CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On June 16, the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA) held its 24th Annual Meeting at Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Boston. Keynote speaker was Brian Corr, executive director of the Cambridge Peace Commission, who serves ex-officio on the CYSCA Board.
Corr described the common origin of the Peace Commission, which was established in 1982, and CYSCA, which was born out of it in the mid-1980s. Part of the Peace Commission’s mandate from the City Council was to establish a sister city in the Soviet Union.
He identified CYSCA as well as some of Cambridge’s other sister city programs, including the Cambridge-El Salvador relationship as having a character that is different from the European post-World War II “Twin City” projects, which were aimed at reconciliation, and also different from the more typical US sister city programs launched by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, which tend to be more oriented towards cultural and business relationships. This “Third Model” aims to build a relationship based on shared values and the value of each person. He noted, “We are most fully human when in community, creating something bigger.”
In keeping with the spirit of the Cambridge Peace Commission, Corr asked CYSCA to consider creating an exchange of peace-makers and perhaps labor activists from both communities, pointing the group to several NGOs in Armenia that are working on human rights and on better communication with Armenia’s neighbors.
At the brief business meeting preceding the talk, President Cheryl Shushan reviewed the past year’s programs, including a three-week Community Connections training program for social workers from Armenia. She also announced the next Community Connections group, 10 university administrators from Armenia who will visit in October, and made an appeal for host families from October 10-28. This new program will be CYSCA’s 19th group of professional trainees since the inception of the Community Connections program in 1997. Shushan also reported on the successful hosting in April-May of two representatives from the scientific/educational field in Armenia at the Cambridge Science Festival, with the hope of their gaining ideas to promote a similar science festival in Yerevan.
Shushan praised the dedicated service of long-term CYSCA board members Jirair Babikyan and Paul Boghosian as well as Andrea Cherkerzian and Marlene Clauss who chose not to run for the board this coming year. The association elected 13 returning members to the Board of Directors for the coming year, as well as two new members. Joseph Dagdigian is an electrical and computer engineer who has been active in supporting scientific research in Armenia, as well as a co-founder of the Support Committee for Armenia’s Cosmic Ray Division of the Yerevan Physics Institute. With his wife, Lisa, he travels to Armenia every year. He is also active in the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America as well as a number of Boston-area Armenian organizations.