NICOSIA, Cyprus—Twenty-six Homenetmen members from 12 different regions and countries around the world gathered in Nicosia, Cyprus at the end of April for the second Homenetmen Youth Forum. Representatives Lilia Yousefian from Washington, D.C. and Narod Keyvanian from Detroit were selected to represent Homenetmen USA’s Eastern Region. The goal of the forum was to discuss a structure and framework for Homenetmen’s new third branch, the Youth Division. The purpose of this new branch is to engage Homenetmen members between the ages of 18-30 and retain their participation within the organization.
The forum’s opening ceremony began with unified singing of Homenetmen’s anthem, Harach Nahadag, followed by the Armenian and Cyprus national anthems. Opening remarks were presented by Sarhad Demirdjian, chairman of Homenetmen Cyprus, as he welcomed the international representatives and wished them a successful and joyful experience. Vatche Nadjarian, chairman of Homenetmen’s Central Executive Board, greeted the participants and emphasized the key role of youth in the mission of Homenetmen. The ceremony concluded with artistic performances of the duduk and solo vocalists, filling the room with sounds of the homeland.
The following morning, the representatives filled the meeting room with excitement and passion, as they were introduced to one another, selected a chairman and secretary for the meeting, created committees and worked through the agenda of the forum. Over the course of several days, the participants exchanged ideas and experiences, conveyed problems and concerns from their regions, and developed a possible means and platform for Homenetmen’s future Youth Division. The participants also elected representatives to attend the Homenetmen World Congress taking place in Armenia this October, the second such opportunity given to younger Homenetmen members to have a voice at the organization’s highest assembly.
In addition to the Youth Forum’s discussion sessions and presentations, the weekend also included fascinating and educational excursions for the participants. They visited a military cemetery honoring the Cypriot-Greek soldiers who gave their lives during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The representatives also engaged with Homenetmen Cyprus’s scouting activities, visited local Armenian churches and attended a dinner dance organized by Homenetmen Cyprus. Vartkes Mahdessian, the state representative of the Armenian community of Cyprus, also hosted the participants at his home, where they spent the evening singing Armenian patriotic songs.
As the forum came to a close, the representatives departed to their home countries enriched with Homenetmen’s brotherly and sisterly values, knowledge and inspiration to strengthen the organization for future generations. They said goodbye to one another and began to count down the days to one day reunite in Armenia.