From March 25 to April 21, eleven 4th year students from the French University in Armenia (UFAR) interned at different companies in Lyon, Paris and Valence thanks to the support of both AGBU’s France District and Lyon Chapter, as well as the chapter’s former Vice Chair Jacques Garabedian. Yevgine Ter-Ohanyan, a law major, interned at the law firm of Estrade, Azad and Harutyunyan in Paris, providing her a unique opportunity to visit the Justice Chamber of Paris, attend different courts and be present at various court hearings. “I worked with professionals, met with lawyers and advocates, learned many nuances of the law, and gained new skills. This was a great opportunity to compare the juridical and legal systems of Armenia and France. I am grateful to AGBU for this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says. Financial management major Lilit Arzoyan is pursuing a career in accounting and interned at Grant Thornton Specialist Advisory Services Department in Paris. “It is hard for me to find words to express how important this internship was for me. Being part of such a professional team and working with such specialists gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with the bookkeeping of companies operating in different sectors. Each day presented a fresh opportunity to learn and do something new. The knowledge and experience I gained in Paris is a huge incentive to build my professional career here in Armenia,” Lilit said. Ani Galstyan interned at Voyage Loisirs, a Paris-based tourism agency. With about 50 million tourists annually, Paris is the third most-visited city in the world. “I am proud. I am proud as a student, as my parents’ child and as a citizen of my country. I returned from Paris with a greater feeling of responsibility towards myself and my country and with a deeper understanding of how I can be useful to my homeland. I clearly see my role in building a prosperous and competitive future for Armenia. For all this, I am thankful to the Armenian General Benevolent Union,” said Ani. The partnership between AGBU France and UFAR dates back to 2004, when the AGBU France District arranged the first contingent of UFAR interns in Paris. Since then, 73 of the best students have conducted 4-6-week internships in Grenoble, Lyon, Paris and Valence, thanks to AGBU’s complete financial support. Participants had the opportunity to practice the French language and culture of everyday life, facilitated by a full itinerary of activities, including visits to the French National Assembly, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in Paris, the AGBU Nubarian Library, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and the Orsay Museum. The Lyon program included theater performances, concerts and tours. Following his recent visit to France and meeting with AGBU France leaders and staff, UFAR Rector Jean-Jacques Montois expressed his gratitude to AGBU by praising “the extraordinary welcome given to the students” and “the exemplary daily supervision” of their internship and activities. “Without AGBU’s sup-port and that of the French Armenian communities, it would be difficult to achieve UFAR’s mission of promoting French culture and offering the professional experience that UFAR students need to acquire in order to be Armenia’s valid economic, political and cultural future interlocutors of France.”Upon their return from France, the Paris interns visited AGBU Yerevan to express their gratitude and describe their experiences in the heart of Europe. They also stated their interest in continuing their relationship with AGBU. Since 2007, UFAR students have been receiving AGBU scholarships based on merit and need. More than 120 students have benefited from these scholarships, which entirely cover their annual tuition fees. AGBU also funded the renovation and construction of a library at UFAR, inaugurated officially last October during the AGBU General Assembly in Armenia. AGBU gratefully acknowledges the network of companies and institutions that provide the internships, as well as the Rhône-Alpes Region and the City of Lyon, and the Bullukian Foundation for its financial support.

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