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Birthright Armenia: Journey of Self Discovery

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  • Birthright Armenia: Journey of Self Discovery

    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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