Armenian Volunteer Corps

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"Come Move Mountains" is AVC's Motto.

Established in 2000, the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) is a registered, non-profit foundation in Armenia that provides skilled volunteers, 21 years of age and over, with the opportunity to share their talents with Armenia for terms ranging from one month to one year.

Volunteers with AVC reap the unique rewards of living and working directly with the people of Armenia. While the commitment required of an AVC volunteer is great, the benefits of the work are immeasurable. Immersed in the exciting process of nation building, volunteers grow both personally and professionally, as well as gain new insight into their own identities.

The Armenian Volunteer Corps helps our volunteers integrate seamlessly into Armenian society. Since its inception, AVC has assisted nearly 300 people in finding fulfilling placements in schools, non-profit organizations, churches, and businesses. While the Armenian Volunteer Corps provides a free range of services - including job placement, assistance with home stays, cross-cultural/leadership/development training sessions, advice on life in Armenia, and arranging service trips throughout the country -

AVC volunteers are responsible for financing their own travel and, in most cases, their own lodging in Armenia.

If you are between the ages of 21 and 32, however, you may be eligible for sponsorship by Birthright Armenia. Following AVC’s approval of your application, you can apply to Birthright Armenia for a travel fellowship to cover the costs of your roundtrip airfare to Armenia. In addition, volunteers who serve in Armenia in the fall, spring or winter months are eligible for having home-stay expenses, as well as airfare, fully paid. Birthright Armenia also offers complimentary Armenian language classes twice a week, visa extensions, lectures and forums on vital contemporary issues in Armenia, and weekend trips throughout the country.


The Armenian Volunteer Corps seeks skilled volunteers with a strong sense of responsibility. Serving in Armenia takes dedication, flexibility and patience. AVC enjoys a reputation for sponsoring conscientious, open-minded volunteers who understand cultural differences. Our volunteers must be willing to put aside their own expectations as they use their abilities to make a difference.

AVC welcomes all individuals 21 years of age and older who are motivated to share their time and talents in Armenia for a minimum term of one month. Past volunteers have ranged in age from 21 to 72.

There are no language requirements.


Father Hovnan Demerjian earned his B.A. from Boston College and M.A. in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. From 1996 to1998, he taught in the public schools of Armenia as a member of the U.S. Peace Corps, an experience that motivated him to establish the Armenian Volunteer Corps in 2000. Father Hovnan returned to the United States in 2003 and joined the staff of the Diocese of the Armenian Church, where he pioneered a program to connect Armenian college students with the church. He graduated from St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in 2007 with a certificate in Armenian Studies, and following his ordination as a priest in June, he was assigned to St. Hagop Armenian Church in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Tamar Hajian, former vice-president and general counsel of Brandeis University, earned her J.D. from Boston College and LL.M. in taxation from Boston University. Hajian’s expertise in non-profit law - she headed the American Bar Association General Practice Section's Non-Profit Law Committee for several years – has proved beneficial, given the central importance of non-profit organizations to the evolution of civil society and the rule of law in developing nations. She first traveled to Armenia in 1967 and currently visits several times a year. In 1998, she co-founded the international legal firm Arlex, based in Yerevan. Hajian resides in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

Dr. Tom Samuelian holds his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is the author of numerous books, articles, reviews and translations in the fields of Armenian language, literature and history, and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and St. Nersess Seminary. He practiced corporate law in Washington, D.C.; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Moscow, and is now based in Yerevan. Samuelian co-founded Arlex International Ltd., a public interest law practice in Armenia. Arlex also houses a range of development projects and has aided countless diasporan Armenians to integrate into Armenia.

Board of Directors:

Edele Hovnanian, Edele Hovnanian has been traveling to Armenia once or twice a year since the late 1970s, participating in several youth-oriented educational, cultural and volunteer service programs. She currently serves as president of the Land and Culture Organization (LCO-USA) and has sat on the board of its international umbrella organization, Union de Organization Terre et Culture in France, since 1993; Hovnanian has also been a member of the board of directors of the Armenian Assembly of America since 1991. She holds several senior management positions in real estate and property management firms. Hovnanian earned joint B.S. degrees in finance and civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Columbia University. She credits her study abroad year at the University of Yerevan in 1982-1983 as a life-changing experience. Hovnanian resides in New Jersey.

Alex Sardar, is currently chief of party of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Civic Advocacy Support Program in Armenia, implemented by Counterpart International. Previously, he served as deputy chief of party of USAID’s Armenia Legislative Strengthening Program (implemented by Development Associates, Inc.), working with the National Assembly of Armenia. Sardar was previously employed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Assembly, and was a community organizer and lobbyist in the United States. Based in Armenia, he currently volunteers and consults with several community-based organizations in Armenia and the United States. He holds a B.A. in English and German literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.A. in international relations from the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, D.C.

Linda Yepoyan, has twenty years of diverse project management experience, the last twelve within the non-profit sector. Since living in Armenia from 1989 to1992, she has maintained many homeland ties and relationships that take her back regularly. Her 1993 creation of the NGO Training and Resource Center in Armenia has aided Armenia’s development and improved the lives of many. Yepoyan is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She resides in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Executive Director: Sharistan Melkonian, visited Armenia regularly before relocating to Yerevan to direct the Armenian Volunteer Corps. A Massachusetts native, she has lived in Los Angeles, where she graduated from Ferrahian High School; New York; and Boston. Melkonian has been actively involved with a number of Armenian-American organizations, including St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Boston, and the Armenian National Committee of America, where she held a variety of positions. Melkonian spent eight years as Legislative Director for YouthBuild USA. She has a B.A. in communications from Worcester State College and a M.A. in comparative and international education from Columbia University.

Contact information: 62 Hanrapetutyan Street, Suite 108 Yerevan, Armenia 0010 Tel: +(374 10) 54-00-37

Website: Blogspot:


Formed in 2000, initially with funding from Fund for Armenian Relief. Started by Jason Demerjian, who was the first executive director of the organization, Thomas Samuelian and Tamar Hajian. Jason was followed by Narineh Azizian, then Nanik Melkomyan, then Anoush Tatevossian then Seta Iskandarian. Haykak Arshamyan then served as temporary director for one full year before Sharistan Melkonian took over for the next two year. The current executive director is Tania Chichmanian, a post she has held since 2011.



Kohar Der Simonian, Mike Chobanian, Hratch Dilanchian, Jeannette John, Lena Majarian, John Merguerian


Narineh Azizian, Becky Bagdassarian, Hratch Dilanchian, Tamar Haytayan, Keri Khachadourian, Leyla Krikor, Sarah Ludwig, Rhoda Manook, Knarik Meneshian, Murad Meneshian, Nareg Seferian, Antoine Terjanian, Sheila Terjanian, Sevan Topjian, Steve Vosbikian, Arina Zohrabian, Taleen Shamlian


David Kelly, Cecile Tufenkchian, Eric Artiga, Ara Karamanian, Briony Krikorian (2003-5), Julia Martiesian (2003-5), Harout Chantikian, Hratch Sarkissian, Pamela Broadman, Ric Gazarian, Tzovinar Ramian, Lucine Hays, Christopher Uregian


Alenoush Khachikian, Anna Iasmine Kirkorian, Kenar Lynn Maronian, Sevan Kolejian, Sonia Shahrigian, Tamar Ayrikyan, Tim Manook, Vrejouhi Atikian, Grace Yacoubian, Jeanine Bossart, Hagop Keverian, Anoush Tatevossian, Nadia Macri, Saro Derian, Tina Serebrakian, Haro Setian, Jeffrey Paretchan, Leon Melkonian, Kim Mann (2004-2005)


Alex Kolandjian, Ani Dikranian, Ani Sarkisian, Ara Hasserjian, Arlet Kasarcan, Armen Bakirtzian, Avedis Soghigian, Carla Doughty, Chant Der Atamian, Edgar Martirosyan, Edward Casabian, Edward Davidian, Garine Khatcherian, Haroutioun Manougian, Jennifer Martiesian, Lalai Manjikian, Ludér Sahagian, Mariam Matossian, Myda Kavazanjian, Nayiry Gazi, Nicole Haroutunian, Peter Serian, Razmig Hovakimian, Sabine Chouljian, Seta Iskandarian, Shelley Terzian, Shoghig Mikaelian, Sophia Malkasian (2005-06), Talar Topjian, Taline Kavazanjian, Tamara Shahabian, Tania Kalpakgian, Tania Krikorian, Alina Sullivan, Ani Kerestedjian, Zavin Nazaretian, Andre Mansourian, Lara Eurdolian, Mariana Kechichian, Nicholas Bazarian (2005-06)


Miriam Manook, Mary Keyork, Julie Couston, Raffi Kortoshian, Samuel Kassarjian, Sayat Arsanloglu, Maral Arsanloglu, Liliya Ambartsumyan, Haig Seferian, Nicole Varteresian, Siroun Telian, Arda Zakarian, Maral Melkonian, Chris Krikorian, Jessica Kashian, Raffi Yeretsian, Laura Hagopian, Alex Derderian, André Sarvarian, Lena Maranian, Stephanie Johnson, Lara Tourian, Laurence Manessian, Sam Setyan, Taline Kavazanjian, Myda Kavazanjian, Natalie Maserejian, Nyiri Vartanian, Armen Babajanian, Joe Levonian, Talar Tcholakian, Veronica Siranosian, Hagop Cutujian, Armen Khatchadourian, Laura Tashjian, Sevan Ohanian, Aram Mushegian, Raffi Keuhnelian, Dr. Ishkhan Babajanian, Anahit Babajanian, Armen Nercessian, Jack Maghamez, Serli Hackigolu, Kristen Stamboulian, Maro Siranosian, Jason Allukian, Andre Atoian


Alexandra Allukian, Alison Tanielian, Armen Boyajian, Arpa Jaberian, Christina Manoukian, Elyssa Karanian, Garric Nahapetian, Hrant Gadarigian, Johnny Boghossian, Karen Kazanci, Katie Riley, Lori Wagoner, Mano Ishkanian, Mary Vardazarian, Mher Azezian, Ryan Weber, Setta Mushegian, Sevana Naaman, Shant Shahrigian, Svetlana Arakelyan, Tina Yesayan


Mary Aida Ajamian Antoine Asik Anabela Avedisian Maria Balian Karl Armen Boudjikanian Jeremy Dalmas Florie Darakdjian Shant Davidian Ani Dikranian Dalila Eujanian Christopher Gasparyan Matt Ghazarian Yeva Hakobyan Sevag Haroutunian Kristine Kasumyan Carla Kavazanjian James Keshgegian Gayane Keshishian Marcelo Kevorkian Taleen Khoury Makruhi Kin Jerome Lafazan Rachel Magrdichian Hrant Majarian Yetvart Majian Olga Markarian Matthew McGann Gabriel Meghruni Armen Momjian Nanor Momjian Eduardo Raffi Nigoghosian Danielle Paroyan Alexandra Pilafian Lee Cristina Popa Sarkis Rshdouni Nooshig Sarkissian Christine Serdjenian Arevig Setian Edgar Shaghoulian Lara Talverdian Shuntt Tanielian Hasmig Tatiossian Meghrig Terzian Armando Topalian Diego Martin Vaneskeheian


Tsoler Aghamal Edwin Akopian Nicky Albertson Cesar Gabriel Arabean Beatrice Arslanian Zaruhi Avetisyan Azatuhi Ayrikyan Talene Boodaghians Menar Boyadjian Nina Dangourian Maral DerSarkissian Arthur Dolmajian Cynthia El-Khoury Cerise Fereshetian Ani Garibyan Gaspar Goghgarian Adrik Grigorian Geraldine Guner Harutyun Gyurjyan Natalie Hecht Amy Hunter Antranik Kababejian Mary Kandaharian Gabrielle Kaprielian Juan Karaguezian Anna Kazarian Nareh Keshishyan Kevork Kojoyan Jonathan Kouyoundjian Martin Kreig Elaine Krikorian Mariana Mardirosian Talia Markarian Melania Melikian Mardiros Melikian Raffi Messant Mandy Messer Anoush Mirabegian Anne-Sophie Mournier Shahan Nercessian Karina Nigoghossian Diana Nseir Diana Ovsepian Jennifer Pichard Aram Pirjanian Kimberly Preske Beatrice Rotari Ani Saakyan Sarah Natasha Sabounjian Deanna Schanz Tracy Serjenian Sophia Shahverdian Paleny Topjian Hrayr Wannis Armen Yerevanian Aret Zartarian

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