On July 4th 2013 I gave a presentation to the Armenian Institute in London on my personal views on Armenia, Armenians, and Artsakh. This was presented in conjunction with many photographs that I had taken during my travels there. I hope that all of the audience, most of whom will not have visited, gained a special insight into Artsakh, and some of the issues facing the people.
At the end I linked in via Skype to Susanna Petrosyan from the Artsakh Youth Development Center who gave a speech on her work in Artsakh. This was followed by some questions. This link into Susanna came as a pleasant surprise to the audience and they valued this special live connection, direct to the heart of Artsakh. I hope to be able to return on a future occasion to present more of my work to them
This is the transcript of Susanna’s speech:
I am very happy to join you from the sacred land of Artsakh.
My first meeting with the Diaspora of England was in 1998 when I participated in the Conference on Human Rights in London at the invitation of Baroness Caroline Cox. It was the start of my readiness to protect the rights of my people and to serve my country. In 2006 I have founded the first English Speaking club in Artsakh, which later in 2011 turned into Artsakh Youth Development Center NGO http://www.facebook.com/artsakhyouthdevelopmentcenter. The aim of the organization is
- to enhance the role of the youth in building civil society
- to promote volunteering and team work among the youth
- to advocate youth rights
- to promote the scientific, educational, cultural development of the youth
- to involve the youth in peace-building process
- to strengthen the Artsakh-Armenia-Diaspora ties among the youth
- to enhance the visibility of Artsakh in the world by building bridges from Artsakh to the rest of the world
All this are achieved through my volunteering work and a variety of big programs but with very small funding from the NKR Ministry of Youth Affairs and Culture and donations of local businessmen. We cooperate with the local governmental and non-governmental organizations and mass media, as well as with the organizations from Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora of such countries as Russia, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, Germany and France.
As for England we have some cooperation with HART charitable organization of Baroness Cox, who has become a legend in Artsakh, Philip Clayton from Oxford, who did volunteering in Artsakh many times, and Russell Pollard, a photojournalist from Derby, who has become a “21st century enigma for Artsakh”.
In 2012 I started to collaborate with Russell Pollard in the realization of his genial project www.artsakh.org.ukwebsite, which serves one of the best tools in making Artsakh visible worldwide. On behalf of the people of Armenia and Artsakh I would like to thank him for his devotion to our country and the hard and difficult work he does for us, all on a volunteer basis. His articles are penetrated with such an Armenian spirit that the Azeris often put comments on them that “Russell Pollard is not an Englishman but an Armenian with a false nickname”.
I also want to thank the Armenian Institute www.armenianinstitute.org.uk for organizing this event, which hopefully will promote to the strengthening of the ties between the Diaspora of England and Artsakh. We are ready to cooperate with you and to host you in the very heart of Armenia – The Republic of Artsakh.
Thanks for attention!
God bless you all!