headoffice AEGEE-Europe <[log in to unmask]>
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Headoffice AEGEE-Europe <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 13 Aug 2008 15:15:14 +0200
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AEGEE-Europe – The European Students’ Forum – has been observing the 
unfortunate events in the break away region of Georgia - South Ossetia 
which evolved in conflict between Georgia and Russia. Following our 
statement of principles, we believe that war and fighting are not a 
solution, we believe that dialogue and exchanges between nations are the 
way to understand each other and accept others and on a long term, 
avoiding conflicts.

We would like to show our compassion with the people being affected and 
prosecuted during such a conflict. We would like to encourage a dialogue 
for peace, to encourage political organizations as well as governments 
to open a social dialogue between the different states. We also 
encourage international NGOs and in particular Youth NGOs to foster a 
dialogue between young people in Europe and in particular in the 
Caucasian region. We believe that this dialogue and cultural and social 
exchanges are helping young people to overcome their prejudices, to open 
their mind and also to create friendships between people of different 
countries, different cultures or with different religious backgrounds.

We, young Europeans, members of AEGEE, have observed in the past 23 
years changes and are convinced that youth organisations and NGOs 
participate in a better understanding of the world and each other.

As an example, AEGEE-Europe organised in the recent years:

- a Case Study Trip to the Caucasus (Georgia and Azerbaijan) with young 
people from Russia as well as Western European countries in autumn 2006, 
shortly before the border was closed with Russia.

- an exchange between Russian and Georgian youth (together with French 
and German young people) in September 2007, even though the air lines 
were closed between Moscow and Tbilisi.

- a Case Study Trip in Brussels gathering young people from the Western 
European Countries, Eastern European countries as well as the Caucasian 
region in order to talk about European citizenship and the benefits of 
youth projects

These events were organised in order to overcome these differences and 
foster a dialogue between these countries. As results of these events, 
we have seen friendships between young people from nations who were 
fighting; we have seen people overcoming their prejudices and been able 
to have a critical judgment about their government or the news given in 
their countries.

Our share in a better world might be small steps but we believe that 
small steps still conduce to come closer to a big aim at the end of a 
long way. We encourage our members as well as other youth organizations 
and civil society to take action and encourage dialogue in this Region.

As Nelson Mandela said "One of our strongest weapons is dialogue" and we 
should use it!

(AEGEE is one of Europe's largest interdisciplinary and voluntary 
student associations, operating without being linked to any political 
party, promoting a unified Europe, cross-border cooperation, 
communication and integration in academic environment, and at the same 
time striving to create an open and tolerant society by involving 
students and young graduates in valuable projects and discussions over 
the topics of importance for the communities they live in. It is 
represented in 232 university cities, in 43 countries all around Europe 
and has about 15000 members. Further information can be found on

For more information:

Laure Onidi, President of AEGEE-Europe
Rue Nestor de Tière 15,
B-1030 Brussels
(tel)+32 2 245 2300
(fax) +32 2 245 6260
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