WATERTOWN, Mass.—Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Supreme Council member Shaghik Maroukhian says the energy of today’s Diasporan youth is palpable.
“I can see the positive energy I take from them. Nothing is one-way,” explained Maroukhian during her short visit last week to the historic Hairenik Building. “I believe if I take something, I also give something back.”
Maroukhian served as one of several speakers during this year’s Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Senior Seminar held late last month in Marlboro, Massachusetts. At Senior Seminar, Maroukhian spoke about the social, political and economic changes taking place in Armenia and how the youth—those in Armenia and throughout the Diaspora—can influence this new landscape. “I opened up all the issues and put them on the table,” said Maroukhian on how she almost instantaneously established a rather magnetic and transparent relationship with the young people. “I was very much impressed by the quality of our youth, their perspective…their courage [in] facing the real problems and pointing out the real issues.”
Maroukhian’s morning at the Hairenik Building concluded her five-day visit to the eastern region, where she also met with His Eminence and Prelate Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian in New York and local ARF chapters in the Greater Boston area. “The ungers are thirsty to see someone from Armenia. They want to have this information firsthand,” said Maroukhian. “They are more encouraged when they feel you’re honest. There are a lot of challenges. And if you come here and say that everything is okay, nobody would believe you. We won’t have this reflection and lessons learned.”
That sense of accountability and comradery is very important to Maroukhian, who is the daughter of the late Hrayr Maroukhian, longtime chairman of the ARF Bureau. She has been living in Armenia since 1998, where she repatriated to connect with her heritage and identity. After editorially leading several ARF publications, Maroukhian entered the world of nonprofit organizations. She worked with World Vision Armenia for over 19 years until she was elected to the Supreme Council in April. She’s also still involved with the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation (HMF), which was organized by the ARF back in 2009. Maroukhian explains that the idea of the HMF is to educate young people about social justice through literature, translations, lectures, seminars and presentations. The Foundation has implemented several initiatives including Free Audience «Ազատ Լսարան», which is more inclusive and educates young people outside the party. “I believe in this work,” said Maroukhian. “I’m emotionally connected, and it’s inspiring me more to be able to succeed.”
This December will mark 21 years since her father’s passing. “He set a very high standard of devotion and goodwill. He has always been that to me,” reflected Maroukhian. She was proud to mention that during her visit, she witnessed her nephew Shant carry on his grandfather’s legacy and take his oath as a member of the party.