PASADENA, CA – – On February 15-17, the Union International de Organisations Terre et Culture (UIOTC)/ Land and Culture Organization (LCO) chapters from France, the United States, Armenia, and the United Kingdom held this year’s annual meeting at the Armenian Center of Sourp Hagop Church in Geneva, Switzerland. The board discussed the successful completion of its 2012 projects and plans for the upcoming 2013 campaigns. Also during the weekend, members of the Swiss Armenian community attended a fundraising dinner and cultural program at the Armenian Center for a presentation about the OTC/LCO mission and its projects.

During the 2012 summer campaign, over 50 volunteers from Armenia, Canada, England, France, and Nagorno Karabakh worked on two sites. One group went north to the Shirakamut village, near the epicenter of the 1988 earthquake, to work on the renovation of the historic 7th Century Tchitchkhanavank Monastery, and another group went south to finalize work on the 1771 Sourp Astvatzatzin Church near the pagan era caves in Old Goris as part of the Goris-Vienne sister city project which started in 2009.

Goris' Sourp Astvatsadzin Church Pre LCO Renovation
Goris’ Sourp Astvatsadzin Church Pre LCO Renovation

This summer LCO will launch a new project in the village of Shikahogh (sheg hokh/red soil) in the southern Syunik region near the city of Kapan and near the Armenian-Azeri border. It is located by the dense Shikahogh State Reserve, Armenia’s second largest forest reserve. Volunteers will live in the village while renovating the 16th Century Sourp Stepanos Nakhavegah Church which has inscriptions from the 13th Century. The church is in a state of collapse from years of neglect during Soviet era. Work will also continue at the Tchitchkhanavank site.

This summer’s campaign dates will be July 22-August 18. As LCO volunteers experience first-hand living in a rural Armenian village setting, they work on the historical restoration project during the week and discover historical Armenian sites on the weekends.

For over 35 years, LCO has been one of the earliest volunteer groups in Armenia and Karabakh working to restore, renovate, and rejuvenate the historical monuments and sites of our nation. It has performed this mission through its summer campaigns, by volunteers of every age from the Diaspora and Armenia. To learn more about LCO or join in our summer volunteer program, you may reach us at www.lcousa.org.

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