SOAR - Lyon Chapter

Lyon joined the SOAR family in April 2015. Like much of the Armenian Diaspora, most Armenians immigrated to France after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. After the end of the First World War, many survivors, including orphans, lived in the French-occupied part of the Ottoman Empire, Cilicia, and the future French Mandate territories of Syria and Lebanon. When French troops retreated in 1921 behind the present-day Turkish-Syrian border, most Cilician Armenians fled and resettled in refugee camps in Alexandria, Aleppo, Ainjar, and Beirut. From there, entire families fled to France. The Armenian refugees and orphans crammed into Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon, arrived by the boatloads to Marseilles and journeyed to the mines and factories around Marseilles, Valence, Grenoble, Lyons, and Paris. There, a quarter of a million Armenians settled into tight little communities of between 2,000 and 4,000 people. The foundations of the Armenian community in France had been set.

SOAR-Lyon is managed by students from the Université Française en Arménie (UFAR). The UFAR is a higher education institution established under the agreement on cultural cooperation, scientific and technical signed in 1995 between the French and Armenian governments. Its founders are the Armenian and French governments represented by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Embassy of France in Armenia, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Armenian Foreign Affairs.

SOAR Lyon oversees all French instruction through the Language Tutoring Program.

Board of Directors:

Lernik Hovsepyan

Lernik earned his Certificate of Economics and Management from the University of Paris 2, Pantheon ASSAS. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in French with a minor in Economics from California State University, Los Angeles. Still continuing his education, Lernik attended California State University, Long Beach, earning his Master of Arts in Francophone Studies. He has earned his second Master's Degree and is currently in the PhD program at UCLA.

Lernik has worked at Tea, Group BGME in Paris, France where he did work for the prestigious Law Firm Pechenard and Associates, for magazines, oil companies, and as a Russian-English-French translator for events within companies such as CCFD, AFDI, ORANGE for the International Development of Agriculture in foreign countries, just to name some of the work he had done within the company. He has also worked as a tutor at Los Angeles City College in classes of 200 and 300 level courses. Lernik is part of the University of France in Armenia professorial team in the chair of French language, teaching there for the 2014-2015 academic year. For the past nine years, Lernik has also been working in the coin industry, being responsible for many aspects within the companies he has worked for.

Shaghig Abedi

Shaghig was born in 1993 in Tehran-Iran. Her father is an Armenian-Iranian and her mother is an Armenian-Lebanese.

She grew up in Iran where she spent most of her time being in the Armenian community. At the age of 5, Shaghig started dancing at the Armenian dance school ( Gagach ), and at the same age she was a member of an Armenian choir (Sassoonik). Since her childhood, she has volunteered for different Armenian programs by playing piano, singing Armenian songs or reciting Armenian poems.

After school, at the age of 17, Shaghig moved to Armenia, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree of Law with honors, from the French University in Armenia. Currently, she is working on her Master's Degree in Lyon-France at the University of Lyon 3.

Shaghig is fluent in both Eastern and Western Armenian, Persian, French, and English. She also has a basic knowledge of literary Arabic.

Shaghig is passionate about life, appreciates creativity and loves spending time with different people, learning from them and developing herself, but she also wants to give others as much as she can and to make a positive impact on their lives.

She deeply believes that in this world, what goes around comes around…

Tatevik Aharonyan

Tatevik is a third year student at the French University in Armenia. She has been a member of the SPFA (Solidarité Protestante France-Arménie), and the Student’s Civic Club as well as participated in the Finance Literacy for Youth and earning a diploma in French Language Studies. Tatevik has volunteered at ENDANIK, a charity NGO school assisting the handicapped with social communication in Gyumri. She is fluent in Armenian, Russian, English, and French.

Lusine Arshakyan

Lusine studies at the French University in Armenia (UFAR) located in Yerevan. She has experience teaching children, currently helping two children with their homework. She loves this work finding it very interesting and pleasant. Her parents are teachers and they have taught her many useful skills for teaching. Lusine believes that the orphans are children who need a lot of affection, attention and love. She is very happy to be able to help them and any other children that need her assistance.

Narine Igityan

Narine is a third year student at the University of Lyon 2 in the faculty of political science. She completed her studies at Yerevan State University in the faculty of Iranologie. Narine has been a member of Young AGBU and Young Rotary and has participated in Phoneton during 2015-2016. She has also volunteered for the Red Cross in Armenia.

Narine is fluent in Armenian, Russian , Iranian, and French and also speaks English.

Lilit Sargsyan

Lilit is a student at the French University of Armenia in the Department of Management. She has earned recognition for her participation in projects such as the Financial Literacy for Youth, Citizen which was organized by the Center for Civic Education, and Hay Aspet TV project. Lilit currently volunteers at the Civic Development and Partnership Foundation. She is fluent in Armenian, English, French, and Russian.

Lia Zoryan

Lia attended the European College in Armenia, Department of Accounting and Audit, until 2012. She is currently enrolled at the French University of Armenia, Department of Marketing, as a 3rd year student. She has also earned many certificates and achievments over the past several years from participating in English classes and French testing exams, to being a staff member in civic students' club and participating in a "Youth to Business" forum. Lia has held various volunteer positions; an accountant's assistant for "London Business Group", translating and answering calls for the Civic Development & Partnership Foundation, and helping with ceremony preparations in Odzun. She has also help internship positions at PicsArt, LimeTech, and AN Audit. Lia is fluent in Armenian, French, English, and Russian.