My Way Home
Anahide’s Journey: Building a Future for Family and Country
Part One: From Paris to London to Armenia
In July 2022, Anahide Pilibossian and her husband acted on their resolution to make Armenia their family’s home, leaving behind their lives and thriving careers in the UK. This decision was driven by a desire to provide a warm and family-oriented environment for their children, have a simpler life than what they had in London, and bring their professional skill sets to Armenia.
Roots Run Deep
Anahide's roots in Paris run deep, where she was born and raised. Despite her French education, her Armenian identity remained unwavering, nurtured through attending Mgnig—an innovative bilingual workshop. At Mgnig, her Armenian identity was injected with creativity and a profound sense of inhibited culture. It was a place where young Armenians in Paris could make the Armenian language alive by creating new words and improvising drama plays while weaving friendships that would last a lifetime. This unique approach helped her be at peace with her Armenian and French identities, together with the scattered roots of her family in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Lebanon.
Another significant chapter in Anahide's journey was her participation in volunteering programs with the Land and Culture Organization (LCO), a cultural heritage restoration organization. Anahide volunteered in their campaigns, including many summers in the Armenian-populated Syrian village of Kessab, near the Turkish border, and these experiences left an indelible mark on her. They played a pivotal role in her sense of peace in being Armenian.
The Pursuit of Knowledge and Experience
Anahide's educational journey took her to the prestigious Université of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne in France, where she diligently pursued and earned her Master's in international law. Later, her quest for knowledge led her to the London School of Economics (LSE), where she embarked on another academic journey, earning a second Master’s degree in comparative politics with a focus on politics and markets. In a remarkable fusion of personal passion and academic pursuits, Anahide's education intertwined with her interning experiences and desires to better understand Armenia.
As a law student, Anahide was thrilled to be able to volunteer at the Yerevan office of the Council of Europe and the Armenian Ministry of Justice as part of the second-ever cohort of Birthright Armenia. She followed by interning at law firms and Yerevan Djur, the Armenian company owned by French Veolia Eau.
Her drive to make a meaningful impact in the intersection of the public sector, charity sector, and private sector led her to set her sights on working for a think tank after graduating from the LSE.
With a fluency in five languages and an insatiable thirst for multicultural dialogue, Anahide joined BlackRock, the leading investment management company. There, she specialized in strategic communications, policy analysis, and stakeholder engagement, and over nine years with the company, she witnessed its growth and gained invaluable insights into navigating a difficult public policy landscape.
The Life-Altering Decision
The relocation coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anahide elaborated on this pivotal moment: "The confinement [during the pandemic] brought about significant changes. Moreover, as parents, we began to consider what we wanted to provide for our children, particularly in terms of a childhood filled with warm and meaningful connections."
Anahide’s children's transition to Armenia was notably smooth. Anahide attributes this to their frequent visits to the country, which fostered strong bonds with their cousins, long established in Armenia. She shared a heartwarming anecdote: "I asked my eldest daughter whether she'd prefer to live with her friends here, in the UK, or with her cousins. Her response was: 'I want to live with my cousins. They're not just my cousins but my brothers and sisters.' This sentiment emerged organically, a testament to the close-knit family bonds we've cultivated."
Stay tuned for part two of Anahide's Journey, where we explore her family's transition to Armenia, the challenges they faced, and her mission to contribute to Armenia's future through her work with APRI Armenia.
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