Soul Searching in Nagorno-Karabakh

How Artak Beglaryan came to find strength in blindness

At the age of six, Artak Beglaryan was blinded by a landmine explosion outside his family’s home in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. But this tragic event has never stopped him from pursuing his personal and professional goals. Beglaryan now works as the spokesperson for the Prime Minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan. “Losing your eyesight creates all sorts of physical and mobility problems, but through the struggle to overcome them you only become stronger,” he said. All the obstacles that he encountered has allowed him to develop strong willpower, to remain focused on his goals and assert his independence, which has become a key feature of his personality. He has become proficient in English, uses a screen-reader software to go online and voice commands to type on the computer. Beglaryan has also studied on three continents—at Yerevan State University in Armenia, at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the United States and at University College London in the United Kingdom, for which he received an AGBU International Scholarship through the AGBU London Trust in 2011 to complete his master’s degree in politics, security and integration at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. “I am convinced that the loss of my eyesight has been a major factor in shaping my sense of self, determining the course of my life and helping me realize my ambitions.” One of his greatest ambitions is to see a peaceful resolution to the conflict in his native Nagorno-Karabakh. “It is paramount for all sides to want peace. Achieving a certain role or title is not one of my goals: seeing what we can achieve together as a nation is. I’ve found that sometimes you can create just as much positive change in the lower ranks than in the higher ones.” 


Originally published in the February 2016 ​issue of AGBU Insider. end character

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AGBU Insider profiles extraordinary AGBU program alumni across a diverse set of industries and passions. With exclusive interviews and photography, each issue reveals the Armenian impact on society, community, and industry.