Press conference held at the RA Ministry of Diaspora

On April 27, Deputy Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Srapionyan and Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs at the RA Ministry of Diaspora Gagik Gyanjumyan gave a press conference devoted to the “Ari Tun” Program and “Diaspora” Summer School Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, the “We Sing Komitas” Pan-Armenian Festival and the Awards “For notable contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity”, as well as the events to be held as part of the weeklong events under the title “On the Road of Hope and Renaissance”.

Serzh Srapionyan noted that the Ministry was working under a tight schedule. “In April, Armenia and all Armenian communities of the Diaspora held events and ceremonies dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Events were even held in countries whose governments don’t encourage the conduct of such events,” the Deputy Minister noted, adding the following: “This week, the Ministry will be holding several events that are part of the weeklong events entitled “On the Road of Hope and Renaissance”. Tomorrow the Ministry of Diaspora will host a roundtable discussion entitled “With the Support of the Diaspora” and a meeting with Tigran Mansurian.”

Touching upon the process of implementation of the programs of the Ministry, Serzh Srapionyan emphasized that more and more Diaspora Armenians express the desire to participate in the programs every year. “About 8,000 Diaspora Armenian boys and girls have visited Armenia through the “Ari Tun” Program over the past couple of years alone. The “Ari Tun” Program is a viable program that has stood the test of time. By visiting Armenia once, the young Diaspora Armenians see, recognize, love and become connected to the Homeland and the members of their host families. On the one hand, this Program serves as a real bridge between Armenia and the Diaspora, and on the other hand, several participants of the Program have already come and settled in Armenia,” Srapionyan said.

Srapionyan noted that the Ministry believed it is important to have Diaspora Armenian businessmen make investments in Armenia and start their businesses, adding that there are already many Diaspora Armenians who have settled in Armenia and have successful businesses.

Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs at the RA Ministry of Diaspora Gagik Gyanjumyan talked about the programs of the Ministry and stated the following: “This year, we started receiving the participants of the “Ari Tun” Program on 10 April. In the first stage, Armenia has received 66 Diaspora Armenian boys and girls from the St. Mesrop Arabian Armenian School of Alfortville, the “Dprotsaser” Armenian School of Paris and the Hamazkayin Armenian School of Marseille. The other stages will be launched in June, and this year, we expect to host over 1,000 young Armenians from different countries.” Gyanjumyan added that the participants of the “Ari Tun” Program have been learning how to engrave crosses on small stones since last year and that they have been taking those stones with great pleasure, dedicating them to their loved ones or keeping them as a memory of the time that they have spent in Armenia.”

Touching upon the “Diaspora” Summer School Program, Gyanjumyan stressed the high number of participants this year. “For instance, the Program has seen a high turnout of participants from Russia, Ukraine and Lebanon every  year, but there are certain European countries where the people are relatively passive, and we are making efforts to increase the number of participants from specifically those countries,” he said.

Talking about the “We Sing Komitas” Pan-Armenian Festival, Gyanjumyan noted that this year’s festival would be held from September 24 to 29 and would gather Diaspora Armenian choirs, bands, orchestras and individual performers. Well-known ensembles and individuals from the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh will also be participating in the festival.

“Every  year, the Ministry of Diaspora, in partnership with the World Armenian Congress and the Union of Armenians of Russia, organizes the Awards “For notable contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity”, and this year, the organizations have announced the terms and conditions for participation in the competition in the following categories: “Defender of the Mother Language”, Best Armenian School, Best Youth and Student Organization and “Free Artsakh” children’s essay contest. The goal of the competition is to encourage the contributions that Armenian groups, organizations and individuals make for the preservation and development of the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, as well as value and appreciate the efforts that Armenian communities make in this direction,” Gyanjumyan added.

At the end, the speakers answered questions from journalists.

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