Since its inception in 2012 and with two cohorts (2012-2014, 2014-2019) of participants that passed through it, the Roots Peace Work Institute (PWI) sought to enroll young leaders of different backgrounds from across Europe, young people who were and are a voice and not an echo – eager to learn, to try, to grow… Like raw diamonds to shine after the grind.
And we believe that most of these 46 Alumni managed to develop both personally and professionally as they journeyed through PWI.
Today we share with you the story of Marina Babayan, a talented activist from Spitak, Armenia.
Marina graduated from the Brusov Linguistic University with a degree in linguistics. Today she works in Timeless online store as a senior consultant.
Prior to the program, she had never been involved in peacebuilding projects. However, she participated in many events organized by Spitak YMCA. It was an interesting place for her to learn because there are not so many youth events in the regions of Armenia. Her local YMCA is doing a great job in providing youngsters with relevant and entertaining programs.
Having learnt about the Roots and Peacework Institute at Spitak YMCA, Marina decided to apply to join the PWI family. Then in her turn she advised many people to participate in the program – because the program had a very positive impact on her development.
According to Marina, her worldview and way of thinking has changed, many stereotypes have remained in the past and she has become more patient and tolerant towards the close ones and the world.
“For me, the most powerful achievement of Roots is people. In my opinion, Roots is all about that. I have made friends with whom we are still in very close relations, we are part of each other’s lives. I had countless unforgettable moments. There are even very small details that will be etched in my memory forever.
If I had to single one out, I would choose this one: once we were in Camp Orange in Georgia, where the participants from conflicting countries organized a Playback Theater. Through the theater, we talked about the war and the consequences it had on people – about how those on both sides of the conflict feel the same and blame each other the same way and for the same things. It was a very strong moment.
Roots played a big role in the fact that I already look at someone as a person and not as a representative of any nation. All the time there as we talked, discussed, rehearsed and performed – I kept thinking: what prevents us from being so peaceful? And I still could not find the answer,” says Marina.
Marina still participates in events organized by Spitak YMCA and helps with organizational issues.
You can find more impressions of marina about her experience with the Peace Work Institute in the article below.
Since 2007 and ever growing, from the South to the North, from the East to the West of Europe – the Roots has always been there for those striving to make this world a better and safer place, a peaceful home for all. We go where the need is, responding quickly to the emerging issues with the legacy and mandate, capacity and adaptability gained for all these years.
By donating to the Roots, you invest in youth opinion leaders from all corners of Europe – varied by age, ethnicity, religion, race or wealth, but united with one strong conviction – Peace is the only way!