Canadian-Armenian students hold convention in Montreal
Published: Tuesday June 19, 2012
Montreal - For the fourth consecutive year, ARF Armen Karo Student Association organized its annual Armenian-Canadian Student Convention which was at Montreal's McGill University.
On May 12 and 13 73 registrants from Vancouver, Windsor, Cambridge, Toronto and Montreal, representing 10 Armenian Students' Associations (ASAs) and 19 universities. The participants stayed at the Hotel Espresso in downtown Montreal.
In addition to bringing the future leaders of our communities together, the Convention aimed to expose the students to several issues of concern for Armenia and the Diaspora, to provide them the opportunity to discuss and share their experiences within their ASAs. The talks given by the invited speakers ranged from environmental activism and volunteering opportunities in Armenia, to conflict in Karabakh and expression of Armenian identity. Each lecture was followed by a question & answer session which allowed the students an opportunity to express their opinions and further discuss points of interest.
The first speaker was Ms Sevan Beukian, a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Alberta. She presented her dissertation focusing on the role of women during the Karabakh war and the impact of memory, Diaspora and nationalism in the Republic of Armenia's nation building process. The second speaker was Ms Gayaneh Melkom Melkomian, a full-time lawyer involved in civic activism in Yerevan. She joined the Convention via Skype and shared her personal experiences in the recent environmental movements in Teghut and Mashtots Park. The other two lecture topics focused on different opportunities to volunteer in Armenia and become part of its reality. Mr Sevan Kabakian, Country Director of Birthright Armenia (Depi Hayk), presented the program and talked about volunteering in Armenia and its effects on both the local community and the volunteer. Finally, Ms Lory Abrakian, Coordinator of the Armenian Youth Federation of Canada's Camp Vanadzor, spoke about the different activities organized at the camp and the children's perspective on them.
The Zoraganch Foundation, dedicated to contributing to the social and financial needs of the families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Artsakh War, was also briefly presented, after which the the Convention attendees made a modest contribution.
Besides these lectures, representatives of each ASA had the chance to present the activities of their respective associations during the preceding academic year. The ensuing conversations and workshops allowed those present to discuss the challenges and successes of ASAs and our Armenian communities in general. Challenges faced by students on university campuses, supporting civic activism in Armenia, temporary or permanent repatriation and the status of Armenian language and history curricula in our education systems were discussed.
A social event at downtown Montreal's Altitude Club 737, as well as several hours of free time over the course of the this two-day event, created a more relaxed atmosphere allowing the participants to socialize and get better acquainted.
The fifth annual Convention is expected to take place in Toronto in mid-May 2013. Details can be received by writing email@example.com or by visiting www.armenianstudentconvention.ca.
Founded in July 2005, Armen Karo Student Association's mission is to assist Armenian Student Associations at Canadian universities, to promote Armenian studies on university campuses, and to mobilise our communities in furthering the Armenian Cause athrough political, academic and intellectual means on a local, provincial and national level.