Building a strong civil society in South Ossetia
In 2013 we started working with students in South Ossetia to develop their skills in problem analysis and critical thinking. A whole generation in South Ossetia has grown up surrounded by conflict and without the advantages enjoyed by their parents, or those educational and social advantages experienced by their neighbours in other parts of the Caucasus. By working with young people, we hope to prepare the future leaders of these divided societies to compromise and understand the importance of dialogue in conflict. We have conducted a series of discussions with South Ossetian students studying in Moscow, and held a seminar in overcoming societal trauma with 18 university students of different disciplines. The students we supported now feel more confident about how to tackle the problems South Ossetia faces and are motivated to make a positive contribution to their societies. We plan to follow up this work by providing skills development in areas such as analytical writing, debating and project cycle management. We also hope to provide opportunities for ‘learning through doing’, by supporting community-based initiatives that give youth confidence and vision to continue to build a strong civil society in South Ossetia.