12TH SEASON OF AGBU’S DISCOVER ARMENIA PROGRAM WELCOMES 50 PARTICIPANTS FROM 8 COUNTRIES

 

 

 

The best way to discover Armenia in all its glory, its everyday life and traditions is, perhaps, participating in the Armenian General Benevolent Union’s (AGBU) various summer youth programs, one of which is simply called “Discover Armenia”. This year 50 young men and women participated in the 12th Discover Armenia (DA) Youth Program from the USA, France, United Kingdom, Lebanon, Canada, Dominican Republic and Turkey. As part of the three-week program, participants stayed at the newly-opened AGBU Vahe Karapetian Center. The AGBU Discover Armenia program is open to students, aged 15-18. Participation in voluntary community projects is one of the key components of the program. As part of the community projects the AGBU Discover Armenia Youth Program has cooperated with Fuller Armenia, reaching out to disadvantaged families with housing issues. This year support was offered to the Hayrapetyan family living in Khor Virap village. The family had dreamed of having their own home for 20 over years.

“I have been dreaming about this day for years. Now even my grandson has joined the volunteers in building our house, our own house. I have waited so long to have my own house. I am very grateful to everyone, all the organizers, sponsors, and of course, these young people”, says Raya Hayrapetyan, the new homeowner. One young man, 14-year-old Isahak Karadanayan, will be remembered for a long time to come. Isahak’s parents had given him some pocket money, and during the construction, he decided to give the money to the Hayrapetyan family. He wanted to help.

“I noticed that the family needed money, so I decided to give them some to make them happy. It’s so sad to see Armenian families in need. We should help each other, so that they become happy and enjoy their lives as well”, said Isahak.

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“I LOVED ARMENIA AND I AM GOING TO RETURN TO MY HOMELAND”

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the AGBU scouts’ outfits differed from those of previous years, thanks to the addition of the forget-me-not pin symbolizing the Armenian Genocide Centennial. The pin was not a requirement of the uniform however the international participant of the annual “Antranik” Scout Camp wore it with pride. For the 8th consecutive year Lori hosted the AGBU scouts from all around the world. Over 150 participants from the USA, Lebanon, Georgia, UAE, Syria and Armenia gathered at their favorite Antranik Camp. Archbishop Sepouh Chuljyan, Primate of the Gugark Diocese, addressed the Scouts during the opening ceremony, “It is amazing that you can now see your Homeland with your own eyes. The best way to understand your Homeland is not only through history books but through real experiences. You must walk through its lands, its villages and cities, feel it’s breath and get to know it’s people and it’s culture. I bless you all and wish you a successful camping experience.”

Opening speeches were also made by AGBU Antranik Scout Camp Director Kevork Santourian and AGBU Yerevan Interim Director Hovig Eordekian.

“Friendship which begins in the Homeland among the participants during the program, is important and irreplaceable. Our hard work and devotion is justified when we hear one or two important sentences from our participants: I loved my Homeland or I am going to return to my Homeland again”, said Kevork Santourian. Taking into consideration the significance of the year 2015, a series of meetings and discussions were organized dedicated to the Armenian Genocide Centennial and plans for the future. All of the program participants shared a single opinion; they will not rest until justice prevails and the Genocide is recognized. As part of the program, the participants also visited Etchmiadzin, the Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery, Lake Sevan, Haghpat, Goshavank, Lake Gosh, Gyumri, Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and the Komitas Museum. Visits to the AGBU Yerevan office, AGBU Armenian Virtual College, as well as the AGBU and Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin’s Nork Children’s Center were also organized.

For the second year running, during their trip to Gyumri, the AGBU scouts had the unique opportunity to be present at the “Kohar” Ensemble’s rehearsals and savor their beautiful music.

An unforgettable day was spent at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, which, as always, is one of the most impressive and memorable days in their calendar of events. At the center the scouts met students and staff, saw the many innovative activities that the center carries out, and participated in various interested lectures. At the Tumo Center, all volunteers had the unique opportunity to find something that they were interested in ranging from computer games, animation and computer graphics, music, robotics to web design.

Each of the two sessions of the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp traditionally ends with a Fire Ceremony during which the camp hosts a number of AGBU members and friends, Diaspora-Armenian youth in Armenia as part of the various AGBU summer programs, AGBU Yerevan staff, scouts’ parents, friends and other guests.

“I can’t express what I feel right now. I am more than sure that each one of us feels the same as I do at this moment. This is my fourth visit to the Homeland, but each time I am as emotional and impressed as the first time”, said one of the scouts.

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SIX WEEKS OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND HERITAGE REDISCOVERY

 

 

 

“This is the 9th year of the AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program (YSIP). The program allows the participants to see the real Armenia, its traditions and culture and everyday life. During the 6 weeks, we travel around the country, visit orphanages, take Armenian Language and traditional dance classes, prepare Armenian traditional dishes, as well as visit Artaskh. Sightseeing and cultural trips are certainly an inseparable part of the program. The schedule of the program is rather full and we spare neither effort nor expense to allow for our students to get to know Armenia, love and contribute to the welfare of their Homeland”, said Gayane Manukyan, AGBU YSIP coordinator. This year, AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program hosted 16 students from the USA, Russia, France and Lebanon as part of a large and united family. The interns spent six weeks working in leading local and international organizations to not only enhance their own knowledge but share their expertise with their Armenian colleagues. This year, the program participants were hosted by such renowned organizations as the United Nations (UN), RA Human Rights Defender office, Women’s Resource Center, Malayan’s Eye Care Center, “Arabkir” Medical Center, Deem Communications, Jinishian Memorial Foundation, Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, PicsArt, WiCastr and ICARE companies, “ImageMan” Architectural and Interior Design Studio,” Orran” Charitable Non-Governmental Organization, Paris Hotel. “I learnt about this program from one of my friends. She recommended it as the best summer of his life and I knew I had to apply. Now I work at the Arabkir Medical Center with children with epilepsy, take notes, and follow the course of their treatment. Honestly, my internship is very informative and important. The diagnostic process, discussions and talks with the specialists help me gain a deeper understanding of my chosen field. The applied methods are different in Armenia compared to the US, which allows me to compare the two different approaches, and get a better handle on the issues at hand. I came here with an eagerness to help and I am trying to find the best way to do that. I love Armenia very much and I can now also say that this was my best summer ever”, said Rita Shehiryan from California, the USA. To read the whole material, please click here.

AGBU MUSICAL ARMENIA PROGRAM NOW INCLUDES NON-ARMENIAN STUDENTS

 

 

 

 

Yukinori Kinoshita, a young Japanese pianist, studying in the United States, had learnt about the legacy of Komitas only three months before deciding to visit the Master’s homeland. Following extensive research he realized that the best way to discover Armenia and Armenian culture for a beginner musician was to participate in the AGBU’s Musical Armenia Program (MAP). He registered immediately and together with the other nine participants of this year’s Musical Armenia program arrived in Yerevan in June, thus breaking with tradition and becoming the first non-Armenian participant in the history of the program. Since the inception of the program, AGBU’s aim was to provide an opportunity for Armenians and foreign musicals and artists alike to discover one of the world’s most ancient cultures and its music.

“I learnt about this program through my Armenian friend. This is a unique opportunity to understand Armenian culture. The program offers highly qualified teaching materials and a number of interesting lectures. I am planning to present this program to my friends living in the United States and Japan. I am sure that a great number of people will be interested in participating. Yerevan is a unique city and if the opportunity arises I will definitely return one day.”, said Yukinori.

The 4th Musical Armenia Program brought together 10 talented musicians from the USA, Canada, France, Syria and Lebanon. The three-week program included individual master classes and group lectures given by renowned professionals, various cultural events and sightseeing.

This year’s program took place between July 14- August 3, 2015 with participants playing the violin, flute, piano, trumpet, alt, as well as specializing in vocals and conducting skills. Joint classes and individual master classes were given by such renowned artists as Karen Durgaryan, Armen Tutunjyan, Yervand Margaryan, Never Navoyan, Bagrat Vardanyan, Tovmas Poghosyan, Lusine Grigoryan, Arusyak Sahakyan, Arthur Shahnazaryan, Arman Abrahamyan, Hayk Arsenyan. “This is not an ordinary, traditional school, where students only strive to excel at their instrument. This is the type of musical education that builds character, personality and self improvement and maybe even allows for solutions to personal problems through music. I’m inspired when teaching these students and very much appreciate the significance of this particular program. If only one or two students return to their roots, their identity and feel a closer connection to their homeland then I would consider this a successful program.” , said RA honored artist, Mher Navoyan.

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AGBU CENTRAL BOARD MEMBER NOUBAR AFEYAN LECTURES AT AUA

 

On May 25, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted Noubar Afeyan, entrepreneur and innovator, for a talk on Entrepreneurial Innovations Transforming Health and Sustainability. The event was hosted by the College of Science & Engineering. Dr. Afeyan drew upon his 25-year career as inventor, CEO, and venture capitalist in presenting a thorough discussion on cutting edge innovations at the intersection of technology, life sciences, and health. To read the whole article, click here.

 
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