Reflections from New York: 2012 Summer Internship at Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United NationsBy: Rupen Janbazian | Posted on: 09.11.2012
Growing up in the Armenian Community of Toronto, the love for my nation and my people was instilled within me from a very young age. Over the years, I have been a very active member of numerous community organizations and initiatives, through which I have been able to give back to my community. However, it soon became clear to me that volunteering locally was not enough, and that it was time to give back to my homeland directly. I was lucky enough to volunteer in Armenia for three months last year. My experiences there were very rewarding, as I was able to contribute to my country directly for the first time, in a setting very different than the one I was used to growing up in Toronto. Upon my return to Canada, I would constantly think about my time spent in Armenia and how I could better engage with what is happening in our nation, and to actively to be a part of its development and progress.
I came across an advertisement for the ARF Eastern Region sponsored summer internship program at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations by chance, during my lunch break at work. I thought it would be interesting to apply, since volunteering at the United Nations would provide yet another platform from where I could contribute to my country and my people. Moreover, the internship would create the opportunity to experience work within the international arena; something that has been a life-long dream for me. My acceptance to the internship program was not only humbling, but also made me appreciate the opportunities made available for Armenian youth around the world who are willing to contribute their time and efforts for the betterment of Armenia.
I arrived in New York and was greeted by six other young and ambitious Armenians from around the world, ready to make a difference. Representatives of both the Eastern and Western United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Artsakh, each with a distinct educational and community background, coming together with a common goal to learn and to apply our knowledge to help our nation. Under the direct and careful care of the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Garen Nazarian, we were given a thorough and detailed study of the United Nations: its structure, its rules of procedure, and its charter. Moreover, Ambassador Nazarian personally provided an in-depth understanding of the Mission and all the important work it carries within the United Nations.
During our internship, we had the opportunity to meet several inspiring Armenian individuals working within the United Nations, and had the privilege of discussing numerous important issues pressing the Armenian people today. These individuals, who hold important and prestigious positions within the United Nations, took time out of their busy schedules to sit down and speak to us about their work, and provided significant insight into the inner workings of the organization. Over the past month, we have also had the honour to meet with several community leaders, activists, and other prominent Armenians, in order to have a better understanding of the very important relationship between the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. These individuals proved the strong will of the Armenian people and our continuous determination to achieve our nation’s prosperity.
The summer internship program at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations proved to be a rewarding experience on several different levels. First and foremost, the internship provided the opportunity for young Armenians from around the world to obtain a thorough and detailed understanding of our nation’s role within the international arena, and the chance to work within the world’s only truly universal global organization. Secondly, the internship allowed for seven talented and educated young Armenians from different walks of life to live together and develop lifelong friendships for many years to come. Lastly, our time spent in New York gave us the opportunity to meet truly inspiring individuals who prove to us, once again, that the Armenian people have made significant and lasting impacts regardless of which part of the world they have ended up in. We are lucky to have such organizations as the ARF that provide a platform for young Armenians who are willing to make a difference for their nation. All the avenues are available…It is up to all young Armenians to actively try to be a part of our nation’s growth.