FAR helps young Diaspora Armenians to discover their own Armenia

Fund for Armenian Relief
Media Release

Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR)
Press Office
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 889-5150; Fax: (212) 889-4849
email: [email protected]
blog: farusa.wordpress.com

F AR helps young Diaspora Armenians to discover their own Armenia in a
very unique
By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr and FAR Staff
For those in the Diaspora, living in multiple cultures is something
many Armenian-Americans
know well. Despite growing up in America, they have a strong awareness
of and attachment
to their Armenian roots – even if those roots have crossed through
other nations
and cultures before reaching the United States.
Most have an understanding of Armenia built on such childhood stories
as Mesrop
Mashtots’ alphabetical vision, images of snow-capped Mount Ararat, and
tales diluted by generations and distance.
For many Armenian-Americans, stepping foot in Armenia is a way to step
beyond these
childhood images. It provides a chance to learn who they are, as
Armenians. Over
14 years, the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) has provided this
opportunity to dozens
of young Armenian-Americans through the Young Professionals Trip. For
two weeks
each June, up to 20 individuals can experience the sights, smells and
tastes of
Armenia in a profoundly unique way.
This year, led by FAR’s Projects Director Arto Vorperian, participants
through 10 regions of the country, visiting sites like the
Tsitsernakaberd Genocide
Memorial and Vorotan Canyon and witnessing the astounding height and
beauty of Mount
Even though the trip incorporates visits to significant cultural and
landmarks, participants do not solely explore Armenia as tourists
getting a mere
snapshot of the country. This trip gives them the opportunity to
delve into the
nation’s fabric, to step beyond the history books, and to experience
a physicality
lacking in any photo or painting hanging on a wall back home.
Through this trip, FAR instills in the young professionals a keen
sense of awareness
for the needs of Armenia and its people. They learn about Armenia’s
religious, political
and economic heritage by engaging with political and religious
leaders. They witness
firsthand the country’s need for better infrastructure, education,
health care and
employment by meeting those who benefit from FAR’s programs.
This year’s trip brought participants face to face with the orphans
who live at
FAR’s Homeless Children’s Center in Yerevan, which is a complete
full-service facility
for at-risk children. They met the elderly who rely on FAR’s soup
kitchen for daily
sustenance and survival. They shared coffee with students who attend
FAR’s Gyumri
Information and Technology Center (GTECH), students who, by furthering
their education,
are helping to rebuild a community still recovering from the
devastation caused
by an earthquake 20 years ago.
With each introduction and each conversation, the country they once
knew only through
the stories of others becomes their own. They develop a richer, deeper
that ultimately benefits their lives and the lives of their fellow
Armenian countrymen.
Armenia becomes real and more often than not, it becomes a place they
want to stay
connected with.
Daniele Sahr, a participant from the June 2009 trip put it this way,
"Each experience,
location, and person had a way of bringing to life the symbolic images
we carried
to Armenia with us and unfailingly introduced us to the palpable
realities of daily
life. While there was no question of the difficulties faced by so many
in this country
in need of modern infrastructure, more jobs, and greater security,
there was a consistent
underlying feeling of vibrancy, hope, and wide-spread intelligence
that I could
not help but want to be a part."
Daniele may be one of the many trip participants who soon return to
Armenia to play
a role in bettering the nation by participating in FAR’s programs,
doing anything
from supporting abandoned children to helping Armenian doctors enhance
their skills.
You can read about Daniele’s impressions of the trip on our
blog. (

FAR’s Young Professionals Trip is an excellent opportunity for any
Even those who may have traveled to Armenia in the past may gain an
entirely new
perspective of their country through such a journey.
Dates for the 2010 trip have not yet been announced, but the latest
and details will be posted on FAR’s blog ()
or website ().
Alternatively, just befriend FAR on Facebook
() or follow on Twitter
FAR will also hold an event for prospective participants in September
when trip
alumnus will share their experiences and photos. Details about the
event will be
announced later in the summer.
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About FAR
Since its founding in response to the 1988 earthquake, FAR has served
hundreds of
thousands of people through more than 220 relief and development
programs in Armenia
and Karabagh. It has channeled more than $265 million in humanitarian
by implementing a wide range of projects including emergency relief,
education, medical aid, and economic development.

For more information on FAR or to send donations, contact us at 630
Second Avenue,
New York, NY 10016; telephone (212) 889-5150; fax (212) 889-4849;

Fund for Armenian Relief | 630 Second Avenue | New York | NY | 10016