Participant of 2017 “Ari Tun” Program: “I have fallen in love with a girl from Moscow”

Valera Arakelyan is 18 years old and lives in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. He is in Armenia for the second time. The first time he visited Armenia was with his family and even managed to visit Artsakh. However, in an interview with Hayern Aysor, Arakelyan admitted that this visit was special in that he had the opportunity to visit historic sites, see historic monuments and learn the history of those sites and monuments.

“My grandmother was born in Uzbekistan, and unfortunately, our native language hasn’t been preserved through the generations. However, I plan on returning to Armenia next year to improve my knowledge of Armenia through the Armenian language courses that are part of the “Diaspora” Summer School Program.

The Armenian community of Samarkand is quite a large community. We live in Uzbekistan, but we never forget Armenia and do our best to provide financial assistance to our compatriots in the homeland. Most of the members of the community participate in the “Ari Tun” Program, and when they return, they say it is a wonderful program. Since this year was the last year that I could participate in the program due to the age limit, I decided that I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I decided to participate in the Program because I wanted to establish a closer connection with my homeland. Armenia is my home, the place where I feel safe and complete.

As I interacted with the other participants and after the visit to the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, I became convinced once again that the strength of an Armenian lies in his wisdom, intelligence and talent. Every Armenian is kind, cordial, talented and has achieved success in this or that field-this is my notion of an Armenian.

The best part of the Program was living with a host family. Living in an Armenian environment and with people whose ancestors were born and raised in Armenia and preserved their national customs and traditions, is wonderful.

The Program provided me with a wonderful opportunity to grow as an individual. I met Armenians from almost all parts of the world, and as I listened to stories about the hardships that Armenians in Turkey and Syria face, I felt great pain in my heart. The Armenians in Uzbekistan are free. The people love the Armenians, and I was extremely moved when I learned that Armenians face some hardships in other countries.

I had heard many stories about how the “Ari Tun” Program had led to the start of many love stories and how the participants had gotten married, returned to Armenia and settled in the country. Frankly, I have also fallen in love with a girl. She is from Moscow, but we want to come to Armenia. I want my children to be born, grow up and live in Armenia, in an Armenian environment and speak Armenian. Thank you, Armenia! I thank the Ministry of Diaspora for such an opportunity.”

Mary Aghajanyan

4th year student of the Faculty of Romance-Germanic Philology at Yerevan State University

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