Washington, D.C. - Youth from Armenia and Artsakh described their lives today during a special webinar discussion hosted by the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) on December 10, 2021, moderated by the Assembly's Regional Director in Armenia Arpi Vartanian. The purpose of the panel was to give the Armenian youth a voice, and an opportunity to share their thoughts about the current realities they face on a daily basis since the 44-day war launched on Artsakh last Fall. The insights that each panelist shared provided a better understanding of the needs that should be addressed in Armenia and Artsakh, from border security to education and from healthcare to human rights. The nine featured speakers included Gulnara Shahinian, founder and chair of Democracy Today NGO which promotes human rights, peace-building, and gender equality; Gohar Aslikyan, a Berdavan (Tavush Province) resident, Berdavan Youth Coordinator and Board member of the Berdavan Community Foundation, who spoke about Armenian prisoners of war; Bagrat Hakobyan, a Tandzaver (Syunik Province) resident, a Metallurgical Engineer and Chief of Administration of the Tandzaver Village, and volunteer soldier in the 2020 Artsakh War, who spoke about security and new border realities; Armineh Grigoryan, a Stepanakert (Artsakh) resident with a Master's degree from the Crisis Management State Academy of Yerevan, who discussed the impact of war on families; Erik Lalayan, a resident of Stepanakert (Artsakh), graduate of Artsakh State University with a Law Degree, and a Quality Assurance Specialist in an IT company, who discussed the topic of health; Vahagn Poghosyan, a Chambarak (Martuni Village) resident, Computer Programmer and founder of the Agape World NGO, who fought in the 2020 Artsakh War and discussed life in rural communities; Marina Simonyan, a Stepanakert (Artsakh) resident, and lawyer who works at the Human Rights Defender’s Office of the Artsakh Republic as the Head of the Educational and Analytical-Research Department, who shed light on the plight of displaced families; Syuzanna Siradeghyan, a resident of Voskepar (Tavush Province), a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, who spoke about education; and Tatul Siradeghyan, a resident of Voskepar (Tavush Province), a Geographer and Political Scientist, who served in the Armenian Army and enlisted as a reserve soldier during the 2020 Artsakh War, who spoke about hopes for the future. "This webinar provided a unique opportunity to hear directly from youth living in Artsakh and in Armenia's border villages as they shared a glimpse into their realities," stated Assembly Regional Director in Armenia Arpi Vartanian. "They have been, and are, living in dangerous and unpredictable times, facing risks we may read about, but can only imagine. Working with Democracy Today NGO in Armenia, our panelists are reaching people around the world about the realities facing people in Armenia and Artsakh," she added. "We are grateful to Democracy Today NGO and our panelists for their time today and their daily courage. I know they very much welcomed this opportunity to share their lives with you," Vartanian concluded. "Real peace can be achieved only through the involvement of youth," said Gulnara Shahinian. "Passing through the horrors and losses of three wars, the new generation sees a strong and lasting peace as the only way to stability."
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.