Our project is the start of a much larger vision of cross-border cooperation.
Our objective is twofold. Firstly, to expand an already under implementation project under the name ‘Black Sea Silk Road Corridor,’ which is re-tracing the route of the western Silk Road through four countries: Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Greece; it includes a smartphone virtual / tourist ‘Silk Road’ trail and a business directory which will allow 21st century travelers to follow on the footsteps of ancient traders. The trajectory of the ‘Black Sea Silk Road Corridor’ will extend eastwards from Armenia to China, and westwards to the ports of Mediterranean Europe and North Africa.
Secondly, this is a project of cooperative development. The fabled Silk Road of lore was more than a trade route, it was a road of ideas, a throughway of culture. History’s first transcontinental “super highway” enabled commerce, science, arts, culture and ideas to course the empires and nation states that hugged its spine. Perhaps its greatest gift was not any of these, as important as they are. Still, it was a conduit of peace, for trade cannot travel across closed borders nor can it prosper in times of conflict. At its greatest, the Silk Road promoted tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
There are conduits of ideas that crosses borders just as much as goods and gold. They form the backbone of the new Silk Road, that of 21st century technologies. As modern as they may seem they were actually embodied in the Silk Road centuries ago, as people experienced a means of communication that had crossed borders and brought people together.
The Silk Road Project is more important then ever now, as nation states examine their role in the borderless world of the new technology of Idea. As we explore the “new” concepts of innovative societies fed by “Creative Industries”, let us learn from the lessons of the first road to innovation, that open borders lead to open minds, and that there are in history few borders that genuinely lock out progress.
The Black Sea Silk Road Corridor is made possible by funding by the European Union Joint Operational Programme (Black Sea Basin 2007-2013) with substantial support by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID-Armenia) (Armenia), the Ministry of European Union of Republic of Turkey (Turkey).
Additional support is provided by:
Armenia: The Honorary Consul for Italy in Gyumri, Arminco Global Communications, Armenian Travel Bureau.
Greece: Funding in-kind: the Egnatia Highway Authority (Greece) and the Astir*Egnatia Alexandroupolis
Georgia: Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki, Adigeni, Aspindza and Borjomi Municipalities