Georgi Vanyan, peace activist,
Film and theater director from Armenia
Latest guest at the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People
2 March 2016
Hamburg/ Armenia / Tekali
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been simmering since the fall of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago. Time and again, the region around Tekali has been troubled with border conflicts between the two countries. As a result and with active support from film and theater director Georgi Vanyan (51), Tekali has been turned into a trans-regional peace and meditation center. On a regular basis, events with artists, scholars and journalists are held in a pursuit to find alternative solutions and strategies for the conflicts in the South Caucasus. And just as regularly, each year Georgi Vanyan and his fellows are being threatened, attacked and terrorized.
Georgi Vanyan, especially, is being persecuted by nationalists inside and outside the Armenian government and threatened with violence and murder due to his efforts towards encouraging an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process as well as his rejection of political agitation in any form.
In 2012, Vanyan initiated a film festival featuring Azerbaijani films. This festival was backed by British, American and German support but had to give in to protests by nationalist forces. Radical opponents had organized rallies and flooded the director with threatening phone calls and death threats on the Internet, eventually not hesitating to physically attack Georgi Vanyan. Due to this grave security situation, he finally had to cancel the festival.
In 2013, he was admitted to the Bundestag’s «Parliamentarians support Parliamentarians» program. As a peace and human rights activist in the currently tense political climate inside and outside the country, he has also become a target of public wrath. On television he was defamed as a traitor of his country. Since then, attacks on his house have been a daily occurrence.
We are delighted to know that Georgi Vanyan will now be safe for a whole year in our city at the river Elbe.
Press Contact: Martina Bäurle
Mobile: +49 151-56 311316
Office +49 40 42863-5757