The Armenian Youth Association (AYA) (Հայ Երիտասարդաց Ընկերակցութիւն) known as the Antranik Youth Association (in Lebanon) was established in Beirut in 1931. AYA is AGBU’s youth affiliation and enjoys its moral and financial support.
AYA’s main objective is to preserve and promote the Armenian identity and to foster brotherhood and mutual understanding among various Lebanese and Armenian youth associations and groups. Such aim is realized through various athletic, scouting, social, and cultural activities that take place in AGBU-AYA Antranik-Beirut, Antranik-Zahle, Antranik-Antelias, Antranik-Sevan (Sin El Fil), Antranik-Amanos (Bourj Hammoud) branches as well as in AGBU Demirdjian Center (Naccash).
Sporting activities play a central role in the activities of the AYA. The “Navasartian” games started in Lebanon in 1955, since then every four years, this global event gathers young athletes from AGBU-AYA youth chapters worldwide. For several decades, the Antranik athletics, cycling, table tennis, soccer, tennis, chess, taekwondo and basketball teams achieved prestigious results in various tournaments.
Scouting also plays a vital role in AYA activities. Starting with the scout groups & the scout marching band in Beirut in 1936 it expanded to several branches in different parts of Lebanon. Currently, each of the Antranik-Zahle, Antranik-Sevan, and Antranik-Antelias branches has its own troupes of boy scouts and girl guides. Other groups the AYA has founded, include the University Students Organization in 1940 and the Young Professionals Group in 1999. The AYA University Students Organization brings together university students and carries out different social and educational activities concerning the youth. The AYA Juniors Club established in 1937 organizes numerous activities, trips and contests addressed to youngsters.
Since the foundation of AYA cultural enhancement has been one of the major objectives of AYA. As such AYA’s cultural activities were officially registered in Lebanon as Antranik Cultural and Environmental Association. During the past decades, the various choir and dance ensembles have been praised for their high quality performances. The AYA Dance Ensemble was founded in 1957 and recently it was renamed as AYA “ARINE” Dance Group. The Vahram Papazian Theater Group has staged classical and popular plays since 1959 the group has performed spectacular shows in Lebanon, Armenia and several Middle Eastern countries. Furthermore, the Antranik Cultural and Environmental Association, organizes homage events dedicated to acclaimed scholars, writers and composers. The Association also organizes concerts, exhibitions and public lectures to promote Armenian identity and culture.
The AYA Central Committee guides, directs, and coordinates the Association’s various activities and branches through its Central Office which is located in AGBU Demirdjian Center. The AYA Central Committee has been chaired by Archbishop Yeghishe Garoyan, Puzant Yeghiayan, Khatcher Kalousdian, Sissag Varjabedian, Dr. Mihran Simonian, Garbis Markarian, and Garo Djeghelian consecutively. The current chairman of the AGBU-AYA Central Committee is Mr. Vicken Tchertchian.