On July 13, the final event of the “UPSHIFT Syunik” cultivating adolescents’ growth and engagement in community development project was held at “Impact Hub Syunik” in Goris.

The event was attended by Silvia Mestroni, deputy representative of UNICEF Armenia, deputy head of Goris community Irina Yolyan, President of the “Youth Initiative Centre” NGO, monitoring and supervising specialist-advisory of the “UPSHIFT Syunik” project Artur Najaryan, representative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of RA, representatives of local and regional authorities, local non-governmental organizations and members of the teams that participated in the “UPSHIFT Syunik” project.

The event started with a photo exhibition summarizing the process and results of the “UPSHIFT Syunik” project, during which the attendees had the opportunity to observe the path and final result of each team in a non-formal environment.

In her welcoming speech, the deputy representative of UNICEF in Armenia, Silvia Mestroni, thanked the “Youth Initiative Centre” NGO and “Goris Press Club” NGO, other structures and individuals supporting the project for their cooperation. “This is not the first Upshift in which I participate, but it is the first in Syunik. Upshift is a very important initiative for UNICEF, through which teenagers and young people are able to acquire additional skills in addition to the knowledge they acquire in school. We are trying to develop 21st century skills among teenagers through Upshift and I hope they have a positive experience.”

Deputy head of Goris community Irina Yolyan urged young people to dialogue with the community, because the result of joint work is unsurpassed. “Goris is a youth city, we have a university, colleges, various centers, but in any case we see passivity among the youth. Initiatives like this are very important, which are a driving force for the youth of the community.”

The president of the “Youth Initiative Centre” NGO, rmonitoring and supervising specialist-advisory of the “UPSHIFT Syunik” project Artur Najaryan welcomed the guests who visited Goris and noted: “One thing was certain: Upshift will move from Gegharqunik and Tavush to Syunik, regardless of all the complications and challenges, because it should serve not only to develop the leadership skills of the youth of Syunik and to support them to participate in the decision-making process in their community, but also we aimed to focus the society, as well as the international community’s attention to Syunik.
Today, we have recorded an important fact for us: a community of Upshift residents has been formed in these years, who continue to be agents of positive changes and play an important role in various regions even after Upshift”.

Armenuhi Petrosyan, the representative of the youth department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of RA, noted: “What I heard and saw today is in line with the state youth policy, and like the projects implemented by the ministry, Upshift brings together young people and teaches them leadership and business management skills”. It has a connection with the community authorities, which is very important. On behalf of the Ministry, we stand by you, both “UPSHIFT Syunik” and other youth initiatives”.

Susanna Shahnazaryan, president of “Goris Press Club” NGO, shared her impressions: “This is an exceptional project in the sense that by including local and community representatives in just two months, the young people united everyone around their initiatives. The more initiatives there are in Goris, the more Goris will become stronger and finally, instead of an area of conflicts, it will become an area of cooperations, where I am sure that not only we, but also other organizations and initiative groups will succeed.”

The welcome speeches were followed by the presentation of the implementation process and results of community youth initiatives by the 3 project teams.

Thanks to the “UPSHIFT Syunik” project, the participating teenagers and youngsters developed the ability to identify the challenges of their community, test social and entrepreneurial solutions, learned problem solving and critical thinking, communication, management of organizational processes and other 21st century skills.

The event ended with a ceremony of giving certificates to the teams, mentors and supporters, after which the attendees enjoyed beautiful musical performances from Syunik talented youngsters.

“UPSHIFT Syunik” cultivating adolescents’ growth and engagement in community development project is implemented by “Youth Initiative Center” NGO and the UNICEF Armenia office with the support of the European Union, in cooperation with “Goris Press Club” NGO.