The jewellery trade is part of our national heritage and a source of pride. Our mission is to perpetuate this significant segment of our cultural tradition both by informing the world about the immense contributions made by Armenians to the art of jewellery and promoting talented young Armenians in becoming the next generation of industry leaders. AJF's ambitious scholarships program has, to date, funded dozens of students who have successfully completed their studies both in Armenia and abroad, and are now embarking on their new careers.
Tens of thousands of Syrian Armenians have fled the war and destruction in their country and are seeking refuge elsewhere. Many families have been able to resettle in Canada thanks to support from community groups (see story on one of AJF's students in The Globe and Mail)
. Montreal is believed to be one of the main destinations and has already welcomed over 1,000 Syriahay refugees. With the new government policy of welcoming 50,000 new refugees by the end of 2016, it is believed that many more Syriahays will be resettling in Canada.
Thanks to its partnership with the prestigious École de gemmologie de Montréal (EGM
), AJF launched its special vocational training program for Syriahay refugees in Canada. Funding for this pilot initiative was provided by the Birks Family Foundation (BFF)
, with further support coming from community organizations. A a number of information sessions were organized and students enrolled in the gemology courses leading to a full Diploma in Gemology.
The pilot class debuted in September 2015 with 11 Syrian Armenians studying at EGM. In January 2016, two classes of 13 and 7 students were enrolled thanks to AJF scholarships. The effort continues.
The pilot program was launched in the fall of 2014 thanks to an agreement with the Armenian Gemological Laboratory and Academy (AGLA). The agreement until now supported full gemological training for close to two dozen students over three full-time intensive sessions. Grantees came from various communities such as the Syrian Armenian refugee community, residents of border villages in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk (Georgia), Lebanon and Iraq.
During the 2015 fall session, AGLA launched a new Diamond Grading curriculum that incorporates a more practical hands-on training for certificate students. All AGLA Diamond Graduates completed their certificate program successfully and many embarked on careers in the jewellery industry.
AJF calls on its patrons and supporters, as well as the wider community, to join its mission celebrating and building on the Armenian jewellery tradition and innovation to spark the next generation of industry. You can make an impact today by contacting us firstname.lastname@example.org to sponsor the next Armenian student!