Our Youth, Our Pride, Our Hope, Our Future

By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO

«Տե՛ս մեր շարքերը* խանդաբորբ եւ արի»

Անդրանիկ Ծառուկեան

Behold our ranks*, fervent and brave

Antranik Dzaroukian

The Mekhitarist Armenian Monastery in Vienna is a beacon of cultural treasure, which for over two centuries, has amassed a wealth of Mekhitarist monk authored publications as well as one of the richest collections of 19th and 20th century Armenian literature library and print media. I have had the pleasure and the inquisitiveness of diving into the ocean of Ottoman era Constantinople Armenian newspapers where, to my astonishment, I came across explicit lamentation in penned articles aimed at the apathy of their new generation, singing the blues of a dark future of the nation.

The cycle of this mental fatigue recurs with every generation. It is a phenomenon that we have continued to experience in the post Genocide 20th century and continue to experience it today. It is a state of mind that stems from our apprehension of the influence of presumed changes in a host of values on new generations who blossom and are reared in an evolving world.

The Genocide Centennial is not yet over, but what we came to witness on this occasion so far this year, has anchored an unwavering confidence in our youth, making us proud of their interests, accomplishments, creativity, sense of belonging and sense of responsibility. A mental survey of our youth around the globe reveals that never in the history of our nation have we had such an army of students in higher education who constitute contingents of potential professionals, scientists, educators and prominent stars in the fields of science and art.

This issue of AMAA News which you are holding in your hands is a manifestation of all that promise to come. Here, you will find news from a Kindergarten in Greece, to classroom desks in Armenia, the Near East and the United States. From lecture halls of Haigazian University to the college campuses of our scholarship recipients, from the benches of the Vocational Bible Study enrollees to the Sunday school classrooms, and from Summer Camps in Armenia, Lebanon, France and the United States to Day Centers in Armenia, this is our promise for the future.

The AMAA operates, funds and supports bee hives of our youth whose beautiful smiles, radiating faces, glowing confidence, blissful playgrounds, jubilant graduations and gleeful spirits are laid open on the pages of this issue. They are our pride, our hope and our future.

The early march starts with “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 1:7 and continues to grow in the knowledge of the love of God “Trust in the LORD and do good” Psalms 37:3.

Our confidence in our youth and hope to entrust them with our future does not come without a duty and an obligation on our part, a sweet burden and sense of responsibility as their senior generation. Two major and strategic roles remain our burden for which we have to plan, sacrifice, toil and sweat.
The first is OPPORTUNITY.

None of the achievements, victories, fulfillment of potentials and realization of dreams can come true without the creation of opportunities. For 97 successive years AMAA leaders, together with valiant and compassionate donors, a caring general membership and God loving good willed supporters, have toiled to build avenues and opportunities for thousands of youth to reach their potential in life. The cycle of responsibility continues. Today, in the footsteps of their predecessors, current AMAA leadership, with your fervent support, continues to expand its mission of love for infants, children, teens and young adults in the fields of education, evangelism, child care, health care, summer camps, infant care and relief efforts. No retreat and no holding back. Our youth deserve and we shall oblige.

The second role is that of EXEMPLARY ROLE MODELS. Children learn by following. Our values, our behavior and our attitudes lie exposed before our youth who are excellent observers and expert emulators. Our spirit of voluntarism, sacrificial behavior, work habits and moral values should all reflect who we are and who we want our youth to be. Our faith, our love of God and the teachings of the Word should mirror our lives which in turn are the silent lessons that our youth learn from. Deviating from the values we uphold does not reflect well on the youth who look for role models in life. If we set Christ with His love, indulgence, care, compassion, kindness and sacrifice as our role model and exercise His teachings in life, we can feel good about our youth.

Our youth are doing fine, provided we creatively continue offering bountiful opportunities to them and exercise a behavior worthy of emulating.

Vive our youth!

*The connotation is to Armenian Youth in general and not denominational or institutional.

September 2015