Alex Avanesyan: “Our collaboration with the Ministry of Diaspora is close and effective”

In an interview with Hayern Aysor, Vice-President of the Armenian National Autonomy of Hungary Alex Avanesyan presented the activities carried out by the Hungarian-Armenian community in 2017, the major actions to be carried out this year and touched upon the collaboration with the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Avanesyan, what is the purpose of your visit to Armenia this time?

Alex Avanesyan: I am here to obtain my Armenian passport, and I am very happy for that.

Whenever I visit Armenia in the beginning of the year, I have a meeting with Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan to inform her about the events that have taken place and the achievements that have been made throughout the passing year and to discuss issues on organizing joint activities in the future.

Hayern Aysor: How was the year 2017 for the Armenian community of Hungary? What cultural events and events for preservation of the Armenian identity did the community hold?

Alex Avanesyan: We organize several kinds of events to keep the Armenian community of Hungary active and viable and help shape an Armenian environment, and the past year was no exception.

One of the major and largest projects was the “Armenian Culture Days” Festival held from August 1 to September 30. It was held in not only Budapest and several cities across Hungary, but also in Romania, particularly the historic Transylvania and the city of Georgen of the state of Hargita.

The festival was launched with the screening of the film “The Promise” in Hungary. During the festival, singers of the Armenian community Davit Yengibaryan and Nelson Sahakyan gave concerts in several cities across Hungary. We also organized a photo exhibition.

The cultural events in Romania were held in the city of Georgen. From September 8 to 10, Georgen hosted the 7th Armenian Art Festival.

Among the guests of honor of the festival were Governor of Lori Province of Armenia Artur Nalbandyan, then Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Romania Hamlet Gasparyan and Mayor of Alaverdi Karen Paremuzyan (Alaverdi has established fraternal ties with Georgen).

The three-day program of the festival featured performances of Armenian folk songs, Armenian spiritual songs and folk dances by the choir of the Armenian Catholic Church of Georgen and Haiaqaghak Dance Group of Gerla/Armenopolis, a trip to the Armenian Chapel on Mount Chobot located near Georgen, as well as performances of the “Aznavour” and “Musa Ler” musicals by Urartu Armenian Theater Company of Budapest.

The festival was dedicated to the 380th anniversary of the establishment of Armenians in Georgen. On September 8, in memory of the historic date, an Armenian cross-stone was placed in the area near the local Armenian Catholic Church and unveiled during a solemn ceremony attended by the Armenian delegation, the President of the National Assembly of Hungary, representatives of the local authorities and guests from the Armenian community of Hungary. On the same day, the Home of the Armenian Community of Georgen opened its doors during a solemn ceremony.

Another solemn ceremony was held on September 10. The marble plaque (with inscriptions in Armenian, Hungarian and Romanian) dedicated to the first Abbot of the Mekhitarist Congregation Stepanos Akonts-Kyover (1740-1824) was unveiled in Georgen and consecrated by Apostolic leader of the Armenian Catholic Community of Transylvania, Archbishop Giorgy Yakubini.

Hayern Aysor: The year 2018 is a year of anniversaries for Armenia. We Armenians will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the heroic Battles of May, the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the First Republic of Armenia and the 2,800th anniversary of the foundation of Yerevan. What initiatives will the Hungarian-Armenian community be undertaking?

Alex Avanesyan: We always focus on the organizing of events on such major occasions since every event helps consolidate the members of the community.

Of course, we will also be organizing events dedicated to the anniversaries this year. We have different ideas, and I also discussed these ideas during my meeting with RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.

We decided to team up with the Ministry to hold a culture week that will feature film screenings, exhibitions, presentations, reading sessions and receptions. We will organize a photo exhibition and a concert dedicated to the 2,800th anniversary of the foundation of Yerevan. We might hold the photo exhibition and concert in Transylvania as well.

In general, the community starts taking action in the month of March. One of the first programs will be the showing of the play dedicated to Good Friday, which is ahead of the Holy Resurrection (Easter).

Hayern Aysor: This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. How would you describe the collaboration with the Ministry aimed at strengthening the bonds between Armenia and the Diaspora?

Alex Avanesyan: Our collaboration with the RA Ministry of Diaspora has been close and effective. Our collaboration is especially close and effective with the Department for Armenian Communities of Europe. Evidence of this collaboration is our participation in the programs and projects of the Ministry, including the Pan-Armenian Forum of Journalists, the “Ari Tun” Program and more.

Generally speaking, I highly appreciate the establishment of the RA Ministry of Diaspora. I am thankful to Minister Hranush Hakobyan for standing by our side and for her heartfelt attitude. I believe our partnership with the Ministry of Diaspora will continue in the future.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan

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