The belief that a national culture can best flourish and bear fruit on its own land is the mission of the Land and Culture Organization. Each nation has the privilege of dwelling on its ancestral lands, struggling for its preservation. The commitment of the LCO is to gain and disseminate an intimate knowledge of the land and its rich culture; to raise international awareness that the treasures of the Armenian heritage are at the mercy of an indifferent world, to rescue these treasures from total destruction, and to assist in the social and economic developments of communities living in historic and present-day Armenia.
The LCO is a grass-roots organization founded in France in 1977; its American affiliate was incorporated in 1987 as non-profit organization. It was born on the premise that Diasporan Armenians not only have a moral responsibility to preserve their ancient culture and heritage, but that they must also take an active role by physically working on the lands of their ancestors. Since 1977, the LCO has organized summer campaigns whereby volunteers from around the world can come to work on their ancestral lands. They come to give their time, talents, energies and resources. In return, they gain the knowledge that they have not taken the heritage given to them by their ancestors for granted, but have insured its continuation for the next generation to come.
The goals are ambitious, but the LCO brings these goals to concrete fruition through its work.
The Land and Culture is a 501c(3) non-profit organization.
Before we left Shikahogh, 12 volunteers from the Faith and Heritage Organization visited us. Faith and Heritage is our sister Armenia program funded by OTC/LCO whose mission is to stimulate and encourage the youth of Armenia to safeguard and preserve our heritage by conducting clean up campaigns of historical sites. They were on a three-day campaign in the Syunik region.
The volunteers have done an incredible job in a week's time. The church's floor has been completely cleared of dirt and the stone floor can be seen. Now they are working on the front wall of the church that must be cleared 5 feet out and 6 inches deep, and the north wall outside of the church grounds that must be dug out 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep to reach the wall's foundation. Small hand tools are being used for this work. After getting 5 feet in, shovels and larger tools can be used to dig the area and remove the dirt. As always, archaeologist Arman is on hand supervising this archaeological phase of this project.