AGBU Discover Armenia Youth Program 2018
AGBU Discover Armenia is a unique opportunity for Armenian youth from the diaspora to reconnect with their ancestral homeland during a three-week adventure that's filled with exploration, visits to ancient Armenian monuments, meetings with prominent political and social figures, cultural events, and humanitarian and community service activities.
This educational tour for 15-18-year-olds seeks to instill pride in Armenian youth and appreciation for their rich heritage and the wonders of Armenia and Karabakh. The young participants benefit from a well-rounded program that goes beyond sightseeing and gives them a chance to engage in community service projects ranging from construction to working with children and the elderly. Collaborating on such assignments with peers from all over the world allows participants to create a stronger bond with their motherland and with one another.
The three-week program is an ideal introduction to Armenia for any teenager. Each year, participants return from this once-in-a-lifetime experience with a better understanding of themselves, their identity and the duty they each bear towards their greater community.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. Each year, AGBU is committed to making a difference in the lives of 500,000 people across Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian diaspora.
Through the vision of its leaders and the generous support of devoted donors and members over the years, AGBU has played a significant role in upholding Armenian traditions and values by adapting to the needs of the worldwide community and the demands of the times. Since 1906, AGBU has remained true to one overarching goal: to create a foundation for the prosperity of all Armenians.
Herminé Duzian, the AGBU Diaspora Youth Programs Chief Coordinator in Armenia and Europe, founded the Discover Armenia program in 2003, and serves as the Program Director each summer. An alumna of the AGBU Tarouhi Hagopian School in Lebanon, Herminé's lifelong involvement with AGBU and the Armenian community began in childhood as a young scout and athlete. Her positive childhood experiences led her to focus on AGBU youth programs throughout her career. In fact, she has been involved with the sporting association in “Jeux Sportif Européens de l'UGAB”.
During their stay in Yerevan, participants live in AGBU Vahe Karapetyan Youth center in Yerevan, within a fifteen-minute drive to downtown. The rooms accommodate two to four people and come furnished with beds, chairs and wardrobes. The Program Director and chaperones live in the Center with the participants and are available twenty-four hours a day. A security guard monitors the entrance to the house at all times.
The Center has a laundry room with professional equipment. Participants can give their clothes to laundry every day.
Participants can also use the free Wi Fi of the Center.
Discover Armenia participants engage in a number of cultural and educational activities in addition to the scheduled sightseeing and community service. One of the highlights of the summer is a group hike at Mount Aragats - the tallest mountain in Armenia. The students also enjoy a diverse selection of activities from Armenian folk dance and singing courses, to engaging in the grape benediction ceremony and festivities at the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary. Each summer brings new experiences to enhance an already well-rounded itinerary.
Every year, participants visit the offices of AGBU Armenia and the Armenian Virtual College where they become better acquainted with AGBU and learn more about the programs in Armenia and Karabakh. They also attend concerts such as the one performed by students of AGBU Nork Children's Center.
Finally, some of the greatest memories come from the daily interactions. Living together in AGBU Vahe Karapetyan Center, eating dinner on the patio or on a night out at a local restaurant, these moments bond the students who leave each event and activity feeling more and more like an extended family.
Community service is the cornerstone of the Discover Armenia program. Engaging in various projects, the participants create close links to Armenia. Whether it is building homes for disadvantaged families, visiting local orphanages or serving hot meals at the AGBU Senior Centers, the participants develop a deep sense of engagement with the country.
The students can earn 40 hours of community service during the program.
Over the course of their 3-day trip to Nagorno-Karabakh in 2009, Discover Armenia participants created a foreign language section in the Children’s Library in Stepanakert, where more then 1,000 books were collected. Every year since the program has continued the tradition of donating books to add to the library. Understanding the importance of access to literature, the students enjoy participating in this project, because each book represents a new opportunity for growth and learning.
Throughout their stay, participants visit significant sites around Armenia, building a deeper connection to the land, its history, and its people.
Each summer the group visits the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, Khor Virap, the Matenadaran Museum of Ancient Armenian Maunuscripts, the medieval monastic complex of Gandzasar, Vazkenian Theological Seminary, etc.
The program also includes day-trips to significant sights such as Garni, Geghard, Sardarapat, Noravank, Goris, Dsaghgadzor, Jermuk, Mount Aragats, Lake Sevan, as well as a visit to the ruins of Ani (from the Armenian side of the border).
In addition to the countless locations in the capital and the surrounding regions, the group takes a memorable three-day trip to Karabakh. Together, they take a special tour of the monuments and villages in this historic area.
The participation fee of 1,000 euros(air travel is not included) must be paid in full at the time of registration. The program fee, registration form and participant code of conduct form must be signed and received by AGBU no later than June 1, 2018. The fee includes accommodations and all the activities organized during the program but does not include personal expenses (souvenirs, etc.).
Information about fees and payment options are included at the end of the application.
Cancellation conditions: if a participant wishes to cancel his/her registration for any reason, s/he must immediately inform the director of the program. Anyone canceling before June 15, 2018, will be reimbursed 500 euros. No reimbursement will be granted for cancellations after June 15.
Participants spend the three-week program in a supervised environment. The director of the program and the counselors stay with participants in the same accommodations and are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Participants must respect the code of conduct detailed in the registration form and follow the directions set by AGBU staff, which are designed to guarantee the safety and well-being of all participants.
For more information about AGBU Discover Armenia Youth Program click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.