March 17, 2004
Contact: Linda Yepoyan

Phone: 610-408-0988
Email: [email protected]

Birthright Armenia: Journey of Self Discovery

While young adults are deciding how best to spend their summer,
Birthright Armenia is actively recruiting on both sides of the ocean for
an influx of young diasporans from around the globe, who are ready to
start a journey of self-discovery in Armenia. Birthright Armenia is an
ideal match for young diasporans, 18-32 years old, who seek personal and
professional enrichment through what promises to be a life changing

Birthright Armenia is proposing an innovative and forward thinking
concept that begins with young diasporans, who are traveling to Armenia
with one of the many established service oriented programs, including:
Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Students Association-NY, Armenian
Volunteer Corps, Armenian Youth Federation, ACYOA, Canadian Youth
Mission to Armenia, Fund for Armenian Relief, Land and Culture
Organization, and Habitat for Humanity Armenia. For those who are
interested in extending their stay in Armenia beyond their program's end
date - making their sojourn to Armenia a minimum of eight
weeks-Birthright Armenia is providing community service placement,
Eastern Armenian language instruction, weekly seminars, fun-filled
excursions, and homestay living arrangements with local Armenian
families. The bonus, in addition to these valuable offerings, is that
Birthright Armenia reimburses each participant who takes advantage of
the in-country extension the cost of their entire roundtrip airfare,
paid back upon successful completion of the program. Each of the
organizations in the list above enthusiastically embraces and supports
Birthright Armenia's mission, objectives and program services, and is
hoping to increase their constituency base as a result of Birthright
Armenia's incentives.

For a brief overview of each organization offering a youth oriented
program to Armenia for the summer of 2004, interested individuals can
visit Birthright Armenia's Web site and click on "Program Offerings in
Armenia". It is here that young adults are introduced to the multitude
of organizations, their missions, trip offerings, timeframes, program
costs and contact information for each, in one centralized spot.

"I have felt there was untapped potential in expanding the experiences
in Armenia in the journey to and connecting with the homeland. Instead
of creating a new organization from scratch, which is so often the case,
I decided to support the existing organizations, allowing them to
realize all the dreams they have for their programs and what they can
become", says Birthright Armenia Founder, Edele Hovnanian. "For me, it
is critical for both the Diaspora and for Armenia to have our youth
fully connected to the homeland in a very positive way, so they can
develop into future leaders and have a positive impact on our community.
Given the millions of people we have in the Diaspora, and just a few
hundred young adults joining in on the programs annually, our goal is to
increase that number tenfold", adds Hovnanian.

One of Birthright Armenia's guiding principles is the belief that all
experiences in Armenia should encourage immersion into the native
population instead of viewing it from the outside. In addition to
encouraging homestays with Armenian families over hotel living,
Birthright Armenia is facilitating basic language fluency prior to and
during trips to ensure each participant gets the most out of their
experience and truly immerses themselves into the local flavor of the
country. The organization has supported the development of a computer
assisted Eastern Armenian language course, which will be available free
of charge on the Birthright Armenia Web site starting April 15, 2004.
For each Birthright Armenia participant, the learning begins
pre-departure with an interactive on-line tutorial, complete with
on-line testing capability focusing on speaking, reading and listening
skills. The program includes 10 on-line lessons, which cover pretests,
grammar, vocabulary, dialogues, reading exercises, and tests to gauge

For those interested in learning more about how to make a difference in
Armenia and build new relationships that last a lifetime, please visit
our Web site at The site describes what
programs and opportunities are available to young diasporans this
summer, as well as Birthright Armenia's offerings, eligibility criteria,
and application materials.

Birthright Armenia's mission is to strengthen ties between the homeland
and diasporan youth by affording them an opportunity to be a part of
Armenia's daily life and to contribute to Armenia's development through
work, study and volunteer experiences, while developing life-long
personal ties and a renewed sense of Armenian identity.

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