| A remarkable thing
happened here last week. You might have noticed
that it was our one-year birthday, but that's not
what I'm talking about.
Last week, and again today, bylines appear on
ArmeniaNow by a young American-Armenian who is
learning journalism in Armenia. Isn't that situation
supposed to be the other way around? Aren't young
Armenians supposed to be clamoring for scholarships,
grants, handouts, internships to get professional
training in Western countries?
Thousands do. But how often is the pattern reversed?
In journalism, it didn't happen as far as we know
until Swiss-Armenian Vicken Cheterian started
the Caucasus Media Institute a couple years ago.
CMI brings journalists from Soviet countries to
Armenia for academic training. ArmeniaNow has
struck a partnership with CMI to offer its students
a practical application for what they are learning
in CMI's classroom.
You'll find the work of CMI graduate Viorica
Vladica from Moldova on today's site. But the
case of ArmeniaNow interns Sosi Essajanian and
Lala Demirdjian is even more special.
Sosi and Lala are on summer visits to Armenia
as part of the Armenian Youth Federation program.
Each year young people from that organization
come here to do volunteer work while also learning
about their heritage. Many work in schools or
orphanages, etc. We're glad that this summer we
could offer Lala and Sosi a chance, if only for
a short time, to develop their journalism talents
and interests in a way that one day might benefit
them and Armenia.
Lala, 22, is an education major at Haigazian
University in Beirut. Sosi, also 22, is a graduate
of psychology from Framingham College in Massachusetts
where she will soon return to begin post-graduate
The young women didn't know each other before
coming to Armenia. And a few weeks later their
names are linked over stories being read around
the world. We're glad we could help foster that
I don't know how their friends back home have
spent their summer vacation, but I can tell you
that Lala and Sosi have spent part of theirs learning
the difference between telling a story and showing
a story, and the fine art of crafting a "nut
One day last week I walked into the newsroom
and saw the two of them sitting at a desk getting
advice from Gayane Mkrtchyan, one of our reporters
Beirut met Boston, met Echmiadzin. That's when
it occurred to me that something special was taking
place - a local teaching Diaspora. There ought
to be more of that.
Nearly seven years ago, I came to Armenia on
assignment from a U.S. newspaper to report the
work of an organization you can read about today
in our lead story.
The work of Dr. Roger Ohanesian challenged me
to find a way to apply my skills in a manner that
reached beyond the confining limits of professional
gratification. My colleague Tony Halpin came here
for similar reasons. We haven't yet achieved the
success of Dr. Ohanesian's Armenian Eye Care Project
(a Mobile Newsroom, perhaps? Hmmmmmm.)
But having reached a point of being able to offer
training and experience to even non-locals tells
us we're on our way.