NEW YORK—Summer 2019 at the United Nations was filled with events, conferences, and exciting panels. For the Armenian Relief Society, summer was a time brimming with excited, creative minds joining us here in New York City for the ARS United Nations internship. Interns came from all across the United States: California, Wisconsin, and, of course, locally, New York. In addition to completing individual projects that tied their learning from events and meetings to the work of the Armenian Relief Society and the greater Armenian Cause, each intern attended meetings at the United Nations — representing the ARS.
Alec Mesropian and Anoosh Kouyoumdjian were the first interns to join the ARS at the UN this summer. For his project, Mesropian focused on the ARS’s involvement in the Geneva Peace Week, and proposed ideas to the Central Executive board on how the ARS can creatively continue addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through conferences such as this. After attending an event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, titled “Investing into Climate Smart Economies: Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Development Goals,” Mesropian highlighted the potential of the ARS to promote climate change mitigation by advocating for sustainable development in its efforts to address the humanitarian and social needs of Armenians in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Mesropian noted that, since the lowest-income members of society are often times the first and most vulnerable victims of climate change, increasing the insulation of homes and apartment buildings in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh can result in reduced energy consumption, monetary savings, and more hospitable homes.
Kouyoumdjian focused greatly on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the upcoming 25th anniversary of this historical document outlining women’s rights. She had the opportunity to attend a training held by the Committee on the Status of Women focusing on the UN language in the fight for women’s rights. “I was seated at a table with 10 other women. Learning about their lives and their respective organizations was inspiring, as many of them have spent decades of their lives devoted to the fight for women’s rights. As one of the youngest participants, this opportunity showed me the importance of intergenerational conversation,” noted Kouyoumdjian. “Youth need to be actively involved in conversations and events that have a direct impact on their own future.”
The second half of the summer brought two more interns to the ARS UN team: Azniv Khaligian and Arev Ebrimian. Each focused their projects on the presence of Civil Society at the UN. Khaligian and Ebrimian researched organizations with missions emphasizing cultural goals, children’s rights, quality education, and more for potential partnerships with the ARS.
All interns used their time at the UN with the ARS to explore fields that they may not have been previously exposed to in their studies and found applications to the Armenian community globally. For example, Khaligian and Ebrimian learned about geospatial technologies as effective ways to identify barriers and solve problems in gender equality. They brainstormed ideas for using Armenia’s rapid rise as the region’s technology hub as means for mapping and analyzing inequalities through geodata.
We recently welcomed a new intern, Talar Hovsepian, to the ARS UN team. Earlier this week, along with ARS representatives, she attended a reception on the occasion of the 28th Anniversary of Armenia’s Independence Day hosted by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations. It included a carpet exhibition by Megerian carpets, dance performances by Shushi Armenain Dance Ensemble and a violin performance by Diana Vassilyan. “My favorite part of the event was the speech given by H.E. Mr. Mher Margaryan. He summarized Armenia’s history and the struggles faced by the Armenian people, yet emphasized the strength and positivity they had throughout all the hardships,” Hovsepian said. “It was also really nice to see people of other backgrounds enjoying our Armenian culture and food.”