Len Wicks prefers to spend his free time in Armenia

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with creator of the Adopt- a- Village and Origins Projects, Armenian genocide awareness activist and writer Len Wicks, who is engaged in various projects and is leading a campaign for recognition of the Armenian genocide by Australia and New Zealand.

Len Wick previously  worked as an air traffic controller in New Zealand and in the Sultanate of Oman. Currently, he is an air traffic management specialist at the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is a specialised agency of the United Nations.

In 2015, Wicks implemented the first projects of the Adopt-a-Village Project, the aim of which is to clean, beautify and improve the borderline villages of Armenia in order to foster the growth of tourism in Armenia.

This project can help not only enhance villages, provide multilateral support to agriculture, prepare specialists and equip villages with agricultural equipment and information technologies, but also strengthen the close ties between Armenia and the Diaspora and establish cooperation between them.

Len Wicks came up with the idea of launching the Adopt-a-Village Project after he visited settlements across Armenia and was charmed by the beautiful nature and sincere people in Armenia. The first adopted village was Areni, by the Armenian community of New Zealand.

“My real job is helping Armenians in Armenia. I am a citizen of Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, I met my future wife, Armine in Armenia and got married. She helped me a lot to become familiar with Armenia and the history of the Armenian people,” Len Wicks told Hayern Aysor, adding that he prefers to spend his free time in Armenia and even wants to have a home made from pink tuff in Armenia.

Let us mention that several projects have been carried out in the Rind, Areni and Shatin villages through the Adopt a Village Project.

Shatin village was adopted by the Armenian community of Australia. In 2016, the “Karas” monument was placed near the Rind-Elpin intersection in Vayots Dzor Province after being designed by Wicks. A kindergarten playground was opened and tree planting was organized in Rind village with the assistance of the Armenian diaspora in Thailand.

Events have also been held in Areni and Shatin villages through the project. A map showing the sites to see in Areni village has been posted near the entrance to the village, which serves as a guide for tourists. A sign reading “Adopt a Village” has been posted in Shatin village. A tree planting ceremony has been held in Shatin, and there are rubbish bins in all parts of the village.  The middle schools in Areni and Shatin have been provided with English language textbooks. On May 17 through the project, an agreement on obtaining two solar batteries for the Shatin village was signed.

The mentioned programs have been carried out with the support of the Armenian communities in different countries around the world, and planning is now on-going to upscale the initiative to all 900 villages in Armenian, as well as Artsakh.

Len Wicks has also developed the Origins Project, the aim of which is to make the cultures and histories of Armenia, Bashkortostan, China and Nepal known around the world. The Origins Project is also designed to foster tourism, business and and to encourage the recognition of the Ggnocide of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians.

The three-part novel “Origin: Discovery” underlies the project and was published in English in August 2014 and in Armenian in November 2014. Another Origins project initiative is the Silk Road Wine Trail, which aims to draw tourism into the regions, recognising the historical and cultural features of Vayots Dzor in particular.

The Origins: Discovery novel features historic events such as the Armenian Ggnocide perpetrated during WWI as well as atrocities such as the Nanking Massacre and the Sook Ching Massacre that took place during WWII. The goal of Len Wicks was to show that we as humans came from a common origin and that no crime against humanity should be tolerated if we are to live in peace.(http://originsdiscovery.com)

Gevorg Chichyan

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