Some Impressions of the Yerevan Summer Intern Program from a Visitor

2011 YSIP participants during their visit to the monastery of Geghard.

The following text, written by H. Mardirossian, appeared in the Nor Or newspaper on September 15, 2011 (p. 12). It is written by an Armenian-American adult who visited Yerevan this past summer and had the opportunity to see some of the valuable work of the AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program.

*   *   *

During my stay in Yerevan, I received an invitation from my friend’s grandson, Hovsep Ouzounian, Jr., to visit at the hotel, where some twenty young men and women, who were in Armenia to gain work experience in their fields, as participants in the AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program, were staying.

The hotel was located in the eastern section of Yerevan. It was a handsome structure with numerous rooms, endowed with all modern conveniences. Despite my having made several visits there, I can’t remember the exact name of the place now. The young men and women, who were gathered on the balcony, offered me Armenian dolma, which they themselves had prepared, with the assistance of a local woman. The dolma prepared by the youths was tasty. Equally enjoyable was the post-meal hospitality, part of which consisted of a surprise birthday party for their leader.

After the meal, we gathered in the yard, where various games and dances were going on. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to speak with a girl having graduated from San Diego University; my intention was to find out her goal. Despite her university degree, she was ready to move to the homeland and “find a job” there. “What about America?” I asked. She said, “I prefer here, even with less pay. I don’t even want to look for a job in my field in Lebanon, although I’m a Lebanon native. I’ll do something here; I’m more comfortable doing so.” I was sure that many were trying to find a job and settle in the homeland.

I asked her another question, saying, “You’ve been here for all of a month. What do you think is the difference between the way of life of a tourist and that of a native? The difference in means of earning a living? Don’t you think it will be difficult to earn a living here?” I received practically the same answer from many of them.

The next day we visited the workplace of Hovsep Ouzounian, Jr. and met his fellow workers and “boss.”

Samuel Zakarian, an Armenian native, had finished school in New York and is now the head of a company called Global SPC, which handles financial and legal matters for diasporan Armenian employers having come to make an investment in Armenia. He was extremely pleased with Hovsep’s work and expressed readiness to hire him permanently, further heightening the young man’s feelings.

The youths had wonderful impressions of the homeland, but there were realities and other obligations of life, which certainly they would deal with seriously upon their return to their homes, where they would make their final decisions. The AGBU Yerevan Summer Intern Program deserves appreciation and encouragement for its contribution to the preservation of national identity and preparation for life among the young generation.

 

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