BY ALEX SARDAR Special to Asbarez
YEREVAN–The Armenian Youth Federation Youth Corps 1999 participants arrived at Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport early Tuesday morning–signaling the start of the last mission of the century for the AYF Youth Corps.
The 1999 AYF Youth Corps group is comprised of Armenian youth from various locales of Southern California and one participant from Washington. Participants include Naiery Misserlian–Tanya Grigorian–Dikran Aslanian–Chris Minassian–Hagop Minassian–Tro Tchekijian–Levon Baronian–Tanya Alexandrian–Lila Khajadourian and Arin Hacopian from the Armenian community of Greater Washington.
The group left Sunday evening from Los Angeles International Airport–where participants’ friends–family and AYF leaders gathered to send off the group to their mission in Karabakh.
Participants will remain in Yerevan for two days–after which they will embark on their journey to the village of Ashan–in the Marduni region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the Youth Corps campaign site–this year’s participants will continue to work toward the conclusion of Ashan’s school/camp building–which will serve the region’s children for various activities.
"Although I have been here several times before–it is still an incredible feeling to be in our Homeland and to be able to live with the Armenia’s of Armenia and Karabakh and work on this land," explained Khajadourian.
"It is one thing to hear about Armenia and Karabakh from afar–but it is an entirely other sensation to actually be here and to share in with the lives of Armenia’s here–even though it is only for a short period," she added.
The AYF Youth Corps project–which marks its sixth annual pilgrimage to Karabakh this year–was created by the AYF-Western United States Central Executive in 1994 to allow Diasporan youth an opportunity to work on the lands of historic Armenia–and to learn about their heritage–while–at the same time–serving Armenia and Karabakh in their time of transition and development.
At the conclusion of the Youth Corps Campaign in August–most participants will take part in the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Youth Organizations’ International Jamboree.
For more information on how to participate in the AYF Youth Corps or to become a sponsor of future Youth Corps project volunteer–please contact the Armenian Youth Federation-Western United States Centra Executive at (818) 507-1933.