LCO is Accepting Applications For its 2004 Summer Campaigns

Land and Culture Organization
P.O. Box 1386
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Contact: Raffi Niziblian
Tel: 1-888-LCO-1555
E-mail: [email protected]


The Land and Culture Organization (LCO) has begun recruiting
volunteers for its 2004 summer campaigns.

Established in France in 1977, the Land and Culture Organization is an
international, non-profit organization that has undertaken a variety
of challenging activities ranging from restoration projects of
national historical monuments, to social and economic assistance
programs for Armenian communities living on ancestral lands. The LCO
creates enriching opportunities for men and women of all backgrounds
and interests to directly participate in the process of getting back
to their roots, bridging gaps between past and present and forging
links with today and tomorrow. For over 27 years, Armenians of all
ages have participated in LCO summer campaigns from North and South
America, Europe, Australia, Armenia and the Middle East and
experienced their ancestral homeland beyond the hotels and tourist
spots in Yerevan. They meet and work with local villagers and interact
with their land in a way that deepens their understanding and bonds
them to their heritage.

The LCO first began holding restoration projects in the Aterpatakan
region of northwest Iran and eventually spread its activities to
Kessab in Syria, Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. This year, the LCO is
proud to be celebrating 15 years of activity in Armenia. A few of our
past projects were the reconstruction of the St. Astvadzazin Church
(Holy Mother of God) in Gogaran, the renovation of the St. Minas
Church in Tatev and the restoration of the Saghmosavank Monastery in
the Ashtarak Region. The LCO has also completed social assistance and
economic projects such as the building of solar fruit dryers in
Madrasa (now called Dprevan) and last year in Ayroum, a refugee
village located in the Northern part of the country near the Georgian

The LCO has also been very active in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic
(NKR) since 1997, when it adopted the war-torn village of
Karintak. This village, situated below the rock on which the town of
Shushi sits, has earned the reputation of being a heroic village,
particularly during the clashes for the liberation of Shushi by
Armenian forces. The four-year project included the renovation of
their cultural center, the village church, its kindergarten and
finally its school. Since 2001, the LCO has renovated vital parts of
the Shushi polyclinic and General Hospital, including the Delivery
Room, the Maternity Ward and several hospital rooms. In 2003, the LCO
volunteers undertook the renovation of the water pipeline which
provides the hospital with running water and the septic system.

The work sites and projects approved for 2004 during its Annual
Assembly held in Paris in February of this year, the International
Union of Land and Culture Organizations selected (1) the
reconstruction of the school in the refugee village of Shatvan located
in the Vartenis region of Armenia; (2) the continuing effort to
renovate the operating rooms of the Shushi Hospital, and (3),
continuation of our ongoing restoration work in Kessab, Syria.

The reconstruction of the village school in the refugee community of
Shatvan located to the east of Lake Sevan in the province of
Gegharkunik is one of the 34 villages in the Vartenis area that was
predominantly settled by Azeris during the soviet years. As of late
1988, the village of Shatvan has been repopulated by Armenian refugees
who have arrived from 33 different parts of Azerbaijan. The total
number of the current population is 834. The main concern is to
provide the basics for young families to help them settle down
permanently, and as such the village school is a major
priority. Currently it has 114 students with a staff of 20. The
building is in a very dangerous state. The roof is completely damaged
and parts of the floor on both levels are to be replaced. The
renovation of this building demands immediate attention.

The second project is in Nagorno Karabagh. There, LCO will continue
its commitment to the Regional Hospital of Shushi. This picturesque
town which had a population of 17,000 inhabitants before the war, is
now home to only 3000 people. While this is a huge building, it only
needs to cater to 3000-5000 people. In consultation with the chief
physician, Dr Vigen Khachadryan, and the Minister of health Zoya
Balayan, it was decided that only the East Wing of the hospital would
be restored and all the wards would be concentrated there. This
summer, it is expected that our volunteers will renovate the operating

As for our third site, we will continue our restoration work of the
houses in Kessab that represent typical Armenian architecture. Last
year, twenty-five LCO volunteers renovated a house that is destined to
become an Armenian ethnographic museum. Kessab is a small
Armenian-populated town in Syria, near the Mediterranean Sea. It dates
back to the Cilician Kingdom. The LCO has been holding campaigns in
Kessab for the last 14 years. For 2004, LCO will complete this
project. The campaign in Kessab is held only during the month of

We have already started accepting volunteer applications for these
campaigns and invite volunteers to join us and take a month off this
summer to “Explore – Dream – Discover” Armenia. The effort is
voluntary, the results are far reaching! The deadline to apply for the
campaigns of July and August is May 21, 2004. You will be able to
download all application information and forms from our website or by
asking us to mail you a volunteer package. All applicants must be a
minimum of 18 years of age to be considered. We are also looking to
fill two site leader positions. These positions are open only to
returning LCO participants. For information about applying for a site
leader position, please contact the Projects Coordinator at
[email protected]. The deadline for these positions is April
30, 2004.

For more information about the Land and Culture Organization an dour
activities in the Aterpatakan region, Kessab, Armenia and Nagorno
Karabagh, please visit or contact us at
1-888-LCO-1555 or write to [email protected].

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS