YEREVAN—On February 6, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau Office of Youth Affairs and its Youth Council organized the opening ceremony of the international ARF Youth Conference in Yerevan.
Fifty-eight representatives from 33 organizations including youth and students from 14 countries were present and will be participating in this conference. Those countries include Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Canada, United States, Greece, Holland, Sweden, France, Australia and South America. Due to Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade, representatives from Artsakh will be participating remotely.
The five-day conference will feature key presentations from the ARF Bureau and ARF Supreme Council of Armenia about the current regional and local situation, the internal political reality of Armenia and an update on Artsakh, all while focusing on the role of the “nation-army” concept and the ideology of the ARF.
The goals of the conference are the following:
-Discuss the strategic goals and initiatives of ARF youth and student organizations in order to address their effectiveness and implement changes accordingly
-Provide a renewed focus on initiatives in Armenia, specifically in Syunik and Artsakh in order to direct pan-Armenian efforts to strategic regions for effective programs
In an environment with extreme individualism and the yearn for personal self-gain, the conference will place a special emphasis on educating politicized youth on our national ideology based on revolutionary ideals.
Conference participants will head to Goris and Kapan throughout the week where they will also hold official meetings and visit historical and symbolic sites.
The organizing body had initially planned for the meeting to take place in Artsakh. However, given Azerbaijan’s ongoing two-month blockade, the conference was forced to relocate to Syunik.
In his opening remarks, ARF Bureau member Hovsep Der Kevorkian affirmed that in order to overcome the current difficult security challenges of the homeland, it is necessary to root out adaptive and defeatist approaches. He stressed that ARF youth will continue to resist and express their sharp opposition to the current government Armenian authorities. Der Kevorkian also emphasized that Artsakh is Armenia’s shield, and any notion that we can live in peace in Armenia without Artsakh is a lie.
ARF Supreme Council member Argishti Gevorgyan underscored that the ARF youth have always played a revolutionary role in the ARF as he called on conference participants to become the spark that keeps the torch lit and to stand on the frontline of the struggle for the homeland.
AYF Armenia chairperson Gor Sargsyan noted ARF youth are present where there’s a struggle for Armenia and Artsakh. He said that if this conference were organized three years prior, those AYF members who were martyred in the 44 day war in Artsakh would have been able to participate, noting that the participants have a debt to these individuals, and they must show that Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan.
ARF Nikol Aghpalyan Student Association representative Haykaz Harutyunyan stated that it is necessary to shape our destiny and the youth must be the Mohican of revival.
In a video message, AYF Artsakh member Ani Hovhannisyan noted that ARF in Artsakh has a special role since it is the only organization that is able to capitalize on the potential of youth in the homeland and around the world in the diaspora. She added that the fight of Artsakh youth is a fight for national existence, and therefore, work must be directed toward Artsakh because without Artsakh, there is no Armenia.