Yerevan, May 21, 2014 – On May 21, a close to 40-person delegation of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, led by Executive Director Ara Vardanyan and comprising benefactors, trustees, and representatives of affiliates worldwide, officially unveiled two major infrastructure projects, a newly built water network and a community center, in Aknaghbyur, a village in Artsakh’s Hadrut Region. The delegation is in Artsakh on a four-day mission, begun yesterday, to visit project sites and hold opening ceremonies for newly completed projects.

Aknaghbyur’s new water network was made possible by the co-sponsorship of the fund’s French and Brazilian affiliates while the community center was sponsored by the French affiliate. Both projects received additional support from the government of Artsakh.

Dignitaries and guests attending the jubilant opening ceremonies included Arayik Harutyunyan, prime minister of Nagorno Karabakh; Valery Gevorgyan, head of the Hadrut Regional Administration; and local-community representatives.

Thanks to the water-network project, which has included the renovation of deep wells, construction of two reservoirs, and refurbishment of the internal distribution network, Aknaghbyur’s 330 residents now have around-the-clock access to water.

On its part, Aknaghbyur’s new community center is poised to breathe new life into the village. The facility houses the mayor’s office, a 150-seat events hall, a health clinic, a library, a computer room, and a playroom. The structure is equipped with heating and air-conditioning systems.

“Our celebration today is the more joyous as we’re about to unveil no less than two infrastructure projects which will significantly improve the lives of Aknaghbyur residents,” said Ara Vardanyan in his opening remarks. “You can be certain that your future rests in this land.”

During the opening ceremony of the community center, it was announced that Sokrat Khanyan, a local poet, has donated 3,000 books from his private collection to the center’s library.

Later in the day, the delegation visited the villages of Shosh (Askeran Region), Taghavard, and Karmir Shuka (both in the Martuni Region) to learn first-hand about the progress of local community-center-construction projects being carried out by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. The construction of the community centers in all three villages is sponsored by the French-Armenian community, with contributions made through the annual Pan-European Phoneathon.

“The economic development of rural communities and the promotion of local partnerships are the best tools to raise living standards and prevent migration,” said Bedros Terzian, chairperson of the fund’s French affiliate.

On May 22, the delegation will visit the Sayat-Nova Music College in Stepanakert. The Soviet-era campus has undergone a complete redesign and extensive renovations, including structural reinforcements, cosmetic improvements, and the addition of a wing. The project is sponsored by Russian-Armenian industrialist and Hayastan All-Armenian Fund benefactor Armen Shakhazizyan. Among the sections of the large campus that have been renovated and refurnished to date are the gym and a 170-seat concert hall. Currently crews are working on the exterior decorations of the college.

The delegation will also travel to Shushi to visit the sites of projects being implemented by the fund and designed to foster the revival of the historic city. The projects include the construction of the Yeznik Mozian Vocational School and an orphanage.