The ARS Central Executive Board’s 26—29 April, 2022 four-days’ visit to Artsakh proved to be not only historic, but also a miraculous reality. Truly, to see – after the 44-day war – Stepanakert, so enticing and so serene, no words can describe one’s innermost feelings of exultation.

After a ten hours’ journey over endless winding roads, stopping for hours at some ten checkpoints, on 26 April, Tuesday evening, the ARS/CEB Mission, forced to circumvent our Armenian Shushi, arrived at Stepanakert and, to every ones’ surprise, found Stepanakert standing, buildings renovated, teeming crowds attending to their chores. Yet, even as a certain melancholy permeated the air, one could feel the Artsakhtsees’ unyielding determination to develop the small area left of their homeland in order to expand it with a clear vision of recovering the lost territories of their beloved Republic.

In response to this invigorating environment of unyielding faith and hope, ignoring exhaustion, the members of the ARS Central Executive Board visited the Center of ARS/Artsakh Entity, where they met its Executive Body’s Members, presented the purpose of their visit, and after tasting the tasty Artsakh Jingelov bread, took their leave to visit the main Office of the ARF/Artsakh Central Committee, where  they had an informal meeting with the CC Members and presented new ARS programs to be realized in Artsakh. The Representative of the ARF/Artsakh CC, Arthur Mosiyan welcomed the Mission, highly appreciating their endeavors offering readiness to cooperate and assist in their implementation.

On the morning of Wednesday, 27 April, accompanied by the ARS/Armenia Regional Executive Chairperson, Zora Kocharian, ARS/Artsakh Entity Chairperson, Lilit Martyrosian and members, and Artsakh/ARS Soseh Kindergartens Coordinator, Artemis Grigorian, the ARS/CEB members visited the Artsakh Yeghbayrakan Cemetery and laid flowers at the base of the World War II Casualties Monument, paying their respects to their everlasting memory. Then, the HOMuhis paid a visit to the graves of our martyred soldiers of the Forty-Four Day War and placed flowers on their graves, praying for their immortal souls.

The members of the ARS Mission proceeded, accompanied by ARF/Artsakh Central Committee Member, Aleona Grigorian, to a brief meeting with the Artsakh Republic President, Araik Hautiunian. During the meeting, ARS CEB Chairperson, Dr. Nyree Derderian presented the latest ARS Program, the Realization of a Solar Heating System in Artsakh Republic. This Program was received with great enthusiasm by President Harutiunian, who, promised to match the funds invested by the ARS fully.

On the same day, around noon a visit was paid to the recently rebuilt ARS Soseh Kindergarten/Youth Center, where, Kindergarten’s Principal, Nelly Ghulian, the ARS ungerouhies got acquainted with the modernized facilities of the building. The pupils, among which are children of martyred soldiers and displaced Artsakh families, welcomed the guests with an enchanting program of song and dance bringing tears of joy to the eyes of the HOMuhis. This essential visit was not only enjoyable, it was very encouraging, especially in conversing with the children, many of them stated, that they want to become soldiers to defend their beloved Homeland, Artsakh.

After getting to know all about this beautiful Kindergarten, the ARS CEB Mission proceeded to the Askeran Region’s Khndsristan ARS Soseh Kindergarten, where the Principal, Susana Hakobjanian gave details concerning the Kindergarten’s educational programs and the pupils, and led the guests to the classrooms, beautifully decorated by the pupils’ handiworks. Then, the lovely youngsters delighted the enthusiastic guests with songs and recitations.

In the evening, the ARS Best Student awards ceremony took place at the ARS Stepanakert Soseh Kindergarten.  This year, the ARS Central Executive Board had, in gratitude, dedicated the Event to those college students who had, with no hesitation, volunteered to the Artsakh defense forces, risking their lives throughout the 44-Day War. Thus, the ARS/CEB highly evaluated the Artsakh State, Stepanakert Mesrop Mashtots and Grigor Narekatsi, as well as the Shushi Technological universities’ 105 patriotic students, and to each one of them a Citation of Valor and a modest monetary prize. There were speakers representing the above mentioned colleges expressing deep gratitude; so did ARS Rep. to ARF Central Committee, Aleona Grigorian. All the speakers highly appreciated and praised the global family of HOMuhis, their supporter’s benefactors and donors who help realize assistance programs in in Artsakh. They all spoke of their firm belief that Artsakhtsis will remain firmly attached to their sacred soil until the liberation of the captive territories as indisputably historic Armenian soil.

ARS Chairperson, Dr. Nyree Derderian, addressing the students, spoke from her heart, had this to say: “We are proud to be with you today, sharing the pain you have lived following the 44-day war, proud to have the opportunity to give you this modest prize, along with the firm belief, that a bright future awaits you, not only because you are citizens of Artsakh Republic, but because you are Artsakh’s most committed soldiers.”  Then, on behalf the Great ARS Family, she promised to always stand by Artsakh and its valiant people in times of both war and peace.

After this memorable Function, The ARS Central Executive Board met with the membership of ARSArtsakh, during which they discussed various issues concerning the Entity.

On Thursday morning, 28 April, the Mission visited the Ashan ARS Soseh Kindergarten, where the Principal, Gayaneh Hovhannisian, her Staff and pupils welcomed the visiting HOMuhis with the traditional salt and bread, and proceeded to describe the function of various facilities on the premises. Here too, the guests were regaled with the lively song and recitation performance of Artsakhtsi children. The kindergarten has a large playground, well equipped with swings, slides and a variety of educational toys.

After the visit to the Kindergarten, the Mission visited the houses being built near the Ivanian Community by the Haiastan All-Armenian Fund for a new community of deported families. According to the builders, the houses will be ready for occupancy for 100 families by the end of the year.

On the same day, in the evening, the ARS/CEB HOMuhis had a meeting with the Secretary of the Artsakh Republic Security Council, Vitali Balasanian. During this meeting, also, ARS Central Executive Board Chairperson, Dr. Nyree Derderian presented the ARS-conceived latest Project of Solar Water Heating System across Artsakh Republic; the idea was welcomed by Secretary Balasanian, as well.

Later, in the evening, the ARS Mission, members of ARS/Artsakh Executive Body and several other guests shared a supper that turned into a merry celebration by all participants.

April 29 was the date of departure for the ARS Mission, however, it was impossible to say farewell to Artsakh without visiting its Rehabilitation Center. The Center was established with the efforts of the English Baroness, Lady Cox. The Director of the Center, Vartan Tatevosian presented the scope of activities in the Center, which serves the needs of citizens of all ages. Treatment is offered to wounded soldiers and residents of ages. It has specialized departments that treat children with speech impediments or suffer of Autism. It has a physical therapy section. It is also well known with its specialized training courses in photography, drawing, making clay objects, and various other artistic handicraft items, which items, which are put on exhibition and sold to the public, securing income for the Center. Presently, it has 21 beds, yet, during daytime, it treats 1200 patients, 300 of whom are citizens, the rest are wounded soldiers and freedom fighters. At noon, the HOMuhis left the Center with tearful eyes, with unshakable determination to help Artsakh on its way to a bright future.

The ARS Central Executive Board lived four days of pride in Artsakh. Pride of an Artsakh, that in spite of its wounds and lost territories, retains an unshakable will to recover and endure, solidly entrenched on its remaining millennial Patrimony, sworn to reclaim its legitimate territories now illegally occupied by a brutal aggressor.


Maro Kechichian



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