The Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD), was founded in 2004. Through provision of technical advisory services, working with civil society institutions and community mobilization, its stated mission is to promote democratic transition of Armenia. The UFSD is the spin-off of the Urban Institute (Washington D.C.) team that successfully implemented a multimillion USAID funded Earthquake Zone Recovery Project in 1999-2004.
Its Main Activity Directions are:
- Democratic transition and Human rights
- Cross-border peace and regional integration
- Housing and infrastructure
The UFSD partners with organizations such as VNG International, Habitat for Humanity Armenia, Helsinki Committee, Internews; Network of local NGOs, local self-governance bodies, local media, Communities Association of Armenia
Armenian-Turkish Dialogue projects in the frame of a cross-border peace building projects
In cooperation with its Turkish partner, the Marmara Educators Association, and with the support of Eurasia Partnership Foundation, UFSD organized the "Armenian-Turkish Dialogue in the light of European integration; vision of youth" project between September 2007 and February 2008. The project partners conducted Vox Populi in Armenia and Turkey to reflect on the wider public opinion in the two countries with respect to the European integration processes and the prospects of improving the Armenia-Turkey dialogue and cooperation. A 20 minute long film was shot accordingly in which the interviewer approached people randomly in the street and asked about their opinions on various aspects of Turkish Armenian relations. This was followed by a round table discussion in Istanbul between 5 Armenian and 5 Turkish youth. A TV talk show was presented in Armenia (recorded and then shown on Vanadzor local TV) hosting 2 political scientists from each country. (Salim Kocabaş, Cafer Ulu, Shushan Khatlamajyan, Avetik Ishkhanyan). The project assessed the validity of the assumption that at some point the European aspirations of both Turkey and Armenia will diminish the historical and political differences between the two countries. In addition, the project explored the willingness and capacity of the younger generation to play a significant role in this process.
Between September 2009 - December 2009 UFSD implemented a project entitled "Armenian-Turkish Dialogue : European integration & Gender Issues," supported by the British Embassy in Armenia. The project promoted dialogue between Armenian and Turkish women on various issues of European integration, value system, and gender issues. UFSD's partners in this project were Marmara Educators' Association of Turkey and the Journalists and Writers Foundation. Organizations produced video vox-pops in the two capitals asking the passers-by to explain how they perceive the current and future relations of the two neighbors. Subsequently, a workshop was held on the perceptions of ordinary citizens of the two countries towards each other.
Since 2009 UFSD has been an Associate Member of the Middle East Strategic Research Center at Zirve University, Turkey.
The UFSD published a book titled "The attempt to dialogue: the reality" available in Armenian and Turkish.
- Armenian version: http://www.urbanfoundation.am/upload/Arm-Turkish%20dialogue-youth-broshure.arm.doc
- Turkish version: http://www.urbanfoundation.am/upload/Arm-Turkish%20dialogue-youth-broshure.tur.doc
Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD)