Kelbajar © Onnik Krikorian 1999

Kelbajar © Onnik Krikorian 1999

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war in the early 1990s over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. An autonomous oblast in the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian majority called for unification with Armenia as the USSR collapsed at the end of the 1980s ushering in years of ethnic strife and conflict. Around 25,000 were killed and a million forced to flee their homes. Since a 1994 ceasefire agreement, however, lasting peace remains elusive.

Conflict Voices, aiming to encourage and facilitate communication and cooperation between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, was created by Onnik James Krikorian, a journalist, photojournalist and new media consultant from the United Kingdom based in the South Caucasus for 15 years. He first visited the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh as a reporter in 1994 and assisted Thomas de Waal in the research for Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War.

To date, as testimony to its voluntary and grassroots format, Conflict Voices has been covered by The Economist, CNN, BBC Azerbaijan, Transitions Online, Radio Free Europe, and others. It has also been presented at international conferences and seminars worldwide, including those organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and the U.S. State Department. It has also been used as the basis for new media trainings and conflict-sensitive reporting workshops by Krikorian which have since expanded to include participants from Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

          Magazine Articles

          Nagorno-Karabakh Dispute Takes to Cyber Space, EurasiaNet, February 2007
          A Web of Peace, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, November 2009
          Facebook Diary, BBC Azerbaijan, March 2010
          Social media in Armenia-Azerbaijan Peacebuilding, SGI Quarterly, April 2011
          Social Media in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, April 2013
          Elva: Crowd Sourcing Conflict in the South Caucasus, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, May 2013

          Journal Publications

          Preparing for peace: Communications in Conflict Resolution, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Vienna, Austria, December 2012

          Consultancy and Training

          National Film Board of Canada, Montreal, Canada
          Free Press Unlimited, Amsterdam, Netherlands
          International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN), Tbilisi, Georgia
          Model Caucasus Parliament, Yerevan, Armenia
          Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
          Hrant Dink Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey

          Conference Speaker

          Social Media for Social Change, Tbilisi, Georgia, April 2010
          Evaluating the Impact of New Media on Conflict, United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Washington DC, United States of America
          New media — New Opportunities of Communication In the Region, Yerevan, Armenia, May 2011
          OSCE Talks: Preparing for Peace: Communications in Conflict Resolution, Dublin, Ireland, October 2012
          Evaluating Methods to Combat Violent Extremism Online, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 2013

          Expert Working Groups

          Evaluating the Impact of New Media on Conflict, United States Institute for Peace (USIP) Center of Innovation for Science, Technology and Peacebuilding and George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, Washington DC, United States of America, July 2010

Conflict Voices is at http://www.conflict-voices.net.