CCPNTCRM was founded in December 1999 and registered as an NGO in 2001. Its activities are focused on the six countries of the wider Caucasian region: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey and Iran. The Center has been examining the principal causes of the conflicts in the Caucasus and seeks to find ways to prevent them. It has advanced its mission through (a) regional integration and peace-building initiatives and (b) regional economic cooperation (business and conflict) initiatives.
CCPNTCRM was one of the organisers of the 2002 Mayors of the Region project, which saw mayors from Turkey (Kars, Erzurum, Igdir and Artvin), Armenia (Gyumri, Vanadzor, Ijevan and Artik) Azerbaijan (Gyanja, Aghstava and Ghazakh) and Georgia (Ninotsminda, Akhakalaki, Akhaltsekha and Marneuli) attend meetings, discussions and training seminars in Kars and Gyumri.
In 2007 the Center's representatives participated in the Kars Forum, showcasing cheese and fish from Armenia (Gyumri). CCPNTCRM later implemented a project called "Caucasian Cheese", organising a cheese exhibition in Gyumri in May 2008. The fair was attended by cheese producers from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia and Georgia. The Caucasian Cheese, produced in Kars and Gyumri, is sold in limited quantities in Turkey (Kars), Georgia (Tbilisi, Javakheti) and Armenia (Gyumri, Yerevan).
Artyush Mkrtchyan (in the photo with the "Peace Cheese" producers), formerly an adviser to the Prime Minister of Armenia and since 1999 the Executive Director of CCPNTCRM, has been actively involved in promoting reconciliation and normalisation with Turkey. Mkrtchyan studied at the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute, the Gyumri branch of the Yerevan Economics Institute and attended the Tbilisi Arts Academy. In the 1980s and early 1990s he worked in the industrial sector. In 1994 he co-founded the Style Arts Museum, Armenia's first private fine arts museum. In 1999 he became Executive Director of the Gyumri Development Foundation.
Mkrtchyan has published articles on conflict resolution and conflict prevention. He has also participated in many bilateral projects with Turkey, including businessmen's forums, journalist exchanges, student visits, and the joint cheese production initiative.
CCPNTCRM has organised (or participated in) the following Armenia-Turkey related initiatives:
- December 2001 - November 2002: "Virtual Agricultural Wholesale Market and Fair" sponsored by American University, Center for Global Peace
- March - May 2003: "Peace at home, peace in the world" training sessions for teachers and schoolchildren in Gyumri, sponsored by the US Embassy
- September 2003 - December 2003: "Friendly Caucasus 1" training for Armenian, Turkish, Azeri journalists, sponsored by ICCO-Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation
- May - December 2004: "Friendly Caucasus 2" training for Armenian, Turkish, Azeri and Georgian journalists and NGO leaders, sponsored by the Council of Europe's Confidence Building Measures programmeme
- 2004: "Caucasus Business Directory", sponsored by American University - Center for Global Peace
- 2007: Business Forum, Kars
- 2007: "We are in the Same Boat", European Youth Foundation, study camp for Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish disabled young people from orphanages
- 2008: European Youth Foundation, Contact Making and Information seminars for Armenian and Turkish Youth Leaders and Youth Workers
- 2008-2009: Caucasian Cheese, US Embassy in Armenia, International Alert
- 2008: Caucasian Cheese presentations in Yerevan, Tbilisi, Gyumri, Kars, King's College London (Caucasus Business and Development Network), European Security Institute (CBDN), various European embassies in Ankara (CBDN)
- 2009-2010: Caucasian Bouquet of Wines, US Embassy in Yerevan, International Alert
- 2010: "Cheese Diplomacy", enlarging public dialogue and cooperation space in the Caucasian region with new players in the peace process, Black Seat Trust
See the 22 May 2008 article on the Caucasian Cheese ("Cheese and Politics") in The Economist
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