#YereWonderful is the motto of two events of AEGEE-Yerevan this year: the Network Meeting from 30th April to 3rd of May, and the Summer University, which will take place from 11th till 25th of July. Anushik Proshyan, President of AEGEE-Yerevan, explained in an interview with the Golden Times, why you cannot miss these events and definitely pay Armenia a visit.

Anushik Proshyan
Anushik Proshyan

GT: Why should AEGEE members visit the events of your antenna this year?
Anushik Proshyan: I think the answer is simple and straight – we are a #YereWonderful local, in a #YereWonderful country and we have #YereWonderful members! AEGEE-Yerevan is very young – just five years old – and at the same time we are one of the fastest developing and active antennae in the AEGEE network.

GT: Armenia is a very hospitable country, but also one with a very long history – especially this year it will be in the focus…
Anushik: Indeed, 2015 is very important year for our country. This year the international community commemorates the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, one of the gravest crimes against humanity. We believe that 2015 is a year when we shall think of the future, a future in which the justice is not denied and a future when all the nations will put an effort to collaborate for a more prosperous and integrated Europe.

NWM logo
The NWM logo

GT: What can you tell us about the Network Meeting this month?
Anushik: The visit of participants to Yerevan will enhance the ties and cooperation of AEGEEans. While visiting Yerevan the participants will have an opportunity to see one of the oldest and historically prominent European cities, to enrich the horizon of their cultural knowledge and view of the world – and at the same share their own cultural peculiarities. Additionally, our venue for the NWM is a major ski resort. It is one of the main destinations of the visitors of Armenia in the beautiful countryside.

The musical fountain is amazing

GT: How much will the participants of your Network Meeting get the chance to find out more about Armenia?
Anushik: Armenia is famous for being one of the oldest countries in the world with a rich history. Three days are simply not enough for introducing Armenia and Armenians entirely. Nevertheless, we plan to organize great city tours in Yerevan and Tsaghkadzor, during which the participants will see the most important sights. They will get interesting stories about them. Additionally, the participants will have a special opportunity to try the most delicious Armenian dishes, BBQ in particular, also fruits and vegetables, which are known worldwide for their unforgettable taste – and they will enjoy the warmth of Armenian sun and people.

GT: Can you tell more about the sightseeing during the Network Meeting?
Anushik: We will have a city tour in Yerevan during the first day, so the participants can enjoy our wonderful city and visit the main touristic destinations such as the dancing fountains of the Republic Square, the State Opera House, the Cascade Complex, the view of the biblical Mountain of Ararat, as the city lies on the feet of the mountain forming the shape of a Roman amphitheater. However, our NWM will mainly be hosted in the city of Tsaghkadzor, which is about 50 kilometers north of Yerevan. Its name literally means “valley of flowers” in Armenian and it is a popular health resort, which has breathtaking nature. Besides that there is the Kecharis Monastery, one of the most important religious complexes of Eastern Armenia and one of the best  preserved medieval architectural samples of the Armenian Highland. It was founded at the beginning of the 11th century.

Enjoy the Cascade Complex in Yerevan

GT: What can you tell us about the social programme of the Network Meeting?
Anushik: We plan to organize an Armenian party with national Armenian songs and dance workshops. If the weather will be good, we can organize a bonfire evening as well and of course the European Night will be the main cultural highlight.

GT: Let’s talk about your Summer University. What can you tell us about it?
Anushik: This is first time, when AEGEE-Yerevan organizes a Travel Summer University and we are very excited about that and full of motivation!  During our TSU we plan to travel through Armenian history and culture, visit the most beautiful places of our historical motherland! And we are pretty sure, that it’s going to be simply #YereWonderful!

GT: What’s the date of your SU?
Anushik: The dates are 11 to 25th of July. It’s the best period to visit Armenia, when the weather is going to be #YereWonderful, too!

The Summer University will show you many aspects of life and culture

GT: What’s the main topic and the three main highlights of the SU?
Anushik: As a main topic we chose Armenian culture, history, language and traditions. We are going to introduce Armenian culture, language, historical heritage, places of interests and simply the Armenian lifestyle and mentality. The Summer University offers workshops such as language and folk dance courses, graffiti and parcour trainings, camping and hiking. Our participants will experience a new culture and will gain intercultural communication skills. Our Summer University will also develop practical skills such as basic knowledge of Armenian language and practical experience in living outdoor – for example setting up tents, cooking food outdoor or making fire.

Armenia is full of amazing churches and monasteries

GT: Which cities or other interesting places will you visit?
Anushik: Yerevan, Sevan, Dilijan, Garni, Gexard and Tatev. During the journey around Armenia our participants will discover Yerevan, the pink city in the middle of mountains, learn one of the oldest languages and experience the beauty of folk dance, camping in Sevan near the second largest alpine sweetwater lake in the world, 1900 meters above sea level, see the gorgeous monasteries of Gexard, Khor Virap, and the Garni temple, the amazing waterfall Shaki and the biblical mountain Ararat! We will enjoy the breathtaking and incredible landscapes from the world’s longest aerial tramway, and Armenia’s medieval 9th century Tatev Monastery.

You will visit spectacular places

GT: Your antenna is indeed impressive. How did it all start?
Anushik: AEGEE-Yerevan was founded in summer 2010 by a group of enthusiastic civic activists: among others Shushan Khachatryan and Armenak Minasyants. Already at the Autumn Agora Istanbul 2010 we signed the Convention d’Adhesion and became an official AEGEE local in October 2010. During our five years of experience all of us have put all our energy, passion, enthusiasm and free time in it! We organized plenty of events: Model EU Conferences, Youth Unemployment Action Days, Summer Universitys, Eastern Partnership Action Days, Erasmus+ Info Days – and the list can be continued for a while. We have had both very happy and difficult moments together, but finally we made it happen; purely on a volunteering basis, by working hard and by believing in a single idea and values we stand for.

GT: How many members do you have now?
Anushik: Currently we have around 60 members. Once the number was a lot bigger, but now much more people are involved in the everyday activities of AEGEE-Yerevan. We really feel that our members are progressing and they become more professional in every matter. Today, AEGEE-Yerevan is one of the leading European youth organizations in Armenia, with the clear aim of bringing Armenian youth closer to the European Union and simultaneously raising awareness about Armenia within European youth circles.

AEGEE-Yerevan board
See you soon in Yerevan!

GT: What other activities is your antenna planning in 2015?
Anushik: Our current board is very enthusiastic! Aside from the NWM and our Summer University, there will be the Armenia Model EU Conference and our 5th anniversary, which promise to be the main highlights in autumn 2015. Our EU-funded Yard Games Project with the Estonian colleagues will revive the best traditions of forgotten yard games. Let me tell you a few more words about the Yard Games Project: we hope to make this initiative international in the framework of Erasmus +! Target group ate young people between 10 and 15 years, we are motivating them to leave their computer games and social networks and go to the yard, play there some interesting games – and be together not online, but live!

Get more info and apply!

SU info page: http://www.projects.aegee.org/suct/su2015/show.php?su_id=YER1
SU on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SU.AEGEE.Yerevan?ref=hl
SU as Facebook event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/883156638410168/
Contact e-mail: su.coordinator.aegeeyerevan@gmail.com, yerewonderful.aegeeyerevan@gmail.com
Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsnRg_C_f6E

NWM application page: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_kNLTK-swdCIJjGkkFY7I6vvGZRnZaNx5TIAHFWEJFQ/viewform
NWM Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1612999308921300/