AGBU (The Armenian General Benevolent Union), an Armenian non-profit organization, is fully devoted to the preservation and promotion of Armenian heritage and its culture. It is also the founder and sponsor of the online learning project, the Armenian Virtual College where you would be able to learn Armenian.
During the Soviet period, in 1923, the only benevolent organization that functioned in Armenia was the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).
Since then AGBU’s generous support helped to create a foundation that fostered the prosperity of all Armenians. Find everything about the history of establishment, mission, current projects and many more!
The History and Establishment of AGBU
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest Armenian non-profit organizations. It was established in Cairo, Egypt on April 15, 1906.
By all means, AGBU operates to preserve and promote the Armenian identity and its national heritage by drawing attention to educational, cultural and humanitarian programs.
By their ambitious vision AGBU managed to play a significant role in upholding and preserving Armenian traditions and values. Annually, AGBU is committed to bringing some difference in the lives of 500,000 Armenians from all over the world.
It helped Armenia to realize its potential and supported its people to become more prosperous and visible nation. AGBU’s most essential mission and goal was to form a union that would assist the Armenian nation in every way.
Main Cultural and Educational Programs of AGBU
AGBU has chapters in 31 countries and 74 cities around the world and its activities, aimed at national preservation, reflect the needs of Armenians.
They organize various traditional and progressive programs, starting from camps, internships to virtual learning (Armenian virtual college) and young professional networks.
Program #1: Summer Camps
Every summer AGBU organizes camps around the world that last for 12 days. In Dilijan, Armenia, AGBU has a camp for an international gathering of AGBU Scouts. Overall, their camps are well equipped with modern facilities.
Moreover, they have expert staff that help to create safe and positive atmosphere. Are you interested to know what they do in these camps? Well, here we go! Attaining new skills, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, acquiring lifelong friends, deepening their knowledge of Armenian culture and heritage and, above all, learn Armenian.
You think this is the end of the list? Not at all. The entertaining activities also include fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and, last but not least, just having fun.
Program #2: The AGBU Performing Arts Department
This department is operating since 2012 with the goal of providing talents with even more opportunities for developing in their career. Along with the Musical Armenia Program, AGBU administers many Art & Music Academies, Choral Groups, Dance Ensembles, Musical Groups and Theater Troupes as well.
We would also like to focus your attention on the AGBU Sayat Nova International Composition Competition. It emerged in 2006 and since then it inspires and motivates talented young composers and musicians and brings them in the global spotlight.
By the way, this competition offers wide range of financial awards and such amazing opportunities, as a premiere performance in Carnegie Hall.
Program #3: Discover Armenia
Thanks to AGBU’s Discover Armenia Program the youth of the Armenian Diaspora are brought together in their historical homeland every summer. This unforgettable adventure is taking place since 2003 and has duration of three weeks.
During these weeks, the participants experience their homeland, gather fantastic impressions and feelings that will last a lifetime. It also gives a wonderful opportunity to learn Armenian and improving it as well.
During the program students participate in various volunteer projects. It includes: building houses for disadvantaged families, serving hot meals at AGBU’s Senior Dining Centers, visiting local orphanages and some other activities.
Simultaneously, participants have a chance to travel around the country, see its historic sites, enjoy the nature and spend an amazing weekend in Karabakh.
Program #4: Young Professionals (YP) Network
This is a network of YP Groups from all over the world that supports and promotes the Armenian identity, its heritage and culture. The YP movement started in 1995 and since then the network has received an international reputation.
Today there are 27 YP Groups and Partners around the world. The List includes groups in Amsterdam, Detroit, Northern California, New York, Philadelphia, Paris, London, Yerevan, Austria, Brazil, Washington, DC, Buenos Aires, Montréal, Hamburg, United Arab Emirates, Chicago, Athens, Switzerland, Belgium and some others.
AGBU YPs are dedicated to make Armenia a better place, to live by investing in Armenia and organizing educational, cultural, and social events.
AGBU Armenian Virtual College
Some may wonder what is the main function and responsibility of Armenian Virtual College. Well, primarily, it is the first online Armenian school and is an accredited distance learning institution.
The initiator of AVC in 2004 was Dr. Yervant Zorian, Chairman of AGBU’s Silicon Valley Chapter. This educational program mainly serves to the Armenian Diaspora. It gives another great chance for them to learn Armenian and get closer to its cultural heritage.
Generally, they put greater emphasis on the courses that help to learn Armenian more easily and obtain some basic knowledge concerning everything about this country.
The main purpose and mission of the Armenian Virtual College is to preserve the Armenian identity. For this reason, AVC provides the opportunity to receive a thorough knowledge in Armenian Studies through new technologies.
Along with the classes that foster the students to learn Armenian, this program also offers three other main subjects:
- Armenian History
- Armenian Culture
Students can study the courses in seven languages, including:
- Eastern Armenian
- Western Armenian
AVC’s Program Offerings
Armenian Virtual College provides a Master’s Degree program in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication.
For the admission students must provide the following documentation:
- Copy of undergraduate diploma
- Record of undergraduate studies
- Two recommendation letters
- A 500-word statement describing their interest in the field of Armenian Studies, relevant academic or professional experience, and the expectation of their studies at Armenian Virtual College for their future professional goals
But this is not the whole package of the academic programs. Armenian Virtual College also provides certificate programs, individual courses and auditing.
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