AGBU’s Yerevan Summer Intern Program was held from June 25th to August 5th, 2011, for the fifth consecutive year. 21 Diasporan youth from four countries, Canada, Russia, Syria and USA, spent six weeks in Armenia working at Armenia’s leading organizations and institutions including RA Finance Ministry, UNDP, “Storaket” architectural office, “Azg” daily, Deem Communications, Global SPC law and consulting office, “Hetq” and “Lragir” online news agencies, Center for Innovative Experimental Art (NPAK), St. Nerses the Great hospital, ArBes medical center, Yerevan hospitals No. 1 and 8. The program pursues several goals: first of all, Armenian youth from different educational institutions are provided with a unique opportunity to gain professional experience and practical knowledge, have a better understanding of their homeland and involve themselves actively in its development, as well as interact with their peers both from Armenia and different communities of the Diaspora. Weekly Armenian language and folk dance classes are also an important component of the program, which includes sightseeing trips, visits to historical monuments and museums in Armenia and Artsakh, and meetings with different famous political and social figures. This year’s participants of YSIP had the chance to meet with RA Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakobian, RA Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, and former Foreign Minister of Armenia and currently the chairman of “Heritage” party and Parliament member Raffi Hovanissian. Another interesting meeting was with young Armenian entrepreneurs, cofounder of “Wise Business” Hayk Vardanyan from Armenia, and George Tabakian and Talar Kazanjian, two Diaspora-Armenians, who have moved to their homeland and are running a successful business of their own. On July 23rd, the group visited the Tsitsernakabert Memorial and Genocide Museum to pay tribute to the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. AGBU Armenian Representation and Armenian Virtual College, received the YSIP participants for an introductory presentation and a video chat with AVC Founding Chairman Dr. Yervant Zorian. The group also spent three unforgettable days in Karabakh, visiting Stepanakert, Shoushi and Gandzasar, meeting interesting people and exploring the true beauty of Artsakh. They were hosted at the Naregatsi Art Institute of Shoushi for a performance by the children of the Institute.

On July 24th, the interns visited Lori region to spend a remarkable day with the AGBU scouts from around the world, who had gathered in Armenia for the 4th season of AGBU “Antranik” Scout Camp. The Scavenger Hunt organized jointly with “Birthright Armenia” will stay forever in the memories of the YSIP participants. Divided into several groups and scattered in different parts of the capital, the interns and Birthright volunteers fulfilled various tasks and got to know Yerevan and its residents through more personal interactions. Being also a month of cultural enrichment, YSIP provided the interns with a unique opportunity to be present at the performance of “Anoush” opera at the Armenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The farewell reception at the Yerevan Museum of Folk Art with the participation of the interns, their immediate supervisors and AGBU representatives concluded the once-in-a-lifetime journey of the Diasporan youth to their homeland. The AGBU YSIP 2011 was conducted by Program Coordinator Anna Aghajanian and her assistant Aline Zorian.