TORONTO, Ontario—On June 10, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada “Simon Zavarian” Chapter hosted an information session in Toronto regarding recent environmental and social rights violations in Armenia. The event focused on the deforestation of the Teghut forest and the illegal construction of kiosks in Yerevan’s Mashdots Park, and was broadcasted live online.
Among the attendees was Jim Karygiannis, PC, MP, Scarborough-Agincourt and member of the Armenian Canadian Parliamentary Group, who voiced his support for the cause and the activists. He commended the youth for hosting the event and urged attendees to “practice the power of the pen” and to persevere.
The executive director of the Armenia Tree Project (ATP), Jeff Masarjian, was invited from Boston, Mass., to further illustrate the issues in Teghut and the potential damage the mine can cause in the region. He discussed in detail the unjust actions the Armenian Copper Program has taken to make open-pit mining a reality in the area.
During the event, the attendees connected live with the leaders of the Save Teghut initiative via Skype, gaining a first-hand perspective of their ongoing efforts in Armenia. The activists voiced their support for the Toronto-Armenian community and encouraged other regions to take note and host information sessions to spread awareness.
During the event, photographs of Armenia’s landscape, donated by young Armenia-based photographers Azat Gevorkyan and Daron Titizian, were displayed. The attendees also participated in a photo petition, urging the Armenian government to take immediate action regarding the deforestation of Teghut and other political, social, and environmental injustices in Armenia.
The AYF Canada “Simon Zavarian” Chapter also collaborated with the ARS Armenian Day School, asking students to draw what they would like Armenia’s green spaces to look like in the future. Their works were displayed during the event and later sent to the activists in Armenia. Armenia’s youth has united in taking a stand against political, social, and environmental injustices, with the agenda to change the future of the country. The AYF Canada “Simon Zavarian” Chapter commends this movement and will continue to collaborate with the activist to ensure a fair and just society in Armenia.