For more than a century, Armenians and Azerbaijanis have contested the Nagorno-Karabakh region considering it as the essential/important part of their statehood and even identity. In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this conflict turned into an all-out war. As a result, around 30.000 people died and millions more had to abandon their homes as the Azeri minority fled from Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, while Armenians had to flee from Azerbaijan.
Since the end of the war, Armenians control most of the area of Nagorno-Karabakh and have proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state, which has not been recognized by the international community. The ceasefire regime was violated numerous times on the line of contact; in 2014 and 2015, the number of casualties was the highest since the 1994 ceasefire.
Despite the occasional meetings between the heads of states, there is hardly any progress on rapprochement; and the representatives of the civil societies have very limited opportunities for contact/interaction.
The CANDID Foundation (Germany), Eurasia Partnership Foundation (Armenia) and the Humanitarian Research Public Union (Azerbaijan) aim at opening a civic and cultural dialogue between the people of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. With „Dreaming of a colorful Garden“, we brought together young professionals who wrote essays describing their ideas and visions of what life could be like in the region if there was a peace agreement in the near future. They came up with stories around possible social and economic developments, effects on the border villages and imagined how it might feel to visit the neighbouring country for the first time or to even return home after more than two decades. As a whole, these essays shall be a mosaic of positive visions for a shared future in the South Caucasus.