Nagorno Karabakh or Artsakh is an Armenian-Christian country that has been bravely defending its right to life, religious freedom, and self-governance since the fall of the Soviet Union. It is forced to do so because Joseph Stalin placed it under Azeri control in the 1920s. In the following 70 years, Azeri forces sporadically massacred Armenian-Christian communities native to that region. The Soviets destroyed Armenian Churches. In 1991 Artsakh began a war for their independence and won its present freedom with a ceasefire agreement in 1994. Although no nation has formally recognized Artsakh’s independence, eight US states have done so, recognizing the importance of sustaining what the Baroness Cox calls a “front-line Christian” nation.
Artsakh today consists of majestic mountainous horizons, medieval churches and cathedrals, and a people dedicated to continuing to be the world's oldest Christian nation and embodying the values of its faith. The region also remains extremely isolated given its geographic location and history. This isolation most significantly affects the state of education in Artsakh, which in turn limits state security and cultural development.
In CINF President, Dr. Prof. Siobhan Nash-Marshall own words, "Armenia is not the end of the Western World, but the beginning." The front that Artsakh defends is also the front of the Western World.
Beginning in the summer of 2017, the Christians In Need Foundation (CINF) established an educational program to aid Artsakh development by supplementing educational programs dedicated to teaching practical skills necessary for the country's success as a whole. Spearheading the program were two experienced educators, CINF President Dr. Prof. Siobhan Nash-Marshall, Mary T. Clark Chair of Philosophy at Manhattanville College, and Dr. Prof. Antonia Arslan, author of Skylark Farm and professor of literature at the University of Padua in Italy. Two young, college upperclassmen were recruited as pilot volunteer teachers. The program began by teaching English language in tandem with current education programs at the Russian-American and TUMO Schools in Stepanakert.
This summer CINF sent volunteer teachers to teach English, logic, and ethics. Their courses lasted two months and enrolled 170 students from across Artsakh. Memoranda of Understandings were signed with the Ministry of Culture and Mesrob Mashtots University to further future cooperation. The proper foundations were laid for the continued success of the program in years to come.
The ultimate aims of our work in Artsakh are:
To connect isolated Artsakhtsi with the outside world. First, through their interactions with American teachers and then further through the development of their English language skills.
To encourage the prosperity of Artsakh economically, socially, and culturally by means of education. By teaching the foundations upon which the Artsakhtsi can build.
To help protect Artsakh Christians and their traditions, ensuring the continuation of the World’s oldest Christian people.
To encourage the individual growth of our volunteer teachers in living within a traditionally Christian community.
Learn more about CINF and our mission at: cinfusa.org