Ripa and Svetlana represented Armenia at Umeå 2014-EYP Sweden’s 1st Youth Forum

We have talked with EYP Alumnus Ripa Hovsepyan and Svetlana Hovhannisyan, who are back home from Umeå 2014 – EYP Sweden’s 1st Youth Forum.

Svetlana: Let me tell a couple of words about Umeå and of its choice to host such great event. Umeå, the beautiful town of Sweden, was recognized as the Cultural  Capital of Europe in 2014, and yes, it proved it is worth. Umeå youth forum was revolving around the concept of culture as a driving force in development. The topics distributed within 7 committees aimed to explore the wide ranging aspects of culture. The forum consisted of one day of team building, 3 productive days of a committee work and the last GA day.

Let me say, that there was no resolution, wait, don’t get me wrong, instead we had an action plan, which was revolving the context, measures and implementations, which included quite real actions on individual basis, which should be implemented in our own countries.

All the days comprised competitions, culture night, globo village, research, improvisations, fun, knowledge sharing, games and so many unforgettable moments.


Ripa: The theme of the UMEA Youth Forum “Growth through culture” revolves around the concept of culture as a driving force in development. Culture spans over everything from scenery and cuisine to art and democracy, and promotes entrepreneurship, employment and competitiveness.

During the forum over 100 participants from 29 different countries discussed issues which concerned to student housing, youth unemployment, separatist movements, environmental sustainability, women’s rights, establishing European identity etc. As Svetlana already mentioned, this forum differed from the others with GA format and Resolution type. Instead of writing a resolution we wrote an action plan with context, measures and implementations, where each of us took an action and wrote implementations based on the question – what I can do.

I think this new format and this new type of EYP forum made important changes in our minds, and it worked more efficiently. We are the future, youth are the future and if we want to have an impact on the future we need to shape the present.

-What was the biggest surprise for you during your visit to Sweden?


 Svetlana: The biggest surprise in Umea came to my face at midnight when I realized that there was morning light outside, that made me feel like the day had no end.

Ripa: The same thoughts here J After a long trip,  changing 3 flights finally we reached to Umea which is roughly 600 km north of Stockholm and sits on an inlet of the Gulf of Bothnia that separates Sweden and Finland. It was approximately 12 a.m. when I was sorting out my luggage and decided to look out the window and it was light outside. It was the biggest surprise to see the midnight sun and constant daylight. 

-How the EYP experience helped you to represent Armenia in this event?

Svetlana:  Well, this was my 4th EYP session to take part in as a delegate. All those sessions I was through have built my EYP rich life. From each of them I have gained a unique type of experience, and all those EYP “techniques” were at my hand. It was very easy for me to detect the problems within the issue and tackle them, find a solution close to reality with possible implementations ever. I was, let say, more open to the challenges within the session.


Ripa: It helped me a lot. Using the knowledge and experience gained during the conferences, the sessions helped me quickly orient in some cases, motivates to gain new knowledge, skills and share experience with the others. It is also a great responsibility to represent my country in this event, so I put a lot of efforts to do my best and hold on a high level the honour of my country.

Any funny moment you had in Sweden and can remember right now?

Svetlana: There were so many, but there is one that comes to my mind at the moment.  In fact, I had nothing to present from Australian cuisine (my committee was assigned for that country) in Globo Village. So I took Armenian “gata” with me, and all the delegates were focusing on my Armenian “gata”, which was presented on the table of Australia. J

Ripa: Right now I remember the “Pilot – Schumacher-singer” during our flight from Stockholm to Umea. Why “Schumacher-singer”? The airplane was flying so fast and we were embraced a strange feeling and at that moment the pilot began to sing a strange song in Swedish. So we couldn’t understand what was happening. Everyone in the airplane was reading something or sleeping and there was no reaction. But the song and how he sang was really very funny and unexpectedly.

-What means EYP for you? What impact does it have on you?


Svetlana:  EYP is a lifestyle; EYP is a family that I have built within sessions. This is something I am involved in for al
most a year and I am blessed to have had that opportunity.  From the first day of becoming an EYP alumnus, I felt how vital and powerful the youth’s voice can be and how much can be done by a group of young people from different parts of the world.  This is definitely something that is part of my own growth.

Ripa: For me EYP encourages independent thinking, promote international understanding, create a framework for intercultural dialogue and support the diversity of ideas and practices. EYP is an excellent way for young minds to open themselves and touch issues dealt with developing both personal and professional skills. EYP is a big family where all the members despite of nationality, religious or socioeconomic group are united together, build a network of diverse and strong relationships and come together to solve problems that we have in common more efficiently. EYP empowering individuals to make their voices heard.

EYP – awesome, breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, powerful, stunning…

-What is your wish to the EYP-ers from Armenia and all over Europe?

Svetlana: Addressing my speech to the Armenian youth and all over the world, I’ll just say: “If you are young and passionate about making the world better, which definitely starts from your own country, (if you care and are not afraid of challenges) then do not ever miss the chance of experiencing EYP, right there it starts.

ripa13Ripa: I wish to EYP-ers from Armenia and all over the world to believe even at first seems to be unrealizable things, because small steps create big bridges and make dreams come true. Your future begins today and largely depends on what you are doing now. Our time is now, now we need to shape the present. Never postpone your steps for reaching your goals and try to use your time properly, as time is need to be estimated.

Ripa Hovsepyan and Svetlana Hovhannisyan were interviewed by Narine Daneghyan



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