The ‘‘Tale’’ of Multiple Identities: A Way Forward

My name is Rebecca and I am Ukrainian by birth, Armenian by nationality,Polish and French by studies. I have also worked with forward-looking organizations in Armenia – Youth Initiative Centre, Barcelona – FundacioCatalunyaVoluntaria and in The Hague – United Network of Young Peacebuilders. Thus, it becomes obvious that my mind-set and life philosophy have been predominantly shaped outside the conventional mentality of Armenian society and my understanding of contemporary societal cultures have embraced more universal values.

I am an advocate for peace and youth empowerment because I believe the youth has a potential to live up to them expectations and contribute to building a just and peaceful world. In 2015, in pursuit of my aspirations and by overcoming bureaucracy challenges, I have embarked on a voluntary service experience at FundacioCatalunyaVoluntaria in the project – ‘’Voices for Peace’’. The voluntary project was both enriching and challenging and the times when I was encouraged to push my limits have paved a unique professional path for me.

One month before the end of my voluntary service, I have received a positive response from a bilingual prestigious study institution – College of Europe based in Warsaw to pursue postgraduate European studies for one year with a fully covered scholarship. I remember celebrating my ‘’small victory’’ with an ultimate joy and affirmation. Life is wonderful.

Upon successful graduation from the College of Europe, I was reluctant to go back in Armenia as my ‘’inner voice’’ was calling for another challenge and experience. In the middle of July, 2017 I have suddenly received a call from the Council of Europe – an international intergovernmental organization with the seat in Strasbourg, informing me about the offer of professional traineeship placement. That was another dream of mine – to work in the field of diplomacy and international relations because diplomacy has always been my ‘’passion’’ as well as it encompasses the idea of peace and negotiations as the main means designated to resolve disagreements and conflicts.

A 5-month traineeship allowed me to establish connections and contacts and learn about the possibility of completing the cycle of my MA studies at Sciences Po – Institute of Political Studies. In the time of writing this piece, I am experiencing the student life in Strasbourg, France.

In addition, with the support I have given in Armenia and Spain, I have applied for the International Steering Group Representative for Europe at the global network of young peacebuilding organizations (based in The Hague and United Network of Young Peacebuilders) and I have been elected for the position for the upcoming two years. Therefore, I am even happier to have a chance to push the youth and peace agenda forward while reaching out to young people and engaging important stakeholders in important conversations.

In the end, I believe this would have not been possible if I did not meet wonderful people on my way, if I did not receive their support and guidance, if they did not make me belief in my own power and dreams. This would not have been possible if I did not acknowledge and celebrate the multiple identities, the universal values and principles that are in and around me.