Armenian Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) blog. Here our volunteers and alumni reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in Armenia. For more information about our programs, visit our website, follow us on Facebook or drop us an email: .

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Volunteering - the Other Side

Nathalie Demirdjian
(Florida, USA)

I knew I wanted to come to Armenia to “participate” as it is called around here, but I had no idea where my job placement site would be. I was ready to help wherever I could, but I think I had a slightly unusual request - to volunteer as a legal intern. I imagined this was unusual because people might wonder what kind of impact a legal volunteer could have, especially when I am just starting to learn the rich language. What was I thinking? Well let me tell you, I was ecstatic. I had tasks to do even before I arrived. In AVC’s great hands, I knew that everything would be fine no matter what. I already felt that this country is so welcoming, safe, and helpful, there was nothing to be scared of or worried about.

So what could I possibly do here? Well the people at the Armenian Volunteer Corps are truly wonderful because I have been perfectly placed at my jobsite, Knyazyan & Partners Law Office. The managing partner, Sarkis Knyazyan is a great boss. He’s very progressive and forward thinking. He takes the time to explain his work to me and makes me feel important. AVC has access to a vast network, so that anyone can tackle any kind of project they dream up - REALLY. And I have a zillion opportunities to do all the typical volunteer activities too, like painting a school, planting trees, and teaching English, but this opportunity is helping me realize my personal dreams too, as I get to contribute to and help advance intellectual property law field in Armenia. Truly, I really feel like I’m making a big impact!

For example I’ve done some web site designing to host the first intellectual property rights moot court competition in Armenia- (this is most similar to a Jessup Moot Court Competition), which will benefit the universities, lawyers, the Armenian government and public at large. It will bring in international best practices and educate the next intellectual property lawyers, government officials, teachers, and students through mock trials, seminars, and extensive research. This competition will help Armenia counter piracy and counterfeiting, foster a more friendly business sector, and lawmakers that are aware of international standards. These are the practical goals of this international moot court. And when I’m not web-designing for that I’m doing legal research for a new website that will be an easy to use and highly resourceful IP legal site for anyone that needs it. These tasks are fairly new to me, yet I because I am open to learning and experiencing new things I am having fun and accomplishing significant things! (=

I truly feel that I am giving back and learning so much at the same time about myself, the country, and the legal field. There are endless opportunities to contribute, to explore, to learn, to have fun and to experience the culture - It is astounding how much I can do here. I hope that from my short blog post you know that whether you are an artistic person, medical, business, or legal, there – are plenty ways that you can give and receive here!

The photograph is of the Knyazyan Team (including Nathalie second from left) at the offices of Knyazyan & Partners.

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