Press conference devoted to the programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora in 2014

On 8 May, a press conference devoted to the “Ari Tun” and “Diaspora Summer School” Programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, as well as the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival and the 2014 Awards “For notable contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity” was held at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. The keynote speaker, Chief of Staff of the RA Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan presented the programs and mentioned that they are mainly aimed at solving the problems with preservation of the Armenian identity.

Talking about the “Ari Tun” Program, Firdus Zakaryan mentioned that this year’s program is for teens and youth between the ages of 13 and 18. Sisyan has been declared the capital of the youth, and for the first time, the participants of the program will also take part in events and meetings in Sisyan.

This year, for the first time ever, Armenia will host a group of 40-50 Islamized Armenians from Diyarbekir (Tigranakert) as part of the “Ari Tun” Program, and a concert will be held in Diyarbekir on June 29th.

Like previous years, this year’s “Ari Tun” Program will also be held in eight stages. The program is set to kick off on June 15th and will end on August 30th and will bring together up to 1,000 young Diaspora Armenians.

The keynote speaker also presented the events to be held in May, including the Days of Culture of New Julfa as part of the Community Days Program (21-24 May), the forum for representatives of the Armenian Genocide Regional Committees ahead of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide (26-27 May) and the session of state commissions (27 May).

Director of the “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival Samvel Haroyan presented the program for the festival and attached importance to the fact that the festival helps strengthen the Armenia-Diaspora relations and relations within the Diaspora. This year, there will be more participants from different countries around the world. The program is set to kick off on June 1st and will be held in five stages, including “Days of Armenian Dances”, “Days of Choral Arts”, “Festival of the Duduk and Other Armenian Musical Instruments”, “Armenian Song Day” and a “Poetry Evening” dedicated to Siamanto’s birthday.

Correspondent for the “Days of Armenian Dances” Karen Gevorgyan mentioned that this year’s festival will bring together nearly 600 dancers from the USA, Canada, Australia, Kuwait and Iran. Gevorgyan particularly mentioned: “The key objective of the festival is to reinterpret the future of Armenian culture. I wish all the participants show their creativity and brilliant imagination.”

Member of the festival’s artistic council Lilit Danielyan mentioned that the “Days of Choral Arts” are set to kick off on August 1st and that they are dedicated to the 85th anniversary of Maestro Ohannes Chekidjian, which is very binding.

Talking about the “Festival of Duduk and Other Armenian Musical Instruments”, member of the artistic council Gevorg Dabaghyan mentioned that this year’s festival will bring together dudukists from the USA, Australia, the Russian Federation and Artsakh as well.

Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs Armen Andreasyan presented the “Diaspora Summer School” Program, which will be held through different courses, including Training for Teachers of Armenian Schools of the Diaspora, Course for Diaspora Armenian Journalists, Course for Young Diaspora Armenian Leaders, Accelerated Armenian Language Courses (Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian) and Training Course for Choirmasters and Dance Instructors. This year there will also be a Training Course for Representatives and Activists of Armenian Community Organizations. The organizers have already received 90 applications from 14 countries, and more than 200 are expected to participate in the program.

Head of the Division for Scientific and Educational Programs of the Department of All-Armenian Programs Sirvard Hambaryan presented the Awards “For notable contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity” held by the RA Ministry of Diaspora, the World Armenian Congress and the Union of Armenians of Russia. This year, the Awards will be held in the “Defender of the Mother Language”, “Best Armenian School”, “Best Armenian Media Outlet” categories and will include essay contests dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide with the title “We have existed, we exist and we will exist”. The speaker mentioned that the past two years have seen the emergence of a new trend as many organizations and individuals transfer their financial awards to the renovation of schools in Armenia’s bordering villages and to the Syrian-Armenian Relief Fund.

Head of the Department for Relations with Pan-Armenian, International and Church Organizations Kamo Sargsyan presented the Days of Culture of New Julfa Program.

Sargsyan mentioned that Anna Mayilyan will be giving a concert entitled “Romances of Iranian-Armenia Composers” on May 21st. The program for the Days of Culture of New Julfa will include a presentation of the books The Iranian-Armenian Community Now and State of Karin in the Mid-19th Century. On 23 May, an exhibition showcasing the Bible and other manuscripts brought from New Julfa and an international conference devoted to “The Role of the 350-year old Holy Savior Church in the Lives of Iranian-Armenians” will be held at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenadaran). On 24 May, the screening of a film devoted to the Armenian community of New Julfa and the history of the Holy Savior Church will be held at Arno Babajanyan Concert Hall and will be followed by a concert featuring performances by Isfahan’s Komitas Choir and Anna Mayilyan. An exhibition entitled “History of the Armenian Community of New Julfa” will be opened in the lobby of Arno Babajanyan Concert Hall.

Measures will be taken to turn the Holy Savior Church into a place for pilgrimages for all Armenians. The first step will be to organize a pilgrimage for young Iranian-Armenian participants of the programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, in association with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Republic of Armenia. A Leaflet devoted to the Holy Savior Church will be published, and stamps dedicated to the Armenia community of New Julfa and the anniversary of the Holy Savior Church will be issued.

In the end, the speakers answered the attending journalists’ questions regarding funding and the participation of Islamized Armenians in the “Ari Tun” Program.

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