SUZANNE PEARCE, a founder of the Cambridge Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA) passed away on April 14, 2016. A committed peace activist Suzy, as a member of the Cambridge Peace Commission, played a crucial role in the formation of CYSCA and the events leading up to the official signing in 1987 of a Sister City Agreement with Yerevan, the Capital of Armenia, then one of the 15 Republics of the Soviet Union.
The following are excerpts from a presentation by CYSCA Board member Jack Medzorian on May 21, 2016 at a memorial service for Suzanne Pearce at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Cambridge.
Thanks, Miranda and Sarah, for allowing me the honor of reviewing the 30 years of your mother Suzy’s life with CYSCA. It all began with her deep passion for peaceful co-existence, when she and a group of peace activists, mostly members of the Cambridge Peace Commission, decided to help resolve the cold war in the early 80’s, by forming a sister city with Yerevan Armenia, capital city of the smallest republic of the USSR. They believed that a people to people relationship on shared values would transcend differences in political ideology. Following an exchange of delegations in 1986, which included Suzy’s first of two visits to Armenia, CYSCA became a reality in 1987.
Suzy was the sole founder of CYSCA who remained active with the organization to the very end of her life, deeply committed to its mission of citizens’ exchanges/dialogues on educational and cultural themes. She not only ran the organization as President for over 15 years, she remained engaged in a real sense bringing her unique skills in education, transparent and democratic governance, civil society, human rights, rule of law, environmental issues, green energy, and you name it, all important topics for Armenia as it transitioned from a Soviet state into an independent republic in 1991, four years after CYSCA was formed. Suzy had an immense outreach of people who admired and respected her and shared her passion for the mission of CYSCA, which helped CYSCA reach out into the community and gain support for its programs. Thank you, Suzy!
Through our countless CYSCA programs, we hosted several hundred professionals from Armenia and youth exchange projects, which Suzy enjoyed immensely and played an integral part. She made her unique contribution because she loved helping people, wherever, whoever or whatever they are. Suzy engaged with hundreds of participants on our CYSCA projects, who all got to know and respect her for her judgement, wisdom and insight on so many different subjects. I can say that had Suzy and her Peace Commission colleagues not begun CYSCA, hundreds of folks would never have enjoyed the opportunity for a CYSCA experience. Suzy made a real positive impact on their lives and others in Armenia, and will always be remembered for her initiatives and commitment to the very end of her life. So, thank you Suzy for the privilege of working with you and for your vision in creating CYSCA!