Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: “The ARS is there where there is a need for help”

Since 1910, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) has been one of the major organizations carrying out humanitarian programs. The social, healthcare, educational and other sector-specific programs of the ARS truly deserve appraisal.

The UK Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society is one of the torchbearers of that idea. In an interview with Hayern Aysor, the chairwoman Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan presents ARS UK’s activities and initiatives. Let us also mention that the ARS UK Chapter will be celebrating its 35th anniversary on October 7.

Hayern Aysor: Mrs. Martirosyan, what is the purpose of your visit to Armenia this time?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: I am here on a very important mission. Along with the representatives of the 17 Chapters of the ARS, I participated in the opening ceremony of the ARS Soseh Kindergarten in Stepanakert attended by President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan; Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan; Chairwoman of the ARS Central Committee Carolyn Shmavonian and other guests. The ARS Western USA Chapter also showed its direct participation in the construction of the kindergarten.

After the ceremony, we visited military units of Artsakh to meet with the brave soldiers to encourage and show them the tenderness of a mother. Seeing the boys’ patriotism and unbreakable spirit, I got very emotional and would constantly hug and talk to them. Later, my fellow members of the ARS and I visited the office of ARS Javakhk and toured Tbilisi.

Hayern Aysor: Was this your first time in Artsakh?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: Yes, and I am impressed by the cleanness in Stepanakert, the beautiful nature of Artsakh and the warmth and sincerity of the people. We visited all the historic and cultural sites, and I loved them. During our visits to churches, we lit candles for our soldiers to serve in peace.

Hayern Aysor: The support to Syrian-Armenians in dire situations caused by the Syrian war had become a primary issue of concern for pan-Armenian organizations. What did ARS UK do?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: In general, the ARS has shown active participation in the solution to the issues facing Syrian-Armenians through the provision of various kinds of assistance. As far as ARS UK is concerned, I must say that we have supported Syrian-Armenians who have settled in the UK. If necessary, the assistance will be ongoing.

The ARS is not limited to helping only the Armenians. We are there where there is a need for our support.

Hayern Aysor: I am aware that you participated in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility”. Please, share your impressions.

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: First of all, it was a great pleasure to be in Armenia again and interact with Armenians from Armenia and the Diaspora. This was the third time I was participating in the Armenia-Diaspora Conference organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. I noticed that there were more participants this time. In terms of organization, everything was literately organized, starting from the young people’s volunteer work.

I think it was an effective conference. The only thing is that the issues raised and the proposals made need to be solved and implemented for the welfare of Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.

The speech by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan during the plenary session was very influential. She meticulously presented our future actions and the paths for partnership. I am impressed by the meeting with Armenian Member of the Turkish Parliament Garo Pailan and the speech by Executive Director of the Development Foundation of Armenia Armen Avak Avakian devoted to the current strategy on Armenia’s economy, the areas for reforms, the great potential for development and the shaping of a new image of the country. Basically, I think my participation was very important.

Hayern Aysor: Mrs. Martirosyan, please, answer my last question. What is the Armenia of your dreams?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: Armenia has all the preconditions for development and advancement. If we Armenians use our potential the right way, we can build our country through combined efforts. The Armenia of my dreams is an Armenia with a people who live the good life and with equal rights.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan

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