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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.

This project, aiming to encourage and facilitate communication and cooperation between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, was created by Onnik Krikorian, a journalist, photojournalist and blogger from the United Kingdom based in Yerevan, Armenia, for the past 12 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.

In addition to writing and photographing for the traditional media, as well as working with outlets such as the BBC, Al Jazeera English, National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal, he has been blogging since 2005 and for five years was the Caucasus regional editor for Global Voices Online. He has also blogged for the London-based Frontline Club while reporting on politics, conflict, human rights and new media in the South Caucasus for many international publications and media outlets.

He has trained journalists and activists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, and South Ossetia since 2009 and in October 2012 presented his work on social media in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resolution at a seminar organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Dublin, Ireland.

In February 2013 was an expert speaker at an intergovernmental seminar on evaluating methods to combat violent extremism online in Abu Dhabi, UAE, organized by the U.S. Government’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and the Hedayah Center.

Caucasus Conflict Voices is also slowly expanding to include Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Armenia-Turkey relations in its coverage.

Onnik Krikorian can be followed on Twitter at @onewmphoto. Conflict Voices is on Twitter at @caucasusproject.

 

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