Rallying Armenian Youth in Sweden

An Interview with Homentemen of Sweden Representative Hagop Khatcherian

By Sossi Essajanian

Seeing the need for scout and sport activities in Sweden–a small group of Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts (Homenetmen) members recently established a Homenetmen chapter in Stockholm–Sweden.

The committee also announced plans to start Homenetmen activities in other cities such as Sdertlje and Vsters in the near future.

Today–more than 8,000 Armenia’s call Sweden home–according to the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). The country recognized the Armenian genocide with a statement in the Foreign Ministry report on March 29–2000.

Homenetmen of Sweden secretary Hagop Khatcherian spoke with the Armenian Weekly about the establishment and future of the organization in Sweden.

How and why was a Homenetmen chapter established in Sweden?

The Homenetmen of Sweden was established on July 1. Taking into account the goal of gathering together Armenian youth–it was the best-suited decision to establish a Homenetmen chapter here–where Armenian youth will be able to find his or her preference for activities within the athletic–scouting–or cultural realms of the organization.

As of today–how many members do you have and what is their average age?

As preliminary work–efforts are being made first in the organizational structure to establish committees and preparations for a group responsible for scouting. Since the founding of the Homenetmen of Sweden–we have a total of 18 scout leaders and 62 active and non-active Homenetmen members.

Where and how many times a week do the groups meet?

We usually have weekly meetings in three cities–Stockholm–Vsters and Sdertlje. During these gatherings–the scout leaders’ group discusses preparations for leaders–meetings with the organizational committees and executive meetings.

How many Armenia’s are there in Sweden and what type of community centers–churches–etc.–does it support?

Today–there are around 5,000 Armenia’s in Sweden that are dispersed throughout almost all of Sweden’s cities. There are many cultural centers that are involved in Armenian activities. We also have community councils for the Armenian Apostolic church in different cities–which have two Reverends who travel between them. Also–the community has its Armenian Catholic priest who carries out church services.

Do you have Homenetmen athletic groups?

Yes–we also have a youth soccer team that will be participating in the Swedish Federation matches at various levels.

Do you have connections with the other Homenetmen regions?

To start establishing ties–the executive sent letters to all of the regions and efforts were made to establish a Web site (www.homenetmen’se)–through which the new region’s work can be best showcased.

Within the region–the executive broadly communicates with the Armenian organizations in Sweden–whose mission is the preservation of the Armenian identity. The Homenetmen of Sweden also has friendly relations with non-Armenian organizations.

What was your aim in establishing the Homenetmen of Sweden?

The aim of the executive is to implement the Homenetmen programs–keeping the organization’s ideals alive within the community.

For more information about the Homenetmen of Sweden–visit www.homenetmen’se or email homenetmen’sweden@yahoo.se.

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