Moved from Tehran, Iranin July 2014
Lorik Hartunian first visited Armenia when her parents decided to baptize her in their homeland. It was back in 2000, so her first impressions were controversial. She loved Armenia as it was their home, but at the same time, she realized, that there is a lot of difference.
People were different, some of them didn't know about diaspora and they used to call them Iranians. Once, playing with local kids, Lorik told them that she doesn’t know Russian, because she was born in Iran. ‘’If you were born in Iran, it means that you are not Armenian, right?’’- was the question.
After 15 years she decided to move here, experience Armenia as it is and turn her Armenian dream into reality.
Her story of repatriation begins from Tehran, Iran. Lorik graduated from Mary Manoukian Armenian High school in Tehran, then received her BA in English translation and literature from Tehran Azad university. The importance of preserving Armenian identity was leading her through her years of being a member of community’s youth clubs, organizing scout camps, taking painting, climbing and swimming classes, also getting prizes for writing poems and short stories in Armenian and in Farsi.
It was 2014, when she got enrolled in American University of Armenia. During her studies she conducted courses for women about women's rights, women empowerment and gender equality in English. She implemented them at several NGOs’ such as Women Resource Center and Society without violence.
‘’As you start to live in Armenia you realize the ups and downs, e.g. being involved in the process of looking for a job, paper works, meeting people in different sectors and etc. However, you can never feel safer, calmer and more alive anywhere else in the world but Armenia. There are always things to do: different events to attend, places to visit and friends to find. When I moved here I discovered different places and also different talents in myself that I tried to use in order to help the community. So as you start discovering Armenia, you also start discovering yourself ’’.
Lorik wants Armenia to become a center for tourism and IT destinations. ‘’Armenia has brilliant resources, which have been taken for granted far too long, but it’s time for us to change our perceptions. As you can see, we, as a country, are on the way to reach our goals’’.
Having said that, Lorik is the country director of GOALS NGO (Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer), which has the goal to implement equal opportunities for girls in sport as well as in their communities by ending the current stereotypes and discriminations existing in the Armenian society. Also, she is an English instructor at American University of Armenia and conducts English speaking clubs at Loft.
Most importantly, she wants to encourage youth to stay in Armenia instead of leaving it and develop their career by catching every opportunity here.
Tips from Lorik:
-If you're lost in the town, rely on google map, don't ask people, no one is good at giving an address.
-International sectors are very different than local ones, don't judge anything from one visit or from one experience.
-Don’t stay in Yerevan all the time. Explore. In every little village you can find a beautiful view of a mountain, waterfall or a river.
-There are lots of business ideas that doesn't exist in Armenia but there's a need for it. Don't miss an event if you're tired, try to be as active as possible. You never know, who you'll meet and how that event can change your life
Lorik’s secret places: (Not anymore)
-Dilijan wood museum aka The Geological Museum and Art Gallery
-Her home balcony
-Places soon to be discovered