Archive for August, 2009

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia]: We’ll miss you, Celine

August 31, 2009

By Levon Lachikyan

Prior to her internship at the FAR Yerevan Office, Celine Kaladjian had an opportunity to participate in the FAR Young Professionals’ Trip, which gave her a great opportunity to tour the country with other young Armenians. However, this was not Celine’s first trip to Armenia.

Born in Marseilles, France, Celine was raised in an Armenian district of the city. Currently, Celine studies at University of Bordeaux III (France). She first discovered Armenia in stories documented by her great-grandparents, emigrants from Western Region of Armenia in 1922. But only the death of Celine’s grandparents in 2005 motivated her to visit Armenia for the first time.

In June 2009, Celine visited Armenia for the second time. On her second visit she wrote: “I felt like I was back home”. Two months were enough for the young Armenian girl to get involved in various FAR programs and visit many corners of Armenia. She shared her impressions with our FAR supports, through many stories she wrote for the blog.

Celine quickly made friends with FAR Yerevan and Gyumri employees, enjoying the open and warm atmosphere in the FAR offices. Everybody at FAR was truly saddened by Celine’s departure.

Celine on her last day at the Yerevan office

+ Celine at FAR Yerevan office

Credit : Levon Lachikyan

One of the benefits of Celine’s internship in Armenia is that she also started learning the Armenian language! We believe that on her next visit, Celine will communicate with her Armenian friends through her beautiful Armenian language. We are looking forward to seeing

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[Armenian Landscapes]

August 29, 2009

En Route from Gyumri to Yerevan

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Credit : Levon Lachikyan

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia]: Living in Barekamoutyoun

August 27, 2009

I live in the neighborhood around Barekamoutyoun (North-west Yerevan). When one of my Armenian friends first told me he knew of an apartment available in this area, I really didn’t know what to expect.  With a myriad of concrete buildings sprouting from the Earth, this district does not look appealing from the outside. Yet, within the masses of construction, one finds a very happy Armenian community.

When you think you’ve reached the end of a street in Barekamoutyoun, there’s usually a small passage that leads you to a quiet area, sort of a city in the city, if you will.  And you forget that you’re in Yerevan: people beat their wool, children play soccer, elderly play backgammon and street vendors display their colorful array of fruits.

Foreigners draw distinct glances from locals, but I know that this is more out of curiosity than anything else.  “Why would a foreigner come here?” they wonder.  When you approach a local in Barekamoutyoun, his or her face brightens.  For example, one street vendor lets out a childlike laugh every time I stop by his stand because he has to teach me the Armenian words for each type of fruit or vegetable.

No, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

– Celine

View from my window: Nighttime in Barekamoutyoun

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian

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[Listening to Armenia]: On the Banks of the Debed River with Sayat Nova and the Young Professionals

August 25, 2009

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

“Speak but one word, to say thou art Sayat Nova’s love” cries the last stanza of a love poem from the famous Armenian troubadour’s precious oeuvre of lyric poetry and songs. But how to choose that one word? How to tell him our culture’s love for him only grows stronger more than two centuries later?

Five days into the FAR Young Professionals trip, we stood at the grassy hillside of Haghpat monastery squinting across a 5 kilometer gorge on the right bank of the Debed River to glimpse Sanahin from a distance. Here, on this gleaming sunny Sunday we were witness to the passage of this extraordinary man’s life—born in Sanahin village only to die a few kilometers away at the hands of invading Persians in the Haghpat monastery.

Haghpat monastery

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Credit : Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

But, oh, what a 5 kilometers to traverse – a journey that he would begin as a village weaver, that he would continue as a diplomat in the royal courts of Georgia, that he’d again embark upon as a heartbroken lover left to sing the music of his soul across all the Caucasus, and that he’d end, martyred, as a devout monk back in his beloved birth land.

That one word eludes us, so we express it in passing down the tradition of his song from one generation to the next. In Armenia, we name schools and streets after him. The acclaimed eponymous US dance group lauds his name with each performance, revering his art through technical prowess and graceful expression.

Sanahin monastery

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Credit : Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

Sayat Nova, he is our “King of Songs” (the translation of this Persian name). He is, to borrow his own priceless words, “a golden cup, with water filled of immortality.” He stands out for us, forever, expressing Armenian culture through music and through the words of love, as if the sounds of his own kamancheh still rang, bowed across his knee, high up in the snowy peaks of the Caucasus.

Check out the charming and intimate sound of this old LP recording of Sayat Nova’s “Kani Vor Janim” backed by a traditional Armenian folk orchestra by clicking here.

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[USAID]: Armenia Mission Director Jatinder Cheema visits FAR Yerevan office

August 24, 2009

To commemorate the completion of work on the “Rehabilitation of Water Supply of Artashat Town & 27 Designated Villages in the surrounding area” Program, USAID Armenia Mission Director Jatinder Cheema visited the FAR Yerevan Office on August 11, 2009.

FAR Executive Director Garnik Nanagoulian and
USAID Armenia Mission Director Jatinder Cheema

+ During Dr. Cheema's meeting

Credit : Levon Lachikyan

Dr. Cheema met the FAR staff, toured the Yerevan office, and held a detailed discussion with FAR leadership. FAR executive director Garnik Nanagoulian briefly introduced the guest of honor, highlighting the history of FAR and its accomplishments in Armenia over the past 20 years.  A special discussion was held to address preparations for the event to be held on August 26, 2009.  At the end of the meeting, Dr. Cheema thanked for the hospitality and the warm welcome.

USAID Armenia Mission Director Jatinder Cheema discovers FAR’s history

+ Dr. Cheema at FAR Yerevan office 1

Credit : FAR Staff

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[Beneficiary Portraits]

August 21, 2009

Young Beneficiary from the Nor Nchaj Soup Kitchen (Yerevan)

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian

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[CSFC]: Beneficiaries stories

August 21, 2009

Gayane* is seventeen years old.  A few months ago, she knocked at the door of FAR’s Homeless Children Center seeking help.  For several years, she has withstood being abuse by family members.  One day, she decided to change her life.

She gathered her courage and left her house without letting anyone know about her plans.  She had nothing to lose and as she saw it, things could only get better for her.

And she was right.  She found shelter at the Homeless Children Center, and after a few weeks, she confided to the center’s psychologist that the Center helped her to feel like a respectable adult with a future full of possibilities.

Beneficiaries from the Children Center

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian

* For reasons of privacy the name has been changed.