ARS Co-Hosts Women’s Empowerment Meeting at U.N.

Panelists from l to r:) Dr. Nyree Derderian, Araz Chiloyan, Dr. Toby Wicks, and Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (Photo: ARS)
Panelists from l to r:) Dr. Nyree Derderian, Araz Chiloyan, Dr. Toby Wicks, and Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (Photo: ARS)

Panelists from l to r:) Dr. Nyree Derderian, Araz Chiloyan, Dr. Toby Wicks, and Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (Photo: ARS)

Opportunities for Women and Girls in Rural Areas Discussed at the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS -The Armenian Relief Society Inc. (ARS) in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations (UN) held an event during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference entitled, “Rural Women and Girls: Initiating Economic and Social Development Opportunities in Armenia” on March 12, 2018, at the UN Headquarters in New York City, NYwhich drew a capacity crowd of member states, UN agencies, and NGO representatives.

This year’s overall theme at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women was Empowering Women and Girls in Rural Areas. During the two week session, over 8,000 participants will discuss the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality across the globe. Over 55 ARS members had traveled from the different cities of the United States, Canada, Greece, and Armenia to participate in the events.

Armenia's Ambassador to the UN Armand Mnatsakanyan (Photo: ARS)

Armenia’s Ambassador to the UN Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (Photo: ARS)

The session was officially opened by Dr. Nyree Derderian from the ARS who invited Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan of the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations to give his opening remarks. The ambassador restated the commitment of the Republic of Armenia towards the empowerment of women in integrating women in the different sectors. He continued by saying that “the empowerment of rural women and girls and the realization of their human rights and gender equality are essential in promoting Sustainable Development” and urged everyone to play a leading role in the movement.

The first panelist, Toby Wicks (PhD) from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) discussed the importance of collecting data which makes it possible to identify needs to gauge progress, especially for women and children. His discussion called to quantify data to measure gender equality and women empowerment.

Araz Chiloyan, a previous intern at the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF Armenia),  presented on the mission of the organization, and talked about how the organization visits villages to teach new skills to rural women and bridges the gap between the women and the international market. Through the unique handcrafts, the organization preserves Armenian culture and teaches them the business skills, financial management and marketing, so they can become successful independent business operators.

Araz Chiloyan at the UN meeting (ARS Photo)

Araz Chiloyan at the UN meeting (ARS Photo)

Dr. Nyree Derderian, Vice-Chairperson to the ARS Central Executive Board discussed the different projects of the Armenian Relief Society that aims to empower women and girls in the rural areas of Armenia. Through her presentation, she  focused on the accomplishments of the ARS “Mother and Child” Health and Birthing Center which has offered medical services to 150,613 people from 1998 and registered 14,583 since opening its birthing sector of the hospital. She also presented on the newly adopted projects of the ARS, where  greenhouses and irrigation systems have been financed to be installed with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under the “Integrated Support to Rural Development: Building Resilient Communities.” Through the program, the ARS been able to finance several greenhouses in Armenia and gift it to families in order for them to become economically self-sufficient.

Throughout the 2-week session, the ARS also co-sponsored another session titled Health: Building Care Responsiveness to Realities and Potential of Rural Women organized by the NGO Health Committee. Members of the ARS will attend a number of events of the UN CSW to learn from other organizations and the different member states in how they work to empower women and girls in the rural areas.

Established in 1910, the ARS operates in 26 countries, serving the humanitarian needs of Armenians and non-Armenians alike. Through its avowed mission and numerous philanthropic projects, the organization has empowered women to make an impact on their communities and has promoted education, health, and humanitarian aid. The ARS has been involved in the United Nations for several decades and is on the consultative roster on the the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). For more information, please visit


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