ARF Youth Representatives Convene International Conference

YEREVAN–From December 10-12, executive delegates representing the highest bodies of the ARF’s student, youth, and junior organizations from around the world met for a three-day conference in Yerevan aimed at evaluating their respective activities and developing new strategies for the coming four years.

The pan-Armenian conference was held at the newly opened ARF “Aram Manougian” Youth Center, near the Gomidas thoroughfare in Yerevan. Over 38 representatives from 12 different regions throughout the world participated in the meeting.

Prior to beginning their deliberations, conference participants made a special visit to Yerablur cemetery, where they laid a wreath at the tomb of the “Unknown Soldier” and paid their respect to the memory of all the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives in the Artsakh liberation struggle.

The conference then began with reports delivered from each representative. Delegates outlined the key activities in their region and noted both shortcomings and achievements. The overall challenges facing Armenian youth in Armenia and the Diaspora were also discussed. Despite differences in communities and host countries, many similarities binding Armenian youth throughout the world were identified and made the focus of discussion and debate.

From there, participants broke up into working groups where they outlined concerns, discussed strategies, coordinated projects, suggested new ideas, and crafted resolutions for a unified plan of action for the coming years.

High on the list of priorities for the conference was strengthening Armenia-Diaspora ties and becoming more engaged in developments in Armenia. Along these lines, heavy emphasis was placed on reinvigorating and expanding various projects Diasporan ARF youth carry out within the homeland. Moving in this direction was encouraged for both the positive impact it has in helping Armenia’s development and spurring cultural identity in the Diaspora.

Special emphasis was also placed on the need for youth to be more vigilant in addressing the current socioeconomic challenges affecting the Armenian nation, with many of the delegates calling for developing more momentum in the fight to establish social justice within Armenia.

At a press conference following the three-day meeting, many of the representatives from both Armenia and the Diaspora spoke about these issues and the outcome of the meeting. “Social, economic, and legal issues of justice are today priority for us within Armenia, in addition to national issues,” said Artour Ghazaryan of the ARF Youth Organization in Armenia. “Today our struggle is against injustice.”

Mikael Khosrovian from the ARF “Nigol Aghbalian” Student Union in Armenia also noted that an important result of the meeting was the stronger ties that were established between the 6 active student organizations of the ARF across the world. Serouj Aprahamian, Executive Director of the AYF-Western US, added that the meeting was very productive and gave the youth of the ARF an important chance to exchange ideas and lay the groundwork for further collaboration.

Throughout the course of the meeting, participants also had the opportunity to participate in a conference on Genocide reparations organized by the ARF, a Yerevan Badanegan community reception, and the ARF’s 120th Anniversary Celebration at Yerevan’s Opera Theatre.

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