AYF-YOARF Eastern Region hosts annual ARF Weekend in Watertown

2023 ARF Weekend, Watertown, Massachusetts

WATERTOWN, Mass. The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF-YOARF) Eastern Region hosted its annual ARF Weekend on April 14-16 at the Hairenik and “Papken Suni” Agoump. The educational weekend, planned by the AYF-ER Central Executive, welcomed 16 AYF-YOARF members from across the eastern region. The weekend serves to inform AYF members about the ARF, its platform, projects and ideology.

The program began on Saturday morning with a tour of the Hairenik Building, Antranig and Alice Karjian Hairenik Media Center and ARF Archives by ARF Central Committee member George Aghjayan. 

Hayg Oshagan began the lecture series with a brief summary of the ARF’s history through three main periods. Oshagan highlighted the importance of the diaspora and the role of the ARF in developing and strengthening diasporan communities. Oshagan also discussed the main ideological tenets of the organization: socialism, nationalism and democracy. The lecture was followed by thought-provoking and inquisitive questions by attendees.

Members of the Boston “Sardarabad” ARF Youth Committee also addressed attendees and shared the goals, purpose and accomplishments of the Youth Committee. Then, members were split into three rotating groups where they were able to connect with each ARF Youth Committee member and hear about their personal stories and experiences as a young ARF member. They discussed their motivations to join the ARF, as well their experiences in the organization. The small groups allowed for the AYF members to also share their own experiences and personal encounters and ask any unanswered questions. 

In the afternoon, AYF members walked to Filippello Playground, where they enjoyed the pleasant weather over lunch donated by Eastern Lamejun Bakers of Belmont, MA.

After lunch, AYF members heard from ARF Bureau member Raffi Donabedian, who presented on the ARF’s short and long-term goals in the diaspora and the homeland. A majority of his presentation was a Q&A with the AYF members, allowing them to drive the lecture and discuss any topic they wanted to learn more about. Donabedian engaged the members by incorporating modern-day examples and allowing them to see differences in the Armenian government, the Bureau’s thought process through several circumstances and the party’s ability to continue improving upon its successes.

The lecture series concluded with a panel discussion with Donabedian, Oshagan and ARF Eastern Region Central Committee members Ani Tchaghlasian and Georgi Oshagan, as well as members of the AYF Central Executive. Panelists were asked to provide more insight on the role of an ARF member, responsibilities, personal experiences and reasons for joining. The organization’s leaders also gave realistic examples of the dynamic role of an ARF member and the importance of joining as an AYF member. The overlap would allow for more role models in the AYF while giving a clearer understanding of the organization and its goals. 

ARF Weekend always seeks to be an educational opportunity for AYF members. This year was no different with a variety of speakers, some of whom were new to the AYF members in attendance. The attendees left motivated, invigorated and informed on the driving force within our community and homeland, that is the ARF.

With tangible examples of how the ARF affects the pulse and future of the Armenian community, it is easy to see how its role as a major player for the Armenian nation is firmly in place 133 years after the party’s inception.

The AYF-YOARF Central Executive now looks ahead to its next regional event, the 51st annual Junior Seminar, which will be taking place May 26 – 29 in Ligonier, PA. 

Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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