Stephanie Thain Joins the RCDS Team as intern

Stephanie Thain Joins the RCDS Team as intern



Barev! I am Stephanie Thain, the most recent addition to the  RCDS team, from London. My time in Armenia has been a remarkable experience for me thus far, and despite being only ten days into my journey, I am already contemplating extending my stay. Having recently completed my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Bristol, I am eager to apply my research skills in this unique environment. I am currently enrolled in the Birthright program and have completed an intensive language course where I was able to improve my rudimentary knowledge of Western Armenian and build on my conversational abilities which I hope to use in my new role here. 


My motivation to join Birthright and come to Armenia stemmed from my recently completed thesis. In my ethnography, I explored how London's Armenian Diaspora perceives the idea of “homeland” and the part that collective memory plays in shaping these perceptions. The study considers how Armenians are in a unique position, having two geographical entities that can be considered their homeland: modern-day Turkey and the Republic of Armenia. Through interviews with people holding varied perspectives, I gained valuable insights. During my investigations, I devoted significant time to research, delved into my own family history, and attempted to find answers to my own questions. Ultimately, this led me to submit an application to join Birthright.  


I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for several organisations, but the RCDS immediately stood out to me. Throughout my academic career, my focus has consistently revolved around the formulation, execution, and responses to both domestic and international policies, with a particular emphasis on their implications for national security. 


I believe that the most effective approach to mitigating International tensions through diplomacy occurs when governments heed to the insights of organisations like the RCDS, which maintain direct connections with local populations and can provide real-time firsthand accounts. While I'm here, I hope to attain a thorough grasp of the situation so that I can help keep up the efforts of the RCDS within the Armenian organisations of which I am a part, upon my return to the UK. 


I am excited to travel around the country and visit all the wonderful sites it has to offer, as well as indulge in the local cuisine. I am slowly learning how to play backgammon, but at the moment, chess is a bit of a reach for me. Who knows, maybe by the end of my stay, I will have mastered both!