90 years of paving the way with the AYF

Meghri Dervartanian speaking at an October 2020 protest in Boston, Massachusetts

In honor of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF), I pause to reflect on my 15 years as a proud member and acknowledge a period of significant personal growth and self-discovery. This organization has strongly reinforced my reverence for my country and her people, who embody all aspects of their rich heritage within their communities, homes and schools.

The AYF-YOARF incubated youth, like me, who grew up with an ideal vision and hope for a free, independent and united Armenia woven into the very fabric of our lives. We grew up to accept this as an absolute truth, not because we didn’t know better, but because we wouldn’t accept anything less for our beloved homeland. Today, it’s hard not to question this belief and lose sleep over figuring out how to stay true to this organization’s mission. It’s a mission that is true and loyal to our homeland beyond any doubt, but it’s also one that is proving to be difficult to attain after 90 years. A free, independent and united Armenia is an ideal we have yet to accomplish. 

I am not afraid, however, because the AYF’s character, like that of the Armenian people, is unyielding, a product of its journey, adversities and victories; a character that has overcome many obstacles and has proven its instinctual desire to survive and provide for our homeland, our people. The AYF has paved the way for a future that we might not see, but the next generation will. 

To those who have the honor of calling themselves alumni of the AYF-YOARF, thank you for creating opportunities for our future generations. To my fellow AYF members, the torch has been passed over to us to remain steadfast in our commitment and remain dedicated to our mission at all costs. We must jump at every opportunity that presents itself; the more you give, the more you gain in this organization. 

Be the counselor at Camp Haiastan who impacts a young person’s summer and life or the “Հայ Ժամ” teacher who encourages campers to want to speak Armenian. Take part in the AYF Internship Program in Armenia and enhance your skills while also connecting with our people and our land. Go to Junior Seminar and be the role model that you once looked up to. Join a central council and help organize an event that you always looked forward to attending. Plan the educational that you dreamed of hearing or giving. To the future generation, don’t ignore all that this organization has to offer; use your passion and love for our homeland to help the AYF grow to its fullest potential.

Let us remember all that the AYF-YOARF has given us for the past 90 years: Bank Ottoman and Musa Dagh; Lisbon 5 and February Uprising; Karekin Njdeh and Antranig Pasha; Shushi and Van; AYF Internship and Javakhk; Junior Seminar and Armenian Language Workshops. Let’s remember that we are and have always been the revolutiona revolution that fights for all aspects of our homeland, people and culture; a revolution that will live on eternally.

Meghri Dervartanian

Meghri Dervartanian

Meghri Dervartanian is a member of the AYF-YOARF Greater Boston "Nejdeh" Chapter and currently serves on the Central Executive. She is also a Homenetmen scout and athlete. She is currently pursuing her masters in elementary education at Lesley University and is working full time at St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School.
Meghri Dervartanian

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