Blog Archives

All Change at Yerevan Zoo

The following is guest blog Gareth Wynn-Owen, Deputy Ambassador in Yerevan. Although I have been in Yerevan for nearly three years, I am still discovering fascinating corners of the city. Over the weekend, my wife Molly and our 16-month daughter Alicia visited the Yerevan Zoo. It was absolutely scorching as we chugged along in chaotic […]

Women Struggle to Enter Work in Armenian City

Single mothers in Armenia often find it hard to escape poverty because they are paid very little, if they can get a job at all. But those living in Gyumri, the country’s second-largest city, have a particularly hard time. The northwestern city still lives in the shadow of the massive Shirak earthquake of 1988, which […]

Silent treatment for Armenia

Silent treatment for Armenia

What started out as a routine day at a local high school turned into an emotional experience for anyone familiar with giving talks on the Armenian genocide. There we were at Chelmsford High School, ready to address five classrooms on the subject. By day’s end, close to 200 students would have heard our message about […]

Postcard from Armenia: “Just let me tell my story”

Postcard from Armenia: “Just let me tell my story”

The long summer day dissolved languidly into dusk as an Armenian friend and I walked down a busy road in Yerevan. The gaudy lights of an amusement park spilled onto the sidewalk. On the other side of the street, I could make out the darkened outline of a former Soviet theater, a nightmarish vision of […]

Growing Old in Armenia: Dealing with Alzheimer’s disease

Growing Old in Armenia: Dealing with Alzheimer’s disease

Part three of a four-part series The Muratsan University Hospital Web site advertises diagnostic services at its Center of Memory Impairment in Yerevan. But within the clinic, people with Alzheimer’s disease—a severe form of dementia—are nowhere to be seen. Sitting in a sunny office, past the drab hallways of the pediatrics unit where mothers holding […]

Growing Old in Armenia: The trouble with pensions

Growing Old in Armenia: The trouble with pensions

Part two of a four-part series The tinny noise of silverware and clatter of plates mingles with the sound of muffled voices and the smell of freshly cooked pasta at the Shengavit Soup Kitchen in Yerevan. The imposing cafeteria, with its ornate stucco ceilings, feels stifling in the summer heat as more than a hundred […]

Now Embarking: An Artistic Interpretation of the 1947 and 1949 Armenian Repatriation

Now Embarking: An Artistic Interpretation of the 1947 and 1949 Armenian Repatriation

I was born in 1960, in Yerevan, Armenia, yet spoke little Armenian and what I did speak was Western Armenian. As a young child, I always wondered why I came from such an exotic place when my father was born in Kenosha, Wis., and my mother was from Lyon, France. Only after years of hearing […]

Growing Old in Armenia: The Role of Seniors in Evolving Armenian Families

Growing Old in Armenia: The Role of Seniors in Evolving Armenian Families

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a four-part series that looks at issues affecting the elderly in Armenia. A combination of economic and political factors, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union, a devastating earthquake in the late ‘80s, and a war with neighboring Azerbaijan in the ‘90s, has left many Armenians struggling […]

Undernutrition in Armenia: A Matter of National Security

An estimated 171 million children under the age of 5 are stunted in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of those 171 million, 115 million suffer from wasting; 20 million from acute malnutrition; and almost 4 million die each year from health problems related to undernutrition. In other words, over 10,000 children […]

Avetyan Murder Engenders Waves of Condemnation in Armenia, Diaspora

Avetyan Murder Engenders Waves of Condemnation in Armenia, Diaspora

WASHINGTON (A.W.)–The wave of condemnation, outrage, and protests over the killing of Vahe Avetyan on June 17 continues to build in Armenia and the Diaspora. Here in the U.S., the ARF Eastern Region Central Committee contacted Armenia’s ambassador to the U.S., Tatoul Markarian on July 6, to condemn the crime committed at the Harsnakar restaurant […]

Armavia resumes air link for ethnic Armenians fleeing from war-torn Syria

Armavia resumes air link for ethnic Armenians fleeing from war-torn Syria

Armenia’s national air carrier Armavia has resumed the Yerevan-Aleppo-Yerevan flight, which was suspended in late March over escalating violence in Syria. The direct Armenia-Syria flight has great importance for Christian Armenians caught amid the internal strife in Syria. Armavia airline press secretary Nana Avetisova told ArmeniaNow that now the company will have only one flight […]

Dressed for Death: Demonstrators Remember Beating Victim Vahe Avetyan

Dressed for Death: Demonstrators Remember Beating Victim Vahe Avetyan

YEREVAN (A.W.)—On June 30, several hundred people participated in a candlelight vigil held at the Harsnakar restaurant in Avan, Armenia, where three military doctors were beaten on June 17. One of the doctors, Major Vahe Avetyan, died on June 29 from severe head trauma. The demonstration was organized by a group calling itself the “Self-Determined […]

‘Mer Doon’ Provides Brighter Future for Aged-out Orphans in Armenia

‘Mer Doon’ Provides Brighter Future for Aged-out Orphans in Armenia

HARTFORD, Conn. (A.W.)—It is a warm, calm Sunday afternoon, the kind that makes you want to doze off in your backyard hammock. It is coffee hour in the basement of St. George’s Armenian Church in Hartford. Sitting at a table is Julie Ashekian, the founder of “Mer Doon” (“Our Home”), an organization that lends a […]

Encounters with Syrian-Armenians in Yerevan: 1970 and Today

There’s talk here in Armenia about what’s going on in Syria and what this means for Armenians living there. Open a newspaper or listen to the radio and you’ll see this and that analyst giving their take on the civil war now raging in Homs, Damascus, Aleppo and points in between. Mostly, these commentators talk […]

Postcard from Armenia: Shopping Like a Local, and “Shnorhakalutyun, France!”

Postcard from Armenia: Shopping Like a Local, and “Shnorhakalutyun, France!”

A man wearing khaki shorts and sunglasses was blocking my way. In the cramped space between the meat deli and the shelves of neatly stacked lavash, or soft paper-thin layers of fresh bread, my half-full shopping cart and I came to an abrupt halt. A woman next to the khaki-clad man was arguing with a […]

Armenian Border Village Struggles For Normalcy Amid Heavier Fighting

Armenian Border Village Struggles For Normalcy Amid Heavier Fighting

Life in Chinari, a village in northeastern Armenia bordering Azerbaijan, has been far from normal for two decades, and the last few days have made it even more challenging and dangerous for more than 1,000 people living there. The mountainous settlement is located near the scene of a vicious gun battle that left three Armenian […]

FAR Banquet Honors Armenia’s Other Children

NEW YORK — “Every time I saw a suffering child in Armenia, it reminded me of 1915,” said Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, who is credited with being a founding member of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) Children’s Center in Yerevan. The year was 2000, and the center, then designated for Armenia’s most vulnerable children, was […]

Armenia ‘hate attacks’ expose anti-gay hatred

The acrid stench of burnt plastic still hangs in the air at the devastated basement bar, its walls blackened and fixtures melted by intense heat after the fire-bombers staged their nocturnal raid. The alleged “hate crime” bombing this month of alternative music bar DIY — popular with Yerevan’s young liberals and gays — has sparked […]

Armenian teenagers (and their parents) prepare for first end-of-school parties in two years

After a two-year break caused by Armenia’s switching to a new secondary education system, the country’s 1,400 schools are going to ring again the “Last Bell” on May 25 to usher in a new stage in the lives of some 40,000 teenagers leaving their years of secondary schooling behind. Unlike last year, when Armenia had […]

A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan

There has been much talk of the LGBTI community in Armenia lately. A bar, widely considered to be a gathering spot for those who think and act differently than most in this country, was recently firebombed and vandalized. The violence was condemned in large part only by the LGBTI community and its supporters, until two […]

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