On Sunday, March 27, 2011, I met with Bella, Nino, Nugzar, Timur and Khaso, a bunch of young Caucasians from both the North and the South, in a café on Rustaveli Avenue, the main avenue in Tbilisi. In 2009, they created the “International Union of Young Caucasians”. Two years later, they are still motivated enough to meet on Sundays and discuss the future evolution of their activities.
On March 27, 2011, the creation of a website for the “International Union of Young Caucasians” was the main topic on the agenda of the meeting of Bella, Nino, Nugzar, Timur and Khaso, with the aim of increasing the visibility of their Union.
The “International Union of Young Caucasians” is a youth initiative which gathers some 30 young members of 15 different Caucasian nationalities, among whom 10 are particularly active. The Union was created in 2009 with the support of Mamuka Areshidze, expert in Caucasus questions. Back then, they set for themselves and their Union the mission to organize cultural and sport activities bringing Caucasian youth together, as well as solidarity actions for specific events they would feel concerned about.
The Union aims at sharing a vision of Caucasus that goes beyond the conflicts between nationalities or religious groups, and representing a new Pan-Caucasian generation which longs for more information, more contacts and more exchanges between Caucasian nations. Nationals or bi-nationals from Georgia, Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, Chechnya, North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkarya, the youth I met on this very Sunday embody very well the spirit of this new generation.
Among various projects, they particularly care about the organization of a Caucasian Football Cup, to which 12 nations of Caucasus took part in its first edition in 2009. The Union is planning to organize a similar event in 2011 – this time, the well-known Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) already expressed interest in co-organizing the Cup.
Also, the 1st edition of a Pan-Caucasian cultural festival of folk music, dance and craft should be organized this year in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia, where an ethnic group of Chechen roots called “Qist” makes up the majority of the population and where Chechen refugees have settled. The idea behind the choice of Pankisi Gorge is to show that the region is nothing as negative as what the general opinion has in mind, and that friendship between peoples is possible.
Many, many thanks to Bella, Nino, Nugzar, Timur and Khaso for inviting me to their meeting and explaining what their vision and plans are –
Photo: (from left to right) Khaso, Nugzar, Bella, Nino and Timur in a café on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi on March 27, 2011.