Georgien: Irina Yanovskaya

It is easier to destroy the world than to create it. But in creating the world, one is sowing life and creating the future.

— Irina Yanovskaya

A well-known journalist in South Ossetia, Irina Yanovskaya (43) founded and directs the organization Journalists for Human Rights with the aim of preserving peace. The organization has become an important part of a broader network of conflict resolution groups. Irina focuses her efforts on the area of interethnic conflict resolution. She has made her way into people’s hearts, finding ways to unite rather than separate groups, thus, helping to establish peace in South Ossetia.

Irina Yanovskaya is a very modest person and a valiant activist. She has worked in peacemaking and conflict resolution since 1998, when ethnic clashes between Georgian and Ossetian villages began. "[The] absurd death of innocent people who killed each other only because of their different national origin, astonished me completely," Irina says. She could not let go of this idea. In 1998, she started working towards the reconciliation of hostile parties. She has worked with soldiers and military officers, taught children, and hosted different seminars to bring together people of different national origin and help them find points of convergence. Irina explains that a child does not understand that people of different national origin exist, and so the child sees no need to hate. A culture of peace should therefore be cultivated from early childhood, and in fact, Irina works often with children. As a journalist she works for a program that is devoted to resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. Irina published a special calendar with photographs of children and war. "These are children and women, who suffer from wars most of all," she says. "Children and women who [have] experienced the horror of violence, murder, need to be helped to overcome their trauma." She initiated a special program to help women and children injured by war. Irina also organizes seminars for Ossetian and Georgian women and children, in which they learn to understand one another and to live together in peace. "The most difficult thing for people who have experienced a war is to forgive the death of close people," Irina says, "to stop looking at the people of other national origin as enemies and murderers and to see in them only neighbors." Irina’s efforts for peace are helping improve the world around her.

Journalists for Human Rights Caucasus Network on Conflict Resolution