AYF Time Travel

By Ari Shirozian, ARF Philadelphia “Papken Suni” chapter

The Armenian Youth Federation Eastern Region is pleased to present the winners of the 2024 AYF Camp Haiastan Campership Essay Contest. The first and second place winners in each age category were announced at AYF Junior Seminar over Memorial Day weekend. Shirozian’s essay, which won first place in the younger group (ages 10-12), answered the following prompt: Let’s time travel to 2034: What do you think Armenia will look like then? What steps can you take to build the Armenia you want to see in 10 years? What steps can you take to build the Artsakh you want to see in 10 years?

Central Junior Council with Ari Shirozian, Philadelphia “Papken Suni” chapter, and Alec Manicone, New York “Hyortik” chapter, younger group winners

Sometimes after I get ready for bed and say my prayers, I think to myself while lying in bed, what if I could build a time machine, and if I did, how could I use it to help others, especially my country and people? But then I think, it’s not how I can help them in the future, but what I can do today, so if I did travel into the future, I can see all the good things that have happened because of what I do today. My ultimate goal would be to travel into the future 10 years to year 2034 and see Armenia and Artsakh in a much better state than they both are today. As AYFers we all know that today the situation in Armenia and Artsakh is very bad. We lost the war with Azerbaijan, lost Artsakh completely and Pashinyan is ready to give away more of our Armenian lands. We need to work to reverse what has gone wrong and prevent more terrible things from happening. I believe the Armenian people around the world need to come together as one nation to do whatever is needed to survive and get back what is ours.

Now to see a better future for Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian people, we need to start doing things in new ways. For Armenia, I will start from this day forward to do whatever I can to help our brothers and sisters in Armenia and Bagrat Srpazan to wake up all Armenians who did not realize Pashinyan has betrayed our nation. I would do this by learning more of what has happened in the past, so we can educate people to not make the same mistakes. I would also show anyone that still is unsure about Pashinyan all the evidence they need to be convinced to demand a new leader for Armenia. I would also start telling stories about people who have decided to move to our homeland, to make Armenia a better place. I would tell them stories how people like my cousin and uncle have moved there to help build new technologies to help Armenia. By living there, you can support Armenian businesses by buying things in Armenia and to make sure the Armenian language and culture never dies by learning more Armenian in school. Telling my friends and their parents about this might make them want to move to Armenia too and take what they do very well in America and use those skills to make Armenia better. The diaspora Armenians that are doctors or nurses who I can convince to move there will make Armenia’s healthcare better and everyone will be healthier too. In fact, maybe less people will smoke if we do this in Armenia!

Next to see a better future for Artsakh. First, all these things need to change in Armenia with supporting the protests to remove Pashinyan and stop him from giving more things away. After we get that fixed, we can concentrate on Artsakh. To do this, as I grow up and eventually go to college and start a job, I want to work at a job where I can help Armenia’s military and soldiers better. I will come up with new ideas on how to protect our borders in a smarter way and to eventually use those new ideas to regain all the lost lands of Artsakh with new and better technology, like drones and smart bombs. It was a dream of mine to go see the mamig and babig statue, and if we can make the military smarter and more modern in 10 years maybe I can see it. I would also write letters to my congressmen in the United States to tell them what is going on, so the United States will be a good ally for Armenia and see all the evil things Azerbaijan did to us and help us so we can get Artsakh back.

I believe in a better future for Armenia and Artsakh because of the youth. I have learned so much stuff about Armenia’s and Artsakh’s history from going to school, going to Camp Haiastan and especially going to Seminar. The youth will give us a brighter future by remembering the people that sacrificed their lives for Armenia. I’m making a promise in this essay that I will do whatever is needed to make my country and nation strong again in any way possible. And when I come back to 2024 with my time machine, I will bring a picture of me standing by mamig and babig with the Artsakh flag!

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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