REDISCOVERING THE HOMELAND (VIDEO MATERIAL)

9th season of the AGBU “Discover Armenia” youth trip

AGBU’s “Discover Armenia” program is one of the oldest summer youth programs delivered by the Union in Armenia. During the past nine years over 250 young Diasporans from 20 countries participated in the program. This year marked the 9th season of the “Discover Armenia” youth trip and brought another 31 youths from eight countries (Belgium, Canada, Dubai, France, Russia, UK, USA and Reunion island), to Armenia. The program includes sightseeing trips, cultural events, meetings with state officials and public figures. The two key components of “Discover Armenia” are active involvement in community service and the trip to Artsakh. For the sixth year in a row Discover Armenia together with Fuller Armenia lent a helping hand to needy families across Armenia helping them to construct their homes. This year support was offered to the village of Verin Baz-maberd in the Aragatsotn region of Armenia. The grateful Khachatryan family received help to complete the construction of their house which had been started in the 90’s but left unfinished due to lack of finances. As part of their community activities the group also visited the children at the “Trchunyan orphanage” in Gyumri and the pensioners at the Arabkir Senior Dining Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and AGBU. “Discover Armenia” participants spent three days in Artsakh, visited Shoushi, Gandzasar and other historical and cultural monuments. It has become a tradition for the program participants to enrich the foreign language literature stand of the Stepanakert Children’s Library established by their peers from previous years. This years group was lucky enough to be present at the Armenian National Football Team’s friendly match with Belarus. It’s hard to describe the overwhelming enthusiasm with which the Diasporan-Armenians supported their team at the stadium in their homeland. “Arriving in Armenia, I was overcome with pride. Pride is the only word to describe it. I feel so fortunate that I can identify myself as an Armenian, and truly 'discover' my culture and religion in the motherland through the Discover Armenia trip. As soon as I landed in Hayastan, I knew I had been given an opportunity to make a difference. I felt inspired as I helped build a house, visited an orphanage, and learned and understood authentic Armenian culture through singing and dancing. This trip to Armenia was truly enlightening. I know I want to come back here as soon as I can, and continue to make a difference. Armenia has so much promise, and I am hopeful that if more people understand how strong, beautiful, and positive Armenia is, the country will be seen as highly as I view it now”, said Caroline Thayer from USA. The group’s visit to Kecharis monastery in Tsaghkadzor where they participated in the grape blessing ceremony was described as unforgettable. The group also visited Etchmiadzin, Tsitsernakabert, Khor Virap, Garni and Geghard, Lake Sevan, Noravanq, Matenadaran, Cafesjian Museum, American University of Armenia, AGBU Armenian Virtual College, AGBU and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Youth Center. The program helps the Diaspora youth to get acquainted with the real Armenia, its everyday life and the hurdles faced by its people.

 

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