Arianne Caoili to bike through Cilicia to support Armenian children

by Antonio Pereira
9/17/2018 – While Levon Aronian is fighting the chess elite in arduous events, his wife Arianne Caoili is engaged in various entrepreneurial and philanthropic initiatives in Armenia. The Australian Woman International Master will cycle through the south coastal region of Cilicia to raise funds on behalf of the Children of Armenia Fund. The biking tour's fundraising will allow COAF to expand its athletic programs for youth living in six villages of Armenia's Tavush region.

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An expedition to reduce poverty

Press release

Arianne Caoili, wife of Armenian Chess Grandmaster Levon Aronian, will embark on a two-week cycling tour throughout Cilicia, Anatolia and northern Iran this month. Arianne will start her journey from the medieval Armenian port city of Ayas in Cilicia [Mersin province, in modern-day Turkey -Ed.] on September 21 and will finish the trek in the town of Agarak located on the Armenian-Iranian border. 

Map

Arianne's biking-ride route (click or tap to expand)

Born in Manila, Arianne Caoili moved to Armenia in 2013 and has been engaged in various entrepreneurial and philanthropic initiatives. The Australian chess player, born to a Dutch mother and Filipino father, was awarded the title of Woman International Master (WIM) by FIDE and has competed in seven Women's Chess Olympiads.

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is an organization dear to Arianne's heart since it is committed to improving the lives of children throughout rural Armenia by giving them opportunities for advancement. Arianne has always been passionate about helping children, especially with regard to education, music and disabilities. 

The biking tour's fundraising goal of $5,500 USD will allow COAF to expand its athletic programs for youth living in six villages of Armenia's Tavush region. Funds will go toward establishing clubs and much-needed sporting equipment and salaries for coaches. Tavush, located on the border with Azerbaijan, is prone to sporadic attacks and is in vital need of programs aimed at revitalizing the region and giving youth newfound opportunities and health-oriented activities. 

Arianne Caoili

Arianne has lived in Armenia since 2013

Caoili has utilized her professional background in public and private sector consulting as an advisor to the Armenian government. In 2015, she established Armenia's first boutique strategy consulting firm, Akron Consulting, which specializes in business and public policy advising. She is also owner and editor-in-chief of Champord, the only free, mass-distributed newspaper in the Caucasus region, with the largest print run in Armenia. She serves as chairman of the board for the Champord Fund, an organization invested in the development of civil society and the training of young Armenian journalists. Arianne is currently the CEO of one of Armenia's largest alcohol distributors, 40 Degrees, a fast-growing, unique and novel start-up which she founded three years ago.

Arianne's cycling expedition will be documented by GoPro action cameras and journalists who will accompany her. Converse Bank has agreed to cover some of the expenses Arianne will incur on her trip. COAF will regularly share footage of Arianne on the road via its social media outlets. Stopping points on the route include Adana, Sis, Gaziantep, Tarsus, Urfa, Diyarbakir, Van, Dogubayazit and Maku. 

Caoili expressed her excitement regarding the biking trip:

I am excited to explore the rich history and amazing culture of medieval and ancient Armenia. Throughout the cycling tour I will encounter the vestiges of Hellenistic and Roman empires in Armenia. Further afield we will discover ancient cultures and temples that predate recorded history.

You can support Arianne Caoili's biking tour for COAF by visiting her GoFundMe page.

Twitter #bike4coaf

About COAF

COAF (www.coafkids.org) has been using community-led, comprehensive approaches in reducing poverty in rural Armenia since 2003, impacting the lives of 75,000 people.  Its strategic programs in education, healthcare, child and family services, community engagement and economic development help Armenian village youth access the resources to achieve and, in turn, give back to their communities and the world. COAF believes the new generation of Armenia, together with their families, have the potential and opportunity to revitalize the fabric of community life, and combat the rapid emigration plaguing the country since its independence from the Soviet Union. The organization has dramatically improved the quality of life in 44 village communities over the past 15 years.

COAF SMART is the organization's newest initiative designed to jumpstart the advancement of rural communities by connecting them to the world by use of advanced communication and information technology. The first state-of-the-art COAF SMART Center opened its doors in Lori, Armenia in May of this year, offering the 150,000 population of the region both project-based and action-based learning programs. COAF's board of directors cover all administrative costs, allowing 100% of donations to go toward funding programs. The organization has consistently secured the highest rating on Charity Navigator. Prominent supporters of COAF's mission include Serj Tankian, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Stamos, Andrea Martin, Tigran Hamasyan, Vanessa Williams, Sean Hayes, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Aniston, Patricia Field, Victor Garber, Ariana Grande, Conan O'Brian, Alexis Ohanian, and Usher.




Antonio is a freelance writer and a philologist. He is mainly interested in the links between chess and culture, primarily literature. In chess games, he skews towards endgames and positional play.
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DennisBrian DennisBrian 9/21/2018 12:59
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eloquence45 eloquence45 9/18/2018 08:03
I don't think it's safe even when traveling with journalists. Huwag ka ng tumuloy!
Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 9/18/2018 05:51
I also wonder why the trip is mostly through Turkey when the benefit goes to Armenia. Are the Turks likely to respond favourably? And going across the border of Iran doesn't seem like an easy prospect either. I hope they have permission from the Iranians to do that.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 9/17/2018 10:39
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/turkey-travel-advisory.html
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey
https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/reizen/reisadviezen/turkije
Need anymore? Exactly the area where she wants a ride. Maybe she will not get arrested, but she isn't likely to get much protection either - and that on a advertised trip instead of a secret one.

I really don't get it Chessbase is publishing this like it is a philantropic bike tour in the French Alps. If something happens to her, you won't be able to deny some responsibility. The article doesn't give the impression she really knows what she is going to do.

"I am excited to explore the rich history and amazing culture of medieval and ancient Armenia." Get real, Mrs. Caoili, the only part of Armenia you're going to cycle (according to the map) is an Armenian border town - if you will make it their. Don't do it.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 9/17/2018 09:14
I traveled in northeastern Turkey and people were extremely friendly, although not very much accustomed to tourism. But southeastern Turkey, it's not exactly a war zone, but it isn't a relaxed place to be either. The whole idea of this biking tour seems rather naive, or maybe suggested without the safety of Mrs. Caoili too much in mind - especially when you make it look like an Armenian campaign.
RayLopez RayLopez 9/17/2018 05:16
I've traveled in Turkey several times, and eastern Turkey, which I never visited, seems dangerous. I hope she has company, as a woman alone can easily be abducted.
Denix Denix 9/17/2018 04:49
Good luck to you for your noble cause Ineng. Mag-ingat lang po.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 9/17/2018 02:24
I really wouldn't like to poke the bear, but it's a bit surprising from a journalistic point of view that the word 'Turkey' is not used even once in this article, when 80% of the tour is within its borders. Cilicia and Anatolia aren't national entities. And don't tell me I'm mixing politics into a noble cause when you're talking about 'the medieval Armenian port city of Ayas in Cilicia'. Even when this may have been historically true, I have trouble to see a non-political reason to specifically mention the backgrounds of the city. Or even when using it as the starting point of this tour. Hope you will get past the road blocks, Arianne.
John Smalec John Smalec 9/17/2018 01:36
Aronian is a very fortunate man to have a wife who cares for others like this.
uknighted72 uknighted72 9/17/2018 12:02
What a wonderful woman!
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