Over 200 AYF Members from Across North America Attend
‘We survived the past and will fight for our future. A United, Free Armenia.’
(ARMENIAN WEEKLY) From May 15-18, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada hosted the biennial North American AYF Tri-Regional Seminar at Camp Kinkora in Quebec, Canada. An unprecedented 200 AYF members from Montreal, Laval, Toronto, Cambridge, Vancouver, St. Catharines, as well as from the Eastern and Western United States attended the three-day seminar. Members from 16 AYF chapters were represented.
The AYF Tri-Regional Seminar takes place every two years, with AYF Canada, AYF Eastern U.S., and AYF Western U.S. alternatively hosting the special gathering. The seminar provides a unique opportunity to unite AYF members from across North America to share their insight, enhance their knowledge, establish life-long bonds with fellow AYF-ers, and create new ideas to better the organization and further the Armenian Cause.
As this year marks the Armenian Genocide Centennial, the seminar’s theme was the AYF’s ultimate goal: a united, free Armenia. The organizers crafted the seminar’s program around the future—how the youth led by the AYF could build on the momentum of the 100th anniversary to drive the Armenian Cause forward. Topics focused not only on Hai Tahd and political activism, but also on bringing positive social and economic change in Armenia with the understanding that we will only achieve our goals through the collective efforts of a strong Armenia and a strong diaspora.
Lecturers included ARF Canada Central Committee chairman Raffi Donabedian; former chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America and prominent activist Mourad Topalian; Armenian National Committee of America communications director Elizabeth Chouldjian; Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada chairman Mher Karakashian; Armenian National Committee of Canada Executive Director Apraham Niziblian; and Professor of International Relations and ARF leader Dr. Khatchik Der Ghougassian (via Skype).
Led by the expert panel of speakers, the AYF-ers also had the chance to participate in practical workshops to learn and refine their skills in advocacy and activism. Through the workshops, the members made recommendations that the AYF can execute within our diasporan communities and in Armenia.
Throughout the weekend, participants also had the unique opportunity to create life-long memories with their fellow ungers. Entertainment at the seminar was provided through a variety of outdoor activities, including singing revolutionary songs around a nightly campfire, and the seminar’s very own Tri-Regional AYF band.
The seminar concluded with remarks by ARF Bureau Representative Hrant Markaryan, who joined the group via Skype. After an engaging Q&A session, Markaryan concluded his message by stressing that the AYF is the fuel that fires and strengthens the ARF.
Cover photo: Former chairman of the ANCA and prominent activist Mourad Topalian speaks to the AYF members (Photo: Ishkhan Ghazarian)