Tag Archives: vanadzor

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’.

^7DDA8AFE5020AA3C982A3A493A5E7763BE32FCF15DE2B6ED5F^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrEvery year Europe celebrates Europe Day: the celebration of peace and unity. 9 May marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman deceleration’. On 11 May 2018, Europe Day celebrations in Armenia were officially launched. In the morning, Armenia’s President, Armen Sarkissian visited the office of the European Union in Armenia. The President congratulated the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski and the staff of the office and in their person the large EU family on the occasion of Europe Day and wished them peace and prosperity. The parties exchanged views on the agenda of Armenia-EU relations and programmes which are implemented in Armenia through the assistance of the European Union.
This year, Europe Day celebrations will be held in 6 Armenian cities (Ijevan, Hrazdan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Kapan, and Yeghegnadzor) and will be concluded in Yerevan on 2 June. The participants of outdoor public events will have the opportunity to learn more about EU-funded projects in Europe and Armenia, to get acquainted with projects’ achievements, to enjoy good music, to participate in various competitions, to win many surprise gifts, and to taste different European dishes. The embassies of 11 EU Member States accredited in Armenia will join in hosting cultural and entertainment events.

ARS_7121_Later that day, Ambassador Świtalski announced the launch of the pan-European holiday in Armenia during a press conference and informed about the upcoming events: ‘We consider Armenia as a member of the larger European family. I invite the Armenian pubic to join us during Europe Day celebrations, which we consider to be a shared occasion, a shared opportunity to show that we belong to the same family. This year, for the first time, Ijevan and Hrazdan will host these celebrations. We will also visit, as usual, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Kapan, Yeghegnadzor and, of course, Yerevan. As always, we dedicate many of our activities to youth, the future of this country. Europe Day is about values; in recent days Armenian youth demonstrated that they believe in the values of democracy, the rule of law, an independent, fair judiciary, etc. This is something that constitutes the common basis of our relations. Soon we will start the provisional implementation of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which is very important. We are looking forward to joint work with all our stakeholders’.

ARS_7052_The launch of Europe Day activities kicked off with a fashion exhibition organised jointly with the Fashion and Design Chamber of Armenia. 16 fashion designers presented exceptional clothing collections created especially for this occasion, inspired by the European flag. With EU support under the EU4Business initiative the ‘Business Club for Impact’ joined up with the ‘Fashion and Design Chamber’ to establish the Business Club for Fashion and Design in February 2018. This unites more than 60 individual designers who for the first time have created a joint platform for the fashion and design industry, aimed at promoting more knowledge and business skills in the world of design. The Business Club is funded by the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project, co-funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. It is being implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in the South Caucasus Programme.

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!

On 25 November the world stood together against gender-based violence (GBV) by launching the ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’ international campaign. This is an annual event which invites individuals and organisations to hold events aiming to draw public attention to this issue.
Representatives of the international community gathered to start the campaign and raise awareness about the verbal and physical violence and abuse that Armenian women and girls face. They also renewed their commitment to working with Armenian partners to protect the rights of women and girls, as well as to promoting women’s empowerment in Armenia.

ars_8098Dirk Lorenz, the Acting Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, welcomed the launch of the campaign: ‘Domestic violence and violence against women continue to be serious challenges. We are ready to help Armenia, and that’s why we have implemented the first human rights budget sector support programme. We are contributing to reform efforts, one of which is the adoption of the Law on Domestic Violence. While we welcome the efforts of the Armenian government, we feel that the situation is not progressing as quickly as we had hoped. We are looking forward to seeing a new Draft Law on Domestic Violence and renewed energy towards completing this process’.
Bradley Busetto, the UN resident Coordinator in Armenia, delivered a joint statement on behalf of the United Nations Armenia office, the US and UK Embassies, the OSCE office in Yerevan, and the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan.
On 2 December, within the framework of the campaign, the EU Delegation to Armenia held events in Vanadzor. That day Ambassador Piotr Świtalski met with Euroclub members, students and CSOs in Vanadzor. The Ambassador discussed domestic violence in Armenia and answered participants’ questions.
Ambassador Świtalski later attended the “Music plays against Domestic Violence” classical concert with Aram Khachaturian trio in Vanadzor, where he shared the EU’s vision for women’s empowerment in the country: ‘When you look at legislation in Armenia, women enjoy equal rights. However, in reality, pressure, discrimination and outdated thinking is still prevalent against women. The European Union promotes women’s empowerment – women are the biggest unused potential in Armenia. Therefore,we want to support the involvement of women in politics, business and all other sectors. It’s not a coincidence that most of the pieces of music we will hear tonight have been composed by women’.
The ‘16 Days of Activism’ campaign runs from 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, International Human Rights Day.

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On 31 May 2016, a press conference was held in Vanadzor to present the results and lessons learned from the “Lori region: a perspective on business promotion and agribusiness development” project. The project is funded by the EU and being implemented by Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP). Beneficiaries of the project, media and state authorities were all present at the event.
Since its start in 2013, the project has aimed to contribute to the development and implementation of effective policies on migration and development. To accomplish that, the Armenian diaspora has been involved in strengthening the positive impact of migration on the socio-economic development of Armenia. Direct financial assistance was provided to 13 entrepreneurs and small family businesses, and more than 300 people received technical assistance. Research was undertaken on communities in Jrashen, Pambak, and Vanadzor, and the project also provided investment and other assistance to create ties between the diaspora and local businessmen.
The project had two components: the first one being the formulation of policy to evaluate the link between migration and development; the second one being the development of the local economy. Since the project was implemented in Lori region, the conference was opened by the Deputy Governor of the region, Tgran Badoyan: ‘Local economic development plays a very important and significant role in migration. Projects like this are very important for the development and growth of the region. Economic factors can be changed through them and on behalf of Arthur Nalbandian, Governor of Lori, I say that we firmly stand alongside every important initiative that is being implemented in our region’.
Serena Fusco, Project Manager of CISP Armenia, made a presentation on “Maximising the social and economic impact of migration for a better future in Armenia”. It included explanations of the project’s background, activities, key results, challenges, lessons learned, and sustainability. Moreover, Serena emphasised the key impacts of the project: ‘We are so happy to see all these people siting here and to know that they have benefited from the project. We implemented it in this region because it has very many migrants and seasonal workers. People are preferring to work abroad because the salaries are higher. However, as a result of the project, we have had cases where people started their own businesses and stayed here’.