Teryan Cultural Center – Empowering Armenian Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh

Since 2002, the Teryan Cultural Center has been committed to the study and preservation of Armenian culture, undertaking extensive research and hosting exhibitions about this culture. Since 2016, it has partnered with the Smithsonian Institute to take part in the ‘My Armenia’ project, training 55 Armenian artisans from the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, and enabling them to share their crafts with local and international audiences. Some of the training programmes have also been supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Armenia.

Teryan Cultural Centre - Empowering Nagorno-Karabakh Refugees, Yerevan, ARMENIA

Following the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2020, the Center swiftly transformed itself into a beacon of hope, offering humanitarian aid to Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh. In the face of the extreme adversity that these displaced people face, culture and heritage have been utilised to foster pride and create a sense of hope for the future.

Among the activities, participants have been trained in practical skills, such as sewing, to help them launch their own businesses in heritage crafts. ‘The Taste and Smell of Artsakh’ programme was also launched to support the participants in establishing traditional food businesses, selling food that is typical to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The training programme soon expanded into makeup artistry, hairstyling and ceramic art, thus providing a wide range of activities to aid displaced individuals in adapting to their new lives in Armenia.

Teryan Cultural Centre - Empowering Nagorno-Karabakh Refugees, Yerevan, ARMENIA

Between 40 and 55 people take part each year, with the majority of participants being women. In addition, the activities are adapted for people with disabilities, ensuring the Teryan Cultural Center remains accessible and accommodating to a wide variety of participants. By providing a space where people can both learn and work, on a learning-by-doing basis, the centre addresses gaps in the Armenian job market and helps champion the unique heritage qualities of Armenians.

More recently, in autumn 2022, an additional group of over 100,000 Armenian people from Nagorno-Karabakh were forcibly displaced. To support them, the Teryan Cultural Center provides food, hygiene items and clothes, as well as psychological support, educational activities and help in searching for jobs.

The next goal of the Center is to empower current and past students to become teachers and mentors for new students once they have finished their courses, and to compensate them for their efforts.


The Teryan Cultural Center is exemplary in the way that it preserves and revitalises Armenian cultural and heritage traditions that are at risk of being lost forever while using craft skills to create opportunities for (forcibly) displaced people who are building a new life for their families. Evolving organically in response to these pressing needs, the centre goes beyond the usual heritage frameworks and represents a continuous effort to support the Armenian community from the region of Nagorno Karabakh and its cultural heritage after its forced expulsion”, the Jury added.

Contact: Anushik Ghuzanyan, Teryan Cultural Center | ghuzanyananushik@gmail.com