Land and Culture Launches 2010 Campaign


BRUSSELS, Belgium — On February 6 and 7, the Union International de Organizations Terre et Culture (UIOTC)/ Land and Culture Organization (LCO) chapters from France, the US, Armenia, United Kingdom and Belgium met for their annual meeting, at the offices of the European-Armenian Federation. Among the many organizational agenda items, the committee discussed the completion of its 2009 projects and plans for the 2010 campaign. Also during the weekend, 200 people attended a cultural event hosted by the LCO-Belgium chapter in the Haydoon in Brussels, where a presentation of LCO projects throughout the years was made.
This summer, LCO volunteers will be restoring the church in the village of Yeghvart, in the Syunik region, on the Azeri-Armenian border. The project began n 2007 and will continue until its completion in 2010 or 2011. Yeghvart has been subject to several invasions, which has resulted in destruction of the village on a number of occasions. Despite the state of the Church, LCO initiated and organized a number of baptisms with the assistance of priests from Kapan. The remains of Prince Toros, who was a lieutenant and friend in arms of David Beg, are found in the cemetery adjoining the church.
More than 30 volunteers from Armenia, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States spent this past summer in Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh on community development projects. After several years, LCO volunteers helped in the completion the entire third floor of the Shushi Central Regional Hospital in Artsakh. The hospital serves the medical needs of the inhabitants of the Shushi region and since the cease-fire was in a state of disrepair. LCO helped to renovate patient, delivery, and surgery rooms to meet the growing medical needs of the population. This past summer, the Shushi Hospital celebrated its opening and the first surgeries were performed by physicians from Armenia and France.
Additionally, for the past several years, LCO volunteers worked in two villages in the Vardenis region of Armenia, Azad and Shatvan. Located southeast of Lake Sevan near the road that leads to Kelbajar, the villages are mainly populated by Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan. LCO-USA repaired the schoolhouses in the villages. “Before, Armenia felt quite distant to me. But living with ‘native’ Armenians, I found a home, I found my people in a village called Azad,” said 2009 volunteer Anoosh Gasparian from London. During its campaign in the village, the ruins of a 17th century church were discovered in Azad. LCO will start the restoration process of the church in 2011.
The Armenia Chapter of LCO has conducted the Faith and Heritage program for the last eight years. Its mission is to stimulate and encourage the youth of Armenia to safeguard and preserve, along with their diaspora brethern, the heritage left in their care.
For over 30 years, LCO has been one of the earliest volunteer groups in Armenia and Karabagh working to restore, renovate, and rejuvenate the historical monuments and sites of our nation. It has performed this mission through its summer campaigns, by volunteers of every age from the diaspora and Armenia.
To help the mission or join in the summer volunteer program, visit www.lcousa.org and www.landandculture.co.uk.