On December 14, 2022, the 25th anniversary of the WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation was celebrated at the Karekin I Theological-Armenian Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

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The event started with the prayer and blessing of His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II. His Holiness the patriarch noted that, as in the year of its foundation, today the foundation operates in a critical period for Armenia and Artsakh. The Catholicos expressed his blessing and thanks to Karen Nazaryan, executive director of the foundation, and the employees for their dedicated and hard work over the years.

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His Holiness noted, that "An important role was played by the Foundation's programmes aimed at regional peace and reconciliation, in which we also had a personal participation. The geopolitical situation, the Middle East crisis and the Artsakh conflict caused the Round Table to make rapid response to emergency situations a fundamental direction of its activity. "The Foundation continues to provide assistance to the victims of the 44-day war in Artsakh, as well as in the implementation of educational and social programs of the Armenian Church," He also reminded that there are still many challenges, especially considering the latest provocations by Azerbaijan in Artsakh and the closure of the Lachin corridor.

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The Catholicos of All Armenians also expressed hope that international Christian humanitarian organizations will respond and be informed about the situation through the Round Table Foundation.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Grand Sacristan of the Mother See and the chairman of the Monastic Council of the Mother See, Bishop Mousegh Babayan mentioned:

"25 years ago, already in the distant 1997, with the blessing of luminary Karekin I Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Round Table Foundation began to operate. Almost the entire period of our existence has passed during the reign of Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and we have always felt the attention and support of His Holiness, the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch has always guided our modest work.

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Our path has not been easy, there have been many difficult moments, problems, concerns, but we have tried to find ways to overcome them in order to continue and expand the programmes that are in line with the needs and expectations of the country, the people and the addition, we are constantly learning to improve our work.

There are also some achievements. Over the years, we have been able to multiply the number and coverage of our programmes. We started with small-scale projects, then gradually moved to bigger ones, we started the implementation of economic and diaconic projects as well, the latter became a source of not only social but also spiritual transformation for our beneficiaries. It is important that we have always tried to contribute to the well-being of our country and every citizen with our work, in order to solve their economic, social and spiritual problems.

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A group of secular and spiritual partners working in diocesan centers and NGOs, with already developed capabilities and experience in programme work, was formed, ready to implement not only educational, child-youth programmes, but also what we call "development" programmes, the goal of which is to raise people's abilities, to get them out of a difficult social and psychological situation and to arm them with knowledge and skills so that they can earn their daily bread by themselves, find their own unique way of life and face the future with confidence."

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Dr. Karen Nazaryan, Executive Director of the WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation, said in his welcoming speech.

"In the past 25 years, there has not been a more tense period than the past two or three years, when while not neglecting our main work, we used most of our time to implement programs to eliminate the consequences of emergency situations, be it COVID19, the influx of refugees from Artsakh, or internally displaced people from the border zones... Unfortunately, our country is facing many challenges at the moment. And our task is also, to the best of our ability, to face and overcome them.

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We should especially mention that we were not alone, our Church is by our side, our dioceses and many structures operating in the communities support us.

We express our thanks to our partner European and American church and secular structures.

We highly value our close work with partner organizations in Armenia, especially the cooperation with the diocese's socio-educational centers. As much as they have learned from us, we have learned twice as much from them.

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From 2023 we are starting a new work period and are sure that it will be beneficial for all of us. We will continue to work consistently, will try to heal the pains, will continue the programmes aimed at development, while always listening to the demands of the time and people's expectations and aspirations. And always for the benefit of our Holy Church, country and our people.

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The partner organizations participating in the event emphasized the sustainability of the Round Table Foundation's programmes and the employees' consistency in their implementation. The representatives of the socio-educational centers, which have been operating with the support of the Foundation for almost 20 years and belong to the dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church, assured that the Round Table, through its support programmes, has made a significant contribution to the improvement of the socio-economic situation of the beneficiary communities and the implementation of new quality educational programmes.

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About the past 25 years of the organization in brief

The WCC Armenian Round Table Foundation (WCC ART) was established by the initiative of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the World Council of Churches and with the participation of the Armenian Catholic and Armenian Evangelical Church. The Round Table Foundation started its activities in 1996 (the office was established in 1997) and now operates under the auspices of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. Closely cooperating with churches, local non-governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations affiliated to the church, the ART aims to address a number of fundamental social and economic problems of the country with all efforts.

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In the framework of four main activity directions: comprehensive community development and diaconia, capacity building, peace and reconciliation, emergency response, during 2004-2021, the ART annually implemented  around 40 projects with a total cost around 300-400 million AMD.

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To provide assistance to the citizens affected by the coronavirus in 2020, the ART also responded promptly and provided systematic and organized humanitarian aid. The number of supported beneficiaries exceeds 3600, and the budget topped  45 million AMD. A total of 9 projects were implemented in cooperation with ART international partners and donors.

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In order to overcome the atrocities of the war unleashed against Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey in 2020, the ART developed and started the implementation of a rapid response humanitarian programme. In 2020-2021, the total number of beneficiaries of the programme for Artsakh citizens is 13,340, the budget is 361 million AMD. Support programmes included educational, social, humanitarian, and entrepreneurship development initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable income and meeting basic household needs for Artsakh residents who have taken refuge in Armenia.

Download a brief brochure about the organization's activities here.

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Contact us

Address: Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Etchmiadzin 1101, Armenia

Tel.: +374 10 517-196; +374 10 517-198

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