Tag Archives: Samvel Balasanyan

086A0559On 19 May Vanadzor was ready to host Europe Day celebrations. On Hayk Square people of different ages gathered to enjoy the many activities on offer. European cultural diversity was presented through shadow theatre, mini-shows on different European countries, delicious dishes, competitions, and surprise gifts. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and the Mayor of Vanadzor, Mamikon Aslanyan, also joined participants.

ARS_0063The EU Ambassador was thankful for the opportunity to celebrate Europe Day in beautiful Vanadzor, Lori marz: ‘We have come here again to celebrate Europe Day. I hope you will enjoy your time throughout the evening as we have prepared a lot of activities for you. We believe it is a good tradition to save one day a year for this celebration. It is our common joy – we consider Armenia to be an integral part of the wider European family. This celebration is more than about projects implemented in Armenia. Of course, the EU is the biggest donor and investor in Armenia, but it is the European spirit which we share, the spirit of freedom, dignity and solidarity’.

ARS_0090Mayor Aslanyan wished everyone a good time: ‘May is a month of joy for all Armenians and Europe Day has been added to our many holidays. It is already the fourth year that we have celebrated this celebration of peace and unity in Vanadzor – it is becoming a good and awaited tradition for our citizens. I am happy that we have had the chance to share this joy with our European friends’.

ARS_1150The next day it was Gyumri’s turn to welcome the Europe Day celebrations. This year, the celebrations are being held under the slogan “Europe is here”. For these celebrations, the Europe Day Anthem is written which is performed by children from different Armenian marzes. The main message of this Anthem is that Europe is here and ready to work for the benefit of all Armenian citizens. Ambassador Świtalski and the Mayor of Gyumri, Samvel Balasanyan, welcomed the people gathered in the Theatre Square.

ARS_1362Ambassador Świtalski thanked everyone for coming and celebrating together: ‘This year we are targeting the younger generation. We have brought music, dance, theatre and gifts for you. I hope you will enjoy as for us these celebrations are about joy. We, of course, face many problems and challenges, but we believe that once in a year we should share our joy. Europe Day is about hope and a better future’.

ARS_1403Mayor Balasanyan welcomed guests and citizens of Shirak marz: ‘Europe Day has been celebrated in Gyumri for years, marking our friendly relations. Together with the European Union, Shirak marz and the city of Gyumri are cooperating and implementing various projects. We will develop sectors, such as energy, culture, tourism, and others. We have an arrangement with the Ambassador to develop this cooperation further’.

On 25-28 January the 5th National Selection Conference of European Youth Parliament (EYP) Armenia took place in Gyumri, Shirak marz, as part of the “Democratic Citizenship: Obtaining, Developing, Empowering” (DECODE) project. More than 100 participants gathered from all over Armenia and Europe to discuss various topics in their respective committees. On 26 January the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski and Samvel Balasanyan, the Mayor of Gyumri participated in the conference’s official opening ceremony.
EYP Armenia was founded in 2012 and become a successful network and platform for active youth in Armenia. It has given young people the chance to express their viewpoints, develop critical thinking, and become a coherent part of socio-economic and political life, both in Armenia and the EU. Since then, more than 40 regional, national and international projects and events have been implemented, engaging around 4,500 young people from Armenia (as well as hundreds of foreign participants).

ARS_7158Ambassador Świtalski wished all conference participants success: ‘I think it is very important that young people come to Armenia from different European countries and consolidate the bridge between Armenia and Europe. We, the European Union, want to support the young generation. In Armenia young people are our primary target. The EU has been working through different projects and ideas; one of the most notable is the EU4Youth programme. By 2020 the programme will award €20 million in grants to 100 organisations to increase young people’s civic engagement and participation in political discourse, as well as their skills development, employability and employment. We are now starting 5 projects; 4 of them will be implemented in Armenia. We will soon launch them and I am very happy that Armenia is taking the lead in implementation. All four projects will target youth, particularly disadvantaged youth, and support their education, skills development and employability’.

ARS_7255During the conference, participants discussed various social issues, from unemployment to security. After four days of discussion, the participants have to present open voting solutions to the European Youth Parliament’s Berlin Office, as well as to relevant state and private agencies. Participants from European countries also had the opportunity to learn about Armenian culture, history, and heritage. Upon completion of the Gyumri National Selection Conference, the 9 best-performing participants were selected by the panel to take part in the 87th International Session of the European Youth Parliament in Vilnius, which will take place in summer 2018.

Europe Day celebrations reached the Armenian marzes after having been officially launched in Yerevan. The first stop of regional celebrations were in Gyumri (Shirak marz), Vanadzor (Lori marz), and Dilijan (Tavush marz).

Gyumri
Gyumri was the first city to host events on 12 May. In the morning, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, held a meeting with the Mayor of Gyumri, Samvel Balasanyan.

11After the meeting, Theatre Square opened Europe Day celebrations with an Information Fair. More than 20 stalls presented EU-funded projects, covering topics such as the environment, agriculture, business, investment, civil society, education, innovation, human rights, and youth. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the booths and learn about the programmes – there was a special booth for children to draw, as well as musical accompaniment from a DJ.

1After touring the booths, the Ambassador addressed the crowd and informed them about future plans: ‘We have a solid tradition of starting regional Europe Day celebrations in Gyumri, which makes me glad. Altogether we, the EU, have contributed more than €500 million to the development of Armenia. One of our priorities is to bring more projects to Gyumri and the rest of Shirak marz, to be more present and engaged here. We want the citizens of Gyumri to benefit more from the European Union’s activities in Armenia’.

Children from the Gyumri music schools performed the Anthem of Europe to open the Europe Day concert, which included special guests Hayk Petrosyan and Masha Mnjoyan. A wide variety of people gathered in front of the stage to sing and dance alongside their favourite performers.

Vanadzor
Vanadzor was the next city to join in the celebrations of peace and unity on 13 May. As in Gyumri, Ambassador Świtalski met with Mamikon Aslanyan, the Mayor of Vanadzor in morning, before an Information Fair on Hayq Square.

2This time more than 10 EU-funded projects focusing on agriculture, business, civil society, education and innovation were presented, giving visitors a chance to learn more about the EU and its assistance, and to feel closer to this engagement with the wider European family. Children were particularly drawn to the drawing tent, while adult and teenage residents enjoyed the ambient music of a local DJ and the good weather while browsing the stalls.

ARS_8279Ambassador Świtalski addressed the crowd after visiting the booths, highlighting the importance of Vanadzor: ‘Vanadzor is very important to the EU – the city is well known not only for its beauty but also for its very talented and dynamic youth. The EU is the biggest donor in Armenia, together with our member states we provide more than 50% of all international support to Armenia. We want more to work in the Armenian marzes, in cities like Vanadzor. We want to continue to support infrastructure, the development of tourism, and small business’.

22Children from the Eduard Kzartmyan music school in Vanadzor performed the Anthem of Europe, paving the way for guests Hayk Petrosyan and Masha Mnjoyan, whose music was greatly enjoyed by an audience that sang and danced along until the end.

 

Dilijan
The final stop of the week was Dilijan, on 14 May. This is the first time Dilijan has hosted Europe Day celebrations. Ambassador Świtalski and the Mayor of Dilijan, Armen Santrosyan first met with members of the Dilijan Euroclub. Despite the heavy rain, people still flocked to visit more than 15 booths on EU-funded projects, covering agriculture, business, civil society, education, human rights and innovation.

ARS_8789The Ambassador congratulated citizens of Dilijan for their first participation at Europe Day before the concert began: ‘I want to thank all our partners in this beautiful town for helping to organise this wonderful event. I am here with a large team from the EU Delegation, it is a pleasure for us to celebrate peace and unity with you. This year our celebrations are entitled ‘The European Union for Armenia’ – I am happy that the EU is sponsoring projects in Dilijan and in Tavush marz. I want to use this opportunity to let you know that we want to come more often and do bigger projects in Dilijan. There is no age discrimination, but we want to focus on young people. I want to thank all young people for coming and developing a good association with the EU. Enjoy the evening and remember that we are here for you and for the modernisation of Armenia’.

3Children from Dilijan music schools also performed the Anthem of Europe and passed the stage to Hayk Petorsyan and Masha Mnjoyan. The weather had cleared by the time the concert began so the audience were able to let loose!