How safe is it to go Nagorno Karabagh? How will the accommodation be? And what about the weather? These are just a few questions that the participants of the already now legendary Les Anciens Summer University Caucasus raised. The Golden Times asked Shushan Khachatryan, what the participants can expect in Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh. An interview with the main organisers of the Georgia part of the event will follow in the next days.

Golden Times: Shushan, in early October more than 30 AEGEE oldies are coming to Yerevan. How do you and your team members feel about that?
Shushan Khachatryan: AEGEE-Yerevan and all our team members are very excited to welcome the AEGEE oldies! It is our pleasure to show our country to the most experienced members of our lovely association!

Golden Times: Can you present yourself and your team in a few sentences?
Shushan: Firstly I was planning to coordinate the whole project, but as I have to leave for the Netherlands to pursue an MBA, the whole coordination of the Project will be done by Meri Dallakyan. The team is quite active and motivated. You will hear more about them soon!

Golden Times: Your antenna is just a couple of years old, but very active. What can you tell us about it?
Shushan: True, this September we are going to celebrate the second anniversary of AEGEE-Yerevan, but it seems that we are in AEGEE for ages. We invested so much energy to establish AEGEE-Yerevan and I guess this huge energy and enthusiasm is the reason of that.

Golden Times: How come that you founded AEGEE-Yerevan?
Shushan (smiles): This is the question I am being asked the most. I found out about AEGEE while searching for a Summer University to attend. And I wondered why there isn’t any antenna in Yerevan… and that’s how it started. I am now sooo proud to go through all the difficulties together with my friends and co-founders, because now I see the fruits of our efforts.

Golden Times: Your antenna has a very busy schedule active this year. What kind of events are you organising this year?
Shushan: In the beginning of September AEGEE-Yerevan is going to participate to a big Youth in Action Project on conflict resolution, which has been planned and will be implemented in partnership with AEGEE-Oviedo. It will gather 30 participants from all over Europe. After that we will have two big local projects, mainly for our members, that is a Local Training Course and of course the celebration of our second birthday. Later on comes the Les Anciens SU and just after finishing with this project we are hosting the participants of another big-big Youth in Action project which is being done in partnership with AEGEE-Athina. We will again have 30 participants here!

Golden Times: Impressive!
Shushan: That is even not all. Right afterwards, in the beginning of  November, we are going to shake the whole AEGEE Network with another sensational project – the Model EU Youth Conference, which will be organized for 130 participants and will be supported by the EU Delegation to Armenia. Who knows, if we manage to survive after these all, we may end the year with something even more bigger.

Golden Times: But first the AEGEE oldies are coming… We are going on a lot of excursions. How come? Provocative question: you don’t like Yerevan?
Shushan: I am fond of Yerevan, but as it is not a big city you have to travel also outside to some wonderful sights of Armenia,

Golden Times: What do you like most about your city?
Shushan (smiles): I like the smell, the atmosphere, the corners where I grew up. I like that when you walk in Yerevan you feel you are surrounded with all your friends, saying hi all around… I like it because it is warm, it is my home… I like everything!

Golden Times: Among the excursions in Armenia, which is your personal favourite?
Shushan (smiles again): I have to admit we selected all our favorite excursions, but in particular I like the Noravank and Tatev Monasteries – you will have some mystery there, you’ll see!

Golden Times: We are also going to Nagorno Karabagh. Some people wonder how safe it is to go there… What can you say?
Shushan: In spite of the conflict, it is safe to travel to Nagorno Karabagh as we are not going to take you to the borders, so no worries about that.

Golden Times: How would you describe life in Nagorno Karabagh comapred to Armenia?
Shushan: Nagorno Karabagh is a wonderful and breathtaking place one should visit. To say that life differs a lot, would not be right. Life in Nagorno Karabagh goes on by its daily routine: people work, the level of unemployment is not so high, education mostly is free of charge and the state institutions are working properly. I guess, the best way to compare Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh  will be just visiting it and getting to know the situation right at place.

Golden Times: How and where will our accommodation be in Yerevan and Nagorno Karabagh?
Shushan: You will have a nice hostel in the heart of Yerevan, and a home stay and a hotel in Nagorno Karabagh.

Golden Times: What about food? What should we look forward to?
Shushan (smiles): You should prepare your appetite, Armenian food is delicious!

Golden Times: How will we spend the evenings? Culture, parties, open-air pubs…?
Shushan: Surely you’ll have them, but we are on the process of finalizing the programme and will know the details close to the dates of your arrival.

Golden Times: Will it be cold or rainy in October? What clothes shall we bring?
Shushan: In October we usually have a very nice weather with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. Anyway some warm clothes can be necessary.

Golden Times: Anything you’d like to add?
Shushan: At the moment we just would like to say that we can’t wait to welcome all the participants and wish all of them a nice trip to Armenia! Ah, and I have a small video of Yerevan which can be interesting to watch: