Looking back on a whole year can bring a mix of emotions; excitement for what’s ahead, but satisfaction and nostalgia for all that was accomplished in the past. Before ringing in the New Year, let’s hold on to that nostalgic feeling a little longer and reminisce on the past year.
In 2019 we welcomed a total of 94 participants, 38 professional corps, 37 volunteer corps, and 19 Service Civique volunteers from France! Our participants came from all walks of life, having experience in areas ranging from film and graphic design to teaching and counseling to even zoology. We are proud to have welcomed a total of 21 countries, including our first participants from Thailand and Norway.
How did we get here?
We started the year with a record of 30 participants in Armenia, in both Yerevan and Gyumri.
Six participants from Denmark did professional internships at the Civil Aviation Committee of Armenia. Traveling each day from Yerevan to Zvartnots International Airport, their work included inspecting fire safety features and assessing emergency preparedness.
In March we had our first annual AVC potluck cooking competition where we came together to cook different types of cuisines, enjoying the food, wine, and each other’s company. Not only did our chefs walk away with full bellies but also with awards for “best savory dish” and “best dessert.”
We have welcomed interns from Northeastern University’s Global Co-op Program since 2017. This year four students joined us, including Sofia Bergmann. She brought her excellent journalism skills with her to EVN Report which aims to bring a new and exciting narrative to the events shaping lives in Armenia, the region, and throughout the world. Her articles covered topics about saving the storks, tourism in Armenia, resilience in Artsakh, politics and the recent velvet revolution, as well as mental illness and homelessness.
Continuing with impactful job sites, an exciting new partnership was born this year as we sent Professional Corp volunteer Fredrick Danelian to the Cadastre Committee of Armenia. He brought his expertise from the U.S. to his position at the committee, maintaining state registry of real estate and geospatial information systems, promoting the development of the real estate market, as well as development and implementation of land policy.
As the leaves turned golden, it was time to explore all corners of Armenia. My Armenia, a cultural heritage tourism program, traveled with our participants South to the province of Vayots Dzor and Syunik, North to Shirak and West to the province of Lori. While discovering the beauty of each area, our AVCers tasted delicious local food, crafted with their own hands, hiked, danced, and felt the history through church walls.
This year we hosted repeat volunteers, meaning they had participated in our program in the past. Our fourth-time repeat volunteer Sharon Shoghig Giragosian taught English to professionals at Cadastre Committee this year. Shoghig’s students rave about her teaching style as she makes the classes fun, interesting, and humorous yet challenging.
Wrapping up the year we celebrated International Volunteer Day and gave back to the community of Artashat, the administrative center of Ararat Province. Making sure to check off resolutions from our list, we realized we did a good job this year.
And just like that our year zipped by. We invite you to join us in 2020. Come take in the new sights and sounds of Armenia. Every year is filled with unique adventures and we’d love for you to be a part of them!