Canadian composer has composed an opera devoted to Saint Gregory the Illuminator

Canadian composer Ron Hannah has composed an opera devoted to Saint Gregory the Illuminator. The performance of the first act in Armenia will be held at Hakob Paronyan State Musical Comedy Theater on 3 April. The opera is devoted to St. Gregory the Illuminator and is a reflection of the years that the latter spent in the Deep Dungeon, reported culture.am.

To stage the opera, representatives of the Foundation for Support to Cultural Education, authors and conductor Harutyun Arzumanyan held auditions at art and music schools and other educational institutions in Yerevan and Armenia’s provinces. Based on the results, they selected musicians of a chamber orchestra, two groups of actors, as well as a dance group composed of students of Yerevan State Dance School and a choir comprising students of Yerevan Spendiaryan Music School. The performance is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of the Republic of Armenia with the Republic of Austria and Canada. The “Illuminator” opera is the joint project of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and the Foundation for Support to Cultural Education.

Students of Holy Cross Harboyan High School write essays under title “My Sweet Language”

Hayern Aysor presents the essays that students of Holy Cross Harboyan High School of Beirut have written under the title “My Sweet Language”.

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Beirut hosts discussion devoted to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Lebanon

On 29 March, at the initiative of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon, Haigazian University hosted a discussion devoted to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Lebanon, as reported on the Facebook page of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon, according to Hayern Aysor.

Among the participants were Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Lebanon Samvel Mkrtchyan; President of Haigazian University, the Very Rev. Paul Haytostian, as well as former Ambassadors of Lebanon to Armenia Saad Zakhia (1997-99) and Gabriel Jeara (2003-11). Among other attendees were representatives of diplomatic, academic and religious circles.

Appreciating the relations that Armenia and Lebanon have had as two sovereign and independent countries for the past 25 years, Ambassador Mkrtchyan referred to the centuries-old relations between the two nations, the outstanding role of the Armenian community of Lebanon, as well as the reciprocal visits that high-ranking state officials have paid over the past two decades and the mutually beneficial cooperation in the spheres of politics, economy, culture and science.

Attaching importance to the bilateral cooperation hinged on value-based approaches in the international arena, Ambassador Mkrtchyan noted that in 2015, Ministers of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandyan and Jbran Basil participated in the international conference devoted to the protection of religious minorities in the Near East and Middle East held in Geneva. The Ambassador emphasized that the two friendly countries always support each other within international organizations thanks to the mutual trust in the sphere of political cooperation.

In his speech, President of Haigazian University, the Very Rev. Paul Haytostian stated with satisfaction that the graduates of the Class of 1993 of Haigazian University currently hold major offices within the state organizations of the Republic of Armenia.

In his speech, first Ambassador of the Republic of Lebanon to the Republic of Armenia Saad Zakhia described the first steps that the Embassy of Lebanon took after becoming the tenth embassy established in the Republic of Armenia following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Armenia. In his interesting speech, Ambassador Gabriel Jeara shared stories about his nine-year term as Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, touched upon the investments made by the Lebanese and Lebanese-Armenians and recalled his contacts with Catholicos Karekin I.

Ambassador Jeara emphasized that, thanks to their close relations, Armenia and Lebanon have been able to establish strong foundations for cooperation based on the mutual respect for their rich cultures over the past 25 years.

The participants of the discussion shared the view that the centuries-old friendship and mutual understanding between Armenia and Lebanon could be further enhanced and empowered through combined efforts.

Students of St. Hripsimiants College of Beirut write essays under title “My Sweet Language”

Hayern Aysor presents the essays of the students of the St. Hripsimiantz College of the Congregation of Armenian Catholic Sisters of Immaculate Conception in Beirut under the title “My Sweet Language”.

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Requiem Service to be performed for young Armenians killed during Four-Day Artsakh War

On 2 April, Palm Sunday, under the direction of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Requiem Services will be performed in memory of the brave young Armenians who fell in the Four-Day Artsakh War in April 2016. The Requiem Services will be performed after the Holy Masses at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the churches of the Dioceses of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Holy Mass at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin will begin at 11:00.

President Received Delegation Of The Osce Short-Term Observers

President Serzh Sargsyan received today the Special Coordinator and Head of the OSCE short-term observer mission Ignacio Sanchez Amor and his delegation who have arrived to Armenia to carry out the monitoring of the RA parliamentary elections which will take place on April 2.

The President of Armenia stressed the importance and highly valued the role of the OSCE observer missions in the electoral processes in Armenia, including the ongoing improvement and development of the electoral system, as well as the assistance provided to Armenia in the last twenty-five years.

Serzh Sargsyan noted with satisfaction that for monitoring the April 2 elections to the National Assembly, the PACE and OSCE/ODIHR have come up as a unified mission which is led by the skillful political figure, Mr. Ignacio Sanchez Amor who is well known for his principled position and experience.

Underscoring that the forthcoming elections are an important milestone on the road towards calling to life the vision of good governance in Armenia, the President noted that the Armenian authorities stress the importance of enhancing and enforcing the trust of the voters towards the electoral process. Towards this end, after wide political and public discussions and as a result of a consensus adopted were and enshrined in the new Electoral Code provisions dealing with the mechanisms called to secure the validity of the electoral processes. According to the President, the large-scale works conducted in this area allow to argue that all requisites are in place – political will, legislative regulations, technical means – to conduct good elections in Armenia, and the authorities in the framework of their jurisdiction will do the best to make it a reality.

Noting that election naturally imply competition, and as in any competition in elections too many of the competitors to get a prize may give in to various, including unacceptable methods. The President in this context stressed that it is critical for all observer missions to manifest a balanced, unbiased approach and form their assessment based on their own observations and credible data. The President of Armenia noted that the Armenian authorities have demonstrated readiness to assist comprehensively to all observer missions in the implementation of their monitoring, including on the election day and after that. The Special Coordinator and Head of the OSCE short-term observer mission Ignacio Sanchez Amor assured that there will be no deviation in their professional performance and that the OSCE/ODIHR, as the most experienced in Europe election monitoring organization which has been over a month in Armenia and has already carried out large-scale activities on the expert assessment of the situation, will continue to fulfill its mission with high professionalism and meticulousness.

The Head of the observation mission noted with satisfaction that the government of Armenia has engaged in the observation mission a large number, over 30 thousand representatives of local public organizations which also include multiple foreign observers. He also highlighted that it is important that all missions approach their work responsibly, with high professionalism.

Ignacio Sanchez Amor also welcomed and encouraged reforms carried out in Armenia.

Robot construction clubs operating in Armenia’s bordering Koti village

Is it really likely that one day robots will think like people? Participant of the robot construction club in Koti Ani Evinyan has her answer to that question. “Today, people are already thinking like robots,” Ani says.

The Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) has two Lego Robotics Clubs for 24 schoolchildren in the SMART Safe Room in Koti village of the Tavush Province. The participants are 5th-9th graders of the local school. The juniors (5th-6th graders) use the LEGO WeDo2.0 collections, while the seniors (7th-9th graders) work with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 collection.

As reported the COAF to Hayern Aysor, to use the LEGO sensor collections obtained last year, the village’s physics teacher Artsrun Siradeghyan had undergone training to host a robotics course. The participating children were selected through a special questionnaire that checked their logic, mindset and ability to examine a particular question in detail and move forward step-by-step. According to experts, the latter is very important for programming.

“Robotics and programming are the mathematics of our times. They are not only cognitive, but also applied knowledge. This is the current demand. The LEGO Robotics Club provides children with the opportunity to set an objective, find paths to meet that objective and open new horizons,” Program Director of the Children of Armenia Fund Esther Hakobyan stated.

The children of the Robotics Club of the SMART Safe Room first define a robot and what functions it can possibly perform. The goals of the children of Koti for robot construction are to construct robots that determine colors and distance, maintain the borders of a country, substitute a schoolteacher and transport a person to any place at the speed of their minds. Ninth grader Narek Kirakosyan says his goal can’t be accomplished. “I want to design a robot that exceeds the speed of light and examines the black holes in space,” Narek said.

The SMART Safe Rooms of the Children of Armenia Fund offer regular training programs for children of different ages, depending on their interests and abilities. There are no restrictions in terms of content and program in the SMART Safe Rooms in the Lori and Tavush Provinces. The participants can learn languages, as well as learn about arts, technologies and become self-educated.

Spain’s Petrer officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide

On 30 March, Petrer became the 25th city of Spain to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. As reported Ararat Armenian Association of Elda to Hayern Aysor, during a March 30 city council session, with 20 votes in favor and one abstention, Petrer officially recognized the first genocide of the 20th century, condemning the grave crime committed against humanity and urging the Spanish government to follow its example.

Based on the motion filed by Ararat Armenian Association of Elda, the joint Armenian Genocide resolution was submitted by representatives of the ruling Socialist Party, the Left Union, Compromis and Sí Podemos. Five parliamentarians of the People’s Party also voted in favor of the resolution, and even though the Ciudadanos Party abstained, it urged to condemn and recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Among the attendees of the session were representatives of the Armenian communities of Elda and Petrer. The motion was submitted by advisor of the Lefts in Petrer, representative for Peace and Solidarity Rafael Macia Espi. Advisors of the Sí Podemos Party, the Socialist Party and the Compromis Party called on recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide. Expressing gratitude to President of Ararat Armenian Association of Elda Anahit Ohanyan who said that if this great crime against humanity, Christianity and culture had been condemned and recognized a century ago, the horrible incidents wouldn’t be committed again in almost the same region.

Let us remind that Ararat Armenian Association of Elda recently held a conference entitled “Peace and Solidarity against Violence” in Petrer. The conference was dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and featured a marvelous exhibition that had the same title and showcased the paintings by the 4-14-year-old students of K. Kushnaryan School in Yerevan, as well as Merited Painter of the Republic of Armenia Anna Harutyunyan and Spain-based Armenian painter, expert in art history and theory Anahit Ohanyan.

Gurdjieff Ensemble to raise Armenian Genocide issue during concerts in April

In October 2015, ECM Records, one of the most prestigious companies in the world, released the Gurdjieff Ensemble’s album entitled “Komitas”, which features photos and a 30-page booklet containing information about the Ensemble. The release of the album was a major event for the Ensemble, which was established in 2008 in Yerevan. The booklet was written by composer Tigran Mansurian and the Ensemble’s founder Levon Eskenian. The album has been covered by the world’s top media outlets. Songlines Magazine has included it in the Top 10 Albums of 2015, and the songs off the album are played on the planes of British Airways.

After the album’s release, the Ensemble has received invitations from different countries to participate in prestigious festivals. In April, Gurdjieff Ensemble will be giving concerts in three European countries. The first concert will be held on 14 April in the Austrian city of Krems where the Ensemble will perform Armenian spiritual music and the works of Komitas and Gurdjieff. Afterwards, the Ensemble will leave for Greece where it will give a concert at the Parnasos Hall at the invitation of the Municipality of Smurni.

“The April 19 concert in Athens will only feature performances of the songs of Komitas and will be dedicated to the memory of the canonized martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. A day before the concert, we will be giving a nearly one-hour interview devoted to Armenian music, national instruments, Komitas and Gurdjieff on live television. After the concert in Athens, we will return to Austria and perform the songs of Komitas during the April 22 concert in Salzburg, the hometown of Mozart,” Levon Eskenian said in an interview with Hayern Aysor, adding that on 24 April, the day marking the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Ensemble, in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Denmark and Global Music, will organize a concert dedicated to the memory of Danish missionary Maria Jacobsen and the canonized martyrs of the Armenian Genocide in Copenhagen.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to convey the words of gratitude of the Armenian nation to the good-natured woman through Armenian music. Maria Jacobsen was one of the unique individuals who stood by the side of the Armenian nation during the terrible days of the Armenian Genocide and dedicated her entire life to Armenian orphans. I am well aware of this story since I was born in Lebanon where the missionary had established the “Trchnots Bouyn” (Birds’ Nest) orphanage,” Levon Eskenian stated.

At the end, the music attached importance to the fact that the concert tour (organized with the support of the RA Ministry of Culture) will take place in April, providing another opportunity to demand a fair solution to the issue of the Armenian Genocide through music once again.

Let us add that the goal of Gurdjieff Ensemble, which includes Armenia’s leading musicians, is to present Armenian traditional music, the works and musical adaptations of world famous Armenian musicians, including Komitas and Gurdjieff, preserving the old Armenian national instruments and showing the world the cultural wealth of the Armenian nation.

Gurdjieff Ensemble has given concerts and performed in several halls and has participated in international festivals in Lebanon, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Holland, Poland, Romania, Australia and Armenia.

The Ensemble also has its official website at gurdjieffensemble.com.

Gevorg Chichyan

BBC Worldwide Regional Representation Director visits RA Ministry of Diaspora

On 30 March, Deputy Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Srapionyan and Advisor to the Minister of Diaspora Stepan Petrosyan received Director of the Regional Representation of BBC Worldwide Sergey Stanovkin, who hosted a two-day seminar on “Strategic Communication and Tourism Branding” at the invitation of the State Tourism Committee of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia.

As reported Hayern Aysor, issues related to the role of the Armenian Diaspora in the development of tourism in Armenia, the engagement of investments and the formation of the country’s brand and issues on representing the Republic of Armenia in global information platforms were discussed during the meeting.

Sergey Stanovkin expressed gratitude for the cordial reception, shared his experience in working with different countries of the region and the results and suggested cooperating by properly presenting Armenia’s competitive advantages to the millions of viewers of the BBC.

Nerses Yeginerian: “I wanted Brazilians to know about Armenia”

On 30 March, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received Brazilian-Armenian Nerses Yeginerian, who is in Armenia for business purposes with his brother. In Brazil, Nerses, his father and brother, Buzand and Vazgen Yeginerian have a family business. They have decided to make an investment in Armenia and start a business. They are also planning on repatriating to Armenia in the future.

Greeting the guest, the Minister attached importance to Yeginerian’s right stance and active efforts in Armenia and particularly touched upon Nerses Yeginerian’s new programs. “It would be great, if you established a strong connection with Armenia and invested your knowledge, experience, contacts and potential in the Homeland,” the Minister added.

Nerses Yeginerian expressed gratitude for the cordial reception, talked about his visits to Armenia and stated that he had participated in the six-month course of the Gevorgyan Spiritual Lyceum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. “While I was watching the programs devoted to various countries on Globo TV, I thought it would be nice to present Armenia to Brazilian TV viewers. So, I sent a letter to Globo TV. To my surprise, I received a quick reply, and after a couple of interviews, Globo TV decided to make a film devoted to Armenia. In 2014, the crew visited Armenia. I expressed the desire to accompany the crew and visited Armenia again for two weeks. During those two weeks, I paid my first visit to the Ministry of Diaspora where the employees organized visits to museums in Armenia. Forty million people watched that film devoted to Armenia.”

Today, Nerses works as a journalist for Globo TV and is in his last year of studies in the Department of Law at the University of São Paulo.

Foreign Minister of Armenia received the Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

On March 30, Edward Nalbandian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, received Kent Harstedt, Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), who arrived to Armenia as part of the OSCE PA observation mission for the parliamentary elections.

During the meeting views were exchanged on preparatory works for the parliamentary elections to be held on April 2.

The interlocutors touched upon the issues related to the OSCE agenda and the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Melikyan Presents Detailed Atrocities Report from Azerbaijan’s 2016 4-Day War against Artsakh

Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan outlined the work of his office and presented the findings of its latest report on Azerbaijani war crimes and atrocities committed during the four-day April 2016 war to public policy leaders at a forum sponsored by the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), reported the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC).

CTR’s Benedikt Harzl, an Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Fellow in Central European Studies at Johns Hopkins University SAIS and assistant professor of international law at the University of Graz, hosted the March 15th discussion.  In his introductory remarks, Prof. Harzl noted the lack of a harmonized and unified approach to conflict resolution involving de facto states as one of the reasons these situations continue to fester and the importance of hearing the voices from these entities.

Prof. Harzl explained that a crucial question revolves around “what role should be afforded de facto states in the course of conflict resolution” and believed “international law is indeed in a position to provide accommodation with de facto states.”

Mr. Melikyan offered an overview of the responsibilities of the Human Rights Ombudsman, an independent position established in 2008, to address the human rights concerns of the citizens of Artsakh, including social, political, education, and religious rights.  The Ombudsman has the right to investigate human rights complaints, can demand information from state and local government officials, and has unrestricted access to prisons.  Mr. Melikyan, who was elected to a six year term by the Artsakh Parliament in May 2016, reported that he handles about 130 complaints a year.  He is not an “Armenian rights defender,” but a “human rights defender,” stressed Mr. Melikyan, who recounted his visit to an Azerbaijani soldier currently in custody in Artsakh during which he shared a copy of the European Convention on Human Rights and emphasized his right to an attorney of his choice.

 The number one human rights concern in Artsakh was the right to security and life, explained Mr. Melikyan, citing Azerbaijan’s constant threats of war and repeated attacks.  His investigation into the four-day April 2016 War found widespread and systematic war crimes abuses by Azerbaijani soldiers, including three cases of beheadings.  The report, which has been published on the Ombudsman’s website, found that of the 28 combatants and 3 civilians, who fell under the control of Azerbaijan, 90% of them were either tortured, executed, or mutilated.

Mr. Melikyan decried the lack of widespread condemnation of these atrocities, warning that “impunity encourages new atrocities.”

“The ALC will continue to raise awareness and explore mechanisms within the human rights field, which could be used to document or prevent war crimes,” said Executive Director Kate Nahapetian, who helped coordinate and promote the discussion at CTR.  In the days leading up to the presentation, the ALC sent letters to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressing concern for their failure to include the credible reports of war crimes in their annual human rights reports.

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Video of the lecture is available

Book “One Hundred Years of the Armenian Genocide: A Century of Silence” to be presented in Spain

On 19 May, after more than two years, the book “One Hundred Years of the Armenian Genocide: A Century of Silence” will be presented on the Balearic Islands in Spain. At Arthur Ghukasyan’s initiative, the book features the opinions of historians, journalists, lawyers, prose writers, poets, playwrights and artists on the Armenian Genocide. As reported Hayern Aysor, there is a total of about 35 authors from Armenia, Spain, Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Ecuador, Lebanon, France, Panama, Uruguay, Cuba, Paraguay, Argentina, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

The following are the authors: Arthur Ghukasyan, Aida Acosta, José Luis Alvarez Vélez, Núria Añó, Victor Hugo Arévalo Jordán, Freddy D. Astorga, Edgardo Daniel Barreda Valenzuela, Dora Isabel Berdugo Iriarte, Roni Bolivar, Enrique Bustamante, José Caraballo, Amado Carbonell Santos, Francisco Domene, Santos Domínguez Ramos, Julio Fernández Peláez, Miguel Alberto González González, G. H. Guarch, José Antonio Gurriarán, Dick Lester Núñez, Sandra Beatriz Ludeña Jimenez, Rodrigo Yano Isaza, Ara Malikian, Virginia Mendoza, Juan Merelo-Barbera, Jean Meyer, Marcos Antonio Pareja Sosa, Gonzalo Perera, Luis Manuel Pérez Boitel, Jorge Rubiani, Mariano Saravia, Yanira Soundy, Gustavo Sterczek, Luciano Andrés Valencia, Fernando José Vaquero Oroquieta, Máximo Vega and Gregorio Vigil-Escalera.