CYSCA, Open World Team up to Train Armenian Activists in Cambridge


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— Five young activists from Armenia will be in Greater Boston November 30-December 8, to participate in a grant program focused on activism/transition to leadership hosted by the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA). They will be accompanied by a facilitator who will assist them in orientation with customs and traditions in the US. Funding support will be provided by the Open World (OW) program of the US Library of Congress, CYSCA and its team of volunteers. The OW program is managed by its OW Leadership Center to enhance understanding and cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia. The program, initiated by Open World and implemented by CYSCA, aims to give the participants first-hand exposure to America’s democratic government and free-market system to Eurasian leaders as an instrument for Americans engaged in citizens’ diplomacy.

A key goal of the program is to develop activism and leadership capability of young adults in government and activist organizations by engaging them with USA counterparts. CYSCA has designed a program of visits/meetings with various organizations/individuals in the Greater Boston area, including the Pioneer Institute, Common Cause, Amnesty International, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, ACLU, State Senate and House leaders, and numerous other organizations and individuals. Presentations at the various meetings planned by CYSCA will engage the participants in activism/transition to leadership issues, showing how young adults can become activists in a society that is changing in relevant and interesting ways since the Velvet Revolution.

The participants, ranging in ages 21-27 are from various backgrounds.  They have been selected by the U. S. Embassy for their leadership potential,  and they are: Yuri Avagyan, communications manager, Restart Student Initiative, Yerevan; Levon Chukaklyan, co-founder, Restart Student Initiative, Yerevan; Astghik Isakhanyan, project coordinator, Rights Information Center NGO, Goris; Garik Miskaryan, foreign affairs specialist, Restart Student Initiative, Yerevan; Alla Yeremyan, manager, Basen Hotel, Sisian; and Liana Sahakyan, facilitator for the group, currently resource coordination specialist at the US Embassy in Yerevan.

“We look forward to meeting these outstanding young adults and introducing them to their counterparts in our area to help them develop their activism and leadership skills and gain knowledge and understanding of issues facing young adults in activism in our area,” stated Alisa Stepanian, CYSCA Program Director.

CYSCA is a sister city association partnered with the city of Yerevan since 1987.  Over the past 30 plus years, CYSCA has hosted over 20 professional development programs, 10 school partnerships/student and teacher exchanges, environmental programs, school aid projects, business/entrepreneurship training, and numerous cultural projects and humanitarian assistance for Armenia. CYSCA is a non-profit organization based on the premise that citizen’s exchanges on shared values transcend political and other governmental hurdles in our worldwide societies in the furtherance of civil rights and democratic principles.  For more information about the OW program, contact Alisa Stepanian at <> or about CYSCA visit


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