(photo Ronnie Schmutz)

Swiss Armenians Rally Around Their Umbrella Organization


TROINEX, Switzerland — On May 7, 2024, the Armenian and Armenophile organizations of Switzerland held the constituent General Assembly of CAAS (Council of Armenian and Armenophile Organizations of Switzerland/Conseil des associations arméniennes et arménophiles de Suisse), whose aim is to represent and coordinate the Armenian organizations of Switzerland in a unified manner, to focus on the issue of Armenian identity in Switzerland, and to carry out political, media and humanitarian projects to preserve the security of the Armenian state, promoting the rights of Armenians, wherever they may be, and their cultural heritage. The promotion of justice for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh remains central.

The Council is the fruit of a long process that began during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in autumn 2020. The need to speak with one voice to international public opinion soon emerged. The CAAS currently brings together 13 organizations, to which others will soon be added. The Board, whose members are Lerna Bagdjian (AGBU Young Professionals-YP Geneva), Vicken Bayramian (Armenian General Benevolent Union-AGBU Switzerland), Caroline Babayéguidian (AGBU Young Professionals-YP Zurich) and Alain Navarra de Borgia (Hyestart), will be chaired by Sarkis Shahinian (Association Suisse-Arménie, GSA).

The constitution of the CAAS, whose management is intended to be cyclical and collegial, will enable all member associations to assume the responsibilities of the Council. Three commissions (Policy, Media & Advocacy and Cultural Heritage) will support the work of the Board.

“We are aware of the importance of our role for Armenians in Switzerland as well as around the world, particularly in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Our actions will be guided solely by the demands, tenacity and interests of the Armenian people; they will be both ambitious and realistic, and will be discussed, approved and carried out in a collegial manner. We will also be guided by the values of the Armenian diaspora and of Switzerland. Our actions will be dedicated to youth development and the future, without forgetting our cultural heritage, of which we are the attentive guardians,” emphasized CAAS President Sarkis Shahinian.

The constituent associations of CAAS are: AGBU Young Professionals Geneva, AGBU Young Professionals Zurich, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) – Switzerland, Armenischer Verein Zürich (AVZ), Artzakank-Echo, Association Avetis, Association Santé Arménie Suisse, Association Suisse-Arménie (GSA), Ecole Arménienne de Lausanne, Hyestart, Komitas Action Suisse-Arménie (KASA), Miassine, Union Arménienne de

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