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A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Q&A by Melina Khanagyan, member of PTPI’s Provadia, Bulgaria Student Chapter

Where are you from? I am from Gyumri, Armenia, but I live and work in Provadia, Bulgaria

What was it like growing up there? It was terrible. There was a great earthquake that totally destroyed my town. Then there was a war between Armenia and Azerbejan. The years of my childhood were full of starvation and poverty. Fortunately, I was a child and didn’t understand the difficulties of life.

Tell me something interesting about your home town/country. My home town is Gyumri. It is the second largest city of my country and was the economic and cultural center of Armenia before the earthquake in 1988. Twenty-six years have passed since the earthquake and our town has yet to be reconstructed, but I love my home town very much. I have to mention that I have lived in Provadia, Bulgaria, for almost 10 years. Provadia is a little ancient town full of historical places. It is situated between two great mountains, on one of which has a great ancient fortress from the 7th century, called Ovech. Many tourists visit Provadia to see the fortress.

What do you do for a living? I teach English in a Bulgarian comprehensive school.

Are you involved in any volunteer or community organizations? Yes, I am part of a PTPI Student Chapter since October.

How did you get involved with PTPI? A friend of my colleague told me about PTPI and we decided to start a chapter.

What is your most memorable PTPI experience? We earned enough money to help an elderly man see the lights of the word with his own eyes.

What has surprised you most about PTPI? PTPI is a longstanding organization spread all over the world that offers kindness to humanity.

What have you learned from PTPI? PTPI has taught me to be more useful to society and people, and to encourage youth to be more creative and to fight for a better future.

What would you tell someone who is considering a PTPI membership? I would tell them that PTPI is a unique organization doing only kind things

What is your superpower? Being industriousness

What is your favorite quote? “Where there is a wish there is a way” and “Make kindness and don’t wait for answer”

What food or dish best represents you or your culture? Armenian dolma, barbeque, and khash (a dish made from cow’s feet)

PTPI Stories

We have 23,700 members around the world, and each has a story to tell. Discover the drives, dreams and ambitions of our PTPI network members, and then share your story with us. It’s how we break down barriers to peace and understanding.


Thank you for your ongoing support for our mission at People to People International. We, as a whole, continue to strive to live up to the legacy of world peace. But every day we make a choice to make a difference. That difference cannot be made without you and your contributions. Only together can we create everlasting peace and only together can we strive for and achieve greatness.

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater joined People to People International as the Chief Operating Officer in January 2018 and in April of that same year, he became Chief Executive Officer.

The People of People to People