January 2014 saw the European Union’s education, youth, training and sport programs merged into one program: Erasmus. As part of the EU’s Erasmus+ student exchange program, Leo Legrange, a French corporation, implemented a new initiative aimed at promoting, strengthening and developing intercultural communications. Armenia was among the participating countries and the first visit of the program representatives took place on October 25th. During the course of one week, 16 young people from France, Latvia, Russia and Armenia worked on making culture more accessible to various elements of the general population. The host of the youth exchange program in Armenia was the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). The initiators of this program showed that this was a great opportunity for the participants of different countries to discover each other’s cultures and were convinced that the effectiveness of the program would increase if it were implemented by individual organizations as well as states. “It is very important that people become more open to the world and get to know the cultures of other nations. We hope that thanks to this project, the ties between the representatives of the four participant countries will be strengthened. This is a great opportunity for each participant to discover the culture of other countries”, said the leader of the group Francois Lajuzan, Head of the Cultural Department of Tournefeuille Municipality. Youth programs have always been at the forefront of AGBU’s programs. During their visit to Armenia the group met with the representatives of the Yerevan Municipality and RA Ministry of Culture and learned about their cultural policy. They also visited the Tumo Center For Creative Technologies, AGBU and Mother See’s Nork Children’s Center. Along with the programmed meetings and discussions, the group also visited Garni and Geghard, the traditional flea market Vernisage and sampled traditional Armenian dishes. To sum up the week and the end of Phase One, the participants drafted a joint cultural project including objectives and expectations for the future.




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