When a full calendar of upcoming AGBU Young Professional (YP) events were forced to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely, it wasn’t long before the Zoom web video conferencing platform filled the vacuum as a virtual community center for the Young Professionals of Los Angeles (YPLA). They have launched an innovative virtual series “YP Live” aimed to unite individuals throughout the AGBU community during this global pandemic. Putting their natural digital prowess into action, YP Groups working in partnerships from all over the world aim to keep the community connected, entertained, and enlightened. From meaningful conversations during virtual informative sessions hosted by YP Northern California to lively Armenian cooking classes hosted by YP Madrid, the series has garnered over 1200 avid participants with an ever-increasing audience.
“Even in the most isolating moments, we’re able to connect with chapters around the world,” noted YPLA Communications Manager Rita Chakrian. The idea for an episodic virtual series came to fruition during a virtual YPLA meeting when co-chairs Tenny Kachatourian and Carin Kellzi and Chakrian realized that all future events would have to be conducted virtually. Rather than view this as a loss, YPLA leadership decided to keep their momentum going by orchestrating a virtual event they had long wished for: a global talent show. After reaching out to various chapters, YPLA leadership gathered eager participants to showcase their talents, engaging a global audience of almost 120 participants on their first episode. From then on, YP groups like YP United Arab Emirates, YP Boston, YP Buenos Aires, YP Houston and more have hosted events, giving YPs the chance to connect with each other not only through mood-lifting talent shows, but also in informative well-being sessions.
The very spirit of AGBU’s #InUnity efforts inspired this series. “We launched YP Live as a way to bring everyone virtually together while we must physically stay apart,” noted Kachatourian, adding that this initiative will continue as long this quarantine persists.
The first episode of the YP Live series, “YPs Got Talent” launched on March 28th and has continued on a weekly basis since. After a successful first run, the YPs of Texas carried the virtual torch and kept the momentum going with a square-down tutorial, re-creating the YP Houston Hoedown that was cancelled due to COVID-19. “Every episode hits a different target audience,” commented Chakrian. “We wanted it to be open to all the YPs, but we really didn’t know it would become this huge event involving chapters in Buenos Aires to Toronto to London and all their communities,” said Kellzi.
Shortly after came a Zumba tutorial from YPLA, an Armenian Cooking Class hosted by YP Madrid, and a virtual game of “YPictionary” hosted by the YP Buenos Aires. Each episode is highly curated, with Kachatourian as the host and interactive messaging encouraged throughout the hour-long episode. “To the budding Armenian community in Madrid, YP Live offered an unprecedented connection to like-minded YPs from around the world and quickly became the weekly get together that we look forward to,” noted YP Madrid Chairman Diran Guiliguian.
One of the most popular episodes, “Coast to Coast Comedy,” hosted by YP Northern California and YP Toronto provided comedic relief and became one of the most highly attended virtual episode to date, eliciting laughs from all over the world. YP Toronto co-chair Naz Gabriel reflected on the importance of having a global comedy show, saying “I can proudly say that not all heroes wear capes. In our case, we were so grateful for the men and women who took the stage and brought about a wave of laughs. These are our Armenian comedians, our support system, and our source of optimism. These are our Armenian Humour Heroes.”
While YP Live offered comedic relief, musical talent, and virtual tutorials, YP Northern California also hosted an informative session on how to navigate the effects of COVID-19. YP Live Episode 7 “Navigating COVID-19, Empower Your Well-being” featured Rita Hovakimian, Business Coach and Prosperity Mentor and Founder of Inspiring Success. “I was pleased to teach participants how to cultivate an empowering mindset that will provide steadiness and calm as we navigate the uncertainty of this time.” Certified Health Coach Katrina Carter agreed, adding “Helping people live healthier lives has been my passion, so I was glad to join the YP Live event and share insight on wellness.” YP Northern California member David Ojakian echoed the sentiment, adding “We wanted to provide a resource for how to rise above the negativity, and take charge of our overall well-being during this challenging time.”
Most recently, YP UAE hosted a baking tutorial and YP Boston followed with a relaxing yoga session. Proud YP UAE Chairwoman Arina Maljian added, “It was rewarding to realize that no matter the situation we are in, our Armenian community will always find a way to stay connected and share their talents in hopes of helping each other grow.”
The AGBU Young Professionals (YP), a global network, strive to promote the Armenian identity and heritage for young Armenians between the ages of 22 to 40 and empowered ambitious individuals to make a positive difference in their communities. It has grown to become one of the largest Armenian networks of its kind, with over 37 groups across the globe with two partnerships.
Tune in to the next YP Live using this link: bit.ly/AGBUYPLIVE.
May 9: Young Professionals Live: Episode 12 – When Two Armenians Meet: An Hour of Virtual Conversations | Global YPs