YEREVAN–ARMENIA – As part of its ongoing objective to develop activities and programs that promote the growth of young Armenian American professionals and strong leaders–the Armenian National Committee-Professional Network (ANC-PN) hosted its inaugural Summer Trip to Armenia. Over 40 young Armenian American professionals from across the nation embarked on the 13-day trip–which traversed the Republics of Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh Republic.
The participants boarded planes destined for the Republic of Armenia on Wednesday–August 10–and arrived in Yerevan at Zvartnotz International Airport late Thursday evening. While in Armenia–they visited the sites of the Khor Virab Monastery–Dzidzernagapert–the Madenataran–Yeraplur National Cemetery–Etchmiadzin–Sardarabad–the temple of Garni–the Geghart Monastery and Mayr Hayastan Monument. The participants also toured the famous Kotayk Beer and Ararat Cognac factories.
ANC-PN trip participants attended a reception organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in honor of the Chairman of the Democratic Party–Howard Dean. Also present was Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti. The group of young professionals spent the evening conversing with the US delegation–as well as expatriates and leaders from the local community.
A major highlight of the trip was a three day sight seeing excursion to Mountainous Karabagh. On the way–the group made a lunch stop in Ghapan–Sister City to Glendale–home to many of the participants. While in Artsakh–the participants attended a dinner hosted by the ARF and visited the Parliament House–various churches–mosques–fortresses–museums–and monumen’s situated in the cities of Shushi–Stepanakert–Aghdam.
The Mountainous Karabagh excursion included a significant visit to the village of Ashan–located in the Martuni region–where funds raised from ANC-PN’s 2004 Christmas Party were used to improve and renew one of the Armenian Relief Society’s Sosseh schools.
On their return to Yerevan–the participants attended a forum organized by the ANC-PN–titled "Business in Armenia for Diasporans." Among the contributors to the forum were Vicken Arabian–representing Yerkir USA organization–and Alex Sardar is USAID’s Chief of Party for its Civic Advocacy Support Program.
"I thought the forum was informative–motivational–and touching. It is remarkable how the diasporan community has contributed to their homeland by moving to Armenia and working there. They are pioneers for those of us who are starting to see the big picture," stated Arbi Karapetian–a trip participant.
After 10 days of traveling–eating–dancing–learning–and bonding–the group returned home on August 22.
Encouraged by the positive feedback from trip participants–ANC-PN has already begun planning for 2006–which promises to build on the successes of this year’s trip.
In her remarks regarding the trip–ANC-PN President Jeannine Topalian said–"A lot of hard work and planning went towards making this endeavor as successful as it could possibly be. I am pleased to see that it did just that by yielding such positive results."
"The Republics of both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are wondrous places. I had the time of my life there. I saw and learned much and made a number of cherished new friends along the way. It is an amazing and life-altering experience for one to return to their ancestral homeland. I thank the ANC-PN for affording me the opportunity to do so. I can hardly wait till next year’s trip," commented Steve Torossian–another participant.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices–chapters–and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world–the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.