Preparations for 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference underway

On 4 April, Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan held a consultation devoted to the preparations for the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference to be held in Yerevan on 19-20 September.

As reported Hayern Aysor, the format and topics of the conference, the participants and organizational issues were considered during the consultation.

The Minister stated that it was more than important to ensure the participation of all capable forces and experts in the pan-Armenian event.

Importance was attached to the active involvement of the heads of Armenia’s interested government agencies in the conference.

The heads of departments and divisions of the Ministry of Diaspora made their comments and suggestions that Minister Hranush Hakobyan took into account and finalized the topics of the conference, stating that the activities needed to be targeted at the engagement of investments, preservation of the Armenian identity, solution to youth and cultural issues in the Diaspora, the Artsakh issue and public diplomacy and the fight against anti-Armenian propaganda.

The Minister assigned to work with Diaspora Armenian organizations and institutions to develop the draft of the program for the conference and start taking the required preparatory steps in order.

Rare rug made by Armenian craftsmen on sale for $1,000 in Turkey

A nearly 160-year-old rug made by Armenian craftsmen of Sebastia is on sale in Turkey.

The “owner” of the rare rug is selling it for $1,000 on the largest real estate website in Turkey, referring to the rug as “a royal rug” in the advertisement.

Armenian national ornaments and cross-shaped signs are seen on the rare rug made from wool and painted with tint from a toron tint herb.

It is known that the rug, which was made in Sebastia (Sivaz state in modern-day Turkey-Tert.am) and has come a long way, is currently located in Istanbul. The private entity had purchased the rug earlier from an antique store located in the territory of Western Armenia.

Mexico’s Consul General in Los Angeles meets with Armenian American businessmen

At the initiative of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles, Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles Carlos Eugenio de Alba Zepeda had a meeting with twenty Armenian American businessmen, reported the Department of Media, Information and Public Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

The Consul General presented the prospective directions for Armenian-Mexican business relations and the leading areas of Mexican economy in which the future business plans will make it possible to bridge the Mexican and Armenian communities and help establish business relations between the two nations.

Among the participants of the meeting was President of the Armenian American Business Council Alec Baghdasaryan, who stressed the importance of revitalizing relations between Mexico and Armenia through the contacts of Mexican and Armenian businessmen.

At the end, an agreement was reached on holding such meetings more regularly.

Melsida Kardumyan: “There is a need for special textbooks for children receiving inclusive education”

There is quite a lot of progress being made in the field of inclusive education these days. Nevertheless, there are still serious problems with regard to teaching. This and other similar issues were the topics for my interview for Hayern Aysor, and my interlocutors were Principal of Vardan Minasyan Primary School of Martakert (staffed with inclusive teachers) Melsida Kardumyan and teachers Ruzan Avetisyan and Lusine Saiyan who, with the support of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia and through the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement, are preparing to leave for Beirut to participate in an inclusive education training course at Holy Cross Harboyan High School.

Melsida Kardumyan: I am the school’s principal. I am also a biology teacher. Although I work at a school staffed with inclusive teachers, as a teacher, I have my observations regarding inclusive education. Since 2011, our devoted teachers have been working with pleasure and patience to provide inclusive education to children in need. We have three inclusive teachers at our school, including geography teacher and sociologist Ruzan Avetisyan, special pedagogue Lusine Saiyan and a psychologist, who wasn’t able to come to Yerevan with us due to circumstances. Of course, it is not easy in terms of psychology, but we are able to work in solidarity and by helping each other. I don’t set a barrier between me and my teachers. We are one big family and have healthy and unhealthy children who need care, attention and knowledge. It is obvious that we are more considerate and show more attention and a special attitude towards the unhealthy children. We collaborate with our ministry’s medical and psychological center in Stepanakert. We don’t have that big of a problem with funding. What is important for us are the conditions of the building. We don’t have nice, special and interesting classrooms to conduct extracurricular lessons with the children. I have fit my inclusive education classroom within a 6 square meter clinic.  We still don’t have any problems with nutrition. They say the time for a test is extended for 30 minutes for children receiving inclusive education, but if the child doesn’t understand, the test is the same, no matter how much time you extend. Special textbooks have to be developed and written and special programs need to be created for children receiving inclusive education. The problem is the lack of inclusive education textbooks and programs. Of course, our teachers have individual lesson plans based on which we develop our curricula, but it would be nice to have textbooks specially designed for schools providing inclusive education. At our school, there are 17 children receiving inclusive education in the 1st to 9th grades. The consolidated efforts of our entire teaching staff help achieve tangible results. I think this trip to the Holy Cross Harboyan High School in Beirut and our participation in the training course will definitely help us gain professional skills. We will learn, consult and exchange experiences. It is a pity that there is not enough time.

Ruzanna Avetisyan, teacher of geography and social pedagogy for inclusive students

You asked what is more important for those children-the essence of the teacher or the subject. Frankly, I must say it is the essence of the teacher, and then the skills and abilities of the teacher. Every student is able to express himself however he can, and it is our duty as teachers to observe that with understanding and show an individual approach to each student.

Lusine Saiyan, special inclusive teacher

I am a special inclusive teacher who only works with children engaged in inclusive education. I am an Armenian language and literature teacher. Unfortunately, during my years of study, there were no inclusive education specialists, and the situation hasn’t changed. I have acquired skills through training courses. Today, there is a great need for faculties for inclusive education. Children receiving inclusive education are very different in terms of their thinking. A 5th grader can have the abilities of a 1st grader, while another child can have greater abilities or abilities that are characteristic of his age. There are also children who can’t even hold scissors correctly and cut. The presence and professional skills of a special teacher, sociologist-pedagogue or psychologist and the best human attributes are crucial when it comes to inclusive education.

Ending my interview with the devoted teachers from Artsakh, I want to hope that, through the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement launched by the RA Ministry of Diaspora, one of our compatriots will extend a hand to Vladimir Minasyan Primary School #2 of Martakert to help create special classrooms for the children receiving inclusive education and a playground for them. I also hope the problem with curricula and textbooks is solved soon.

Karine Avagyan

Hayastan Fund unveils ultra-modern Oncology Center in Stepanakert

On April 2, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund officially unveiled the newly built Oncology Center of Stepanakert. The ultra-modern facility was built with the financial support of French-Armenian benefactor Richard Ohanessian, in memory of his late parents Vartan and Koharig Ohanessian, with additional support from the government of Artsakh.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ohanessian, along with Bedros Terzian, chairman of the fund’s French affiliate and his wife, had traveled to Artsakh in order to participate in the unveiling of the Oncology Center. The opening ceremony was attended by Bako Sahakyan, president of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh; Arayik Harutyunyan, prime-minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh; Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund; government officials; guests; and a large number of local residents.

The Oncology Center will serve patients from throughout Artsakh and Southern Armenia. The three-story facility comprises general and clinical-pathomorphology laboratories, X-ray and mammography sections, and departments of surgery and intensive therapy. The facility will have 35 patient beds.The in-patient ward is designed to accommodate day and overnight patients for surgical and chemotherapy services. Patients who require other types of care can be transported to the adjacent State Hospital through a ground-floor connection. The ground floor of the Oncology Center also includes several reserve rooms, intended to accommodate large numbers of patients in case of a national emergency.

“It’s a joy to see Artsakh growing day by day, adding new and wonderful institutions, and the living standards of its residents rising accordingly. I convey my gratitude to all those who have made this great center possible,” said benefactor in his remarks during the opening ceremony. For his great contribution to the Hayastan Fund’s projects in Artsakh, Richard Ohanessian was awarded with a Medal of Gratitude by the President Bako Sahakyan prior to the opening event.

“It’s no accident that the opening of this facility is being held on April 2,” said Bedros Terzian as he welcomed the attendees and added, “This is a symbolic day. It’s also a message to all, that we must continue to build on the soil of Artsakh and help empower its advancement and prosperity.”
“Artsakh has long needed a modern oncology center,” said Dr. Armen Hayriyan, the republic’s top oncologist and executive director of the new Oncology Center. “Annually, some 650 cancer patients in Artsakh need specialized care. Since the 1960s, diagnostic and treatment services have been provided to such patients in an inadequate structure that falls far short of modern standards.”

The new Oncology Center will soon be provided with furniture and state-of-the-art medical equipment, through the support of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s French affiliate. To date, patient beds have been installed; and medical machinery and instruments will be delivered to the facility within the next few weeks. The fund and the government of Artsakh will continue to work together to make sure that the center has everything else it needs for its work. Currently, the Oncology Center’s medical staff is receiving advanced trainings in France. The trainings are being provided by the France-based Hi -Med organization, with the support of the fund’s French affiliate.

The new Oncology Center of Stepanakert is part of a large medical plaza that includes the Polyclinic (built in 2006 with the financial support of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s US Eastern Region affiliate) and the State Hospital (built in 2013 with the sponsorship of Russian-Armenian benefactor Samvel Karapetyan).

“It’s no accident that the opening of this facility is being held on April 2,” said Bedros Terzian as he welcomed the attendees and added, “This is a symbolic day. It’s also a message to all, that we must continue to build on the soil of Artsakh and help empower its advancement and prosperity.”
“Artsakh has long needed a modern oncology center,” said Dr. Armen Hayriyan, the republic’s top oncologist and executive director of the new Oncology Center. “Annually, some 650 cancer patients in Artsakh need specialized care. Since the 1960s, diagnostic and treatment services have been provided to such patients in an inadequate structure that falls far short of modern standards.”

The new Oncology Center will soon be provided with furniture and state-of-the-art medical equipment, through the support of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s French affiliate. To date, patient beds have been installed; and medical machinery and instruments will be delivered to the facility within the next few weeks. The fund and the government of Artsakh will continue to work together to make sure that the center has everything else it needs for its work. Currently, the Oncology Center’s medical staff is receiving advanced trainings in France. The trainings are being provided by the France-based Hi -Med organization, with the support of the fund’s French affiliate.

The new Oncology Center of Stepanakert is part of a large medical plaza that includes the Polyclinic (built in 2006 with the financial support of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s US Eastern Region affiliate) and the State Hospital (built in 2013 with the sponsorship of Russian-Armenian benefactor Samvel Karapetyan).

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Artsakh’s State Jazz Orchestra to perform during charity concert in Yerevan

As reported Hayern Aysor, on 8 April (19:00), the State Jazz Orchestra of Artsakh will perform at the “Make Jazz Not War” concert at Aram Khachaturian Grand Concert Hall. The special guests of the evening will be Armen Hyusnunts and Levon Malkhasyan.

Artsakh PM highly appreciated Halo Trust’s demining efforts in Artsakh

On 4 April, Prime Minister of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan participated in the event organized by Halo Trust and held on the occasion of the International Day of Mine Awareness.

Halo Trust’s Nagorno-Karabakh Program Director Ash Boddy presented the Halo Trust’s activities and its international experience in and significance of demining. He attached importance to the support of the authorities of Artsakh to ensuring effectiveness of demining in the republic. According to him, in case of sufficient funds, all minefields will be cleared in Artsakh by 2020.

The Prime Minister greeted the attendees and particularly stated the following: “Halo Trust is performing such a major task that is sometimes invisible, but is of great significance for the prevention of accidents. I would like to thank the employees of the organization and all the supporters who have always supported Halo Trust and Artsakh. We highly appreciate your work and are always ready to do our best to support the organization’s humanitarian efforts.”

Ceremony commemorating victims of Four-Day Artsakh War held in Batumi

On 2 April, at the Holy Savior Church in Batumi, pastor of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia, Fr. Priest Ararat Gumbalyan performed a Requiem Service in memory of the Armenian soldiers killed during the four-day war unleashed by Azerbaijan on 2 April 2016, reported the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia to Hayern Aysor.

After the Requiem Service, representatives of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia, members of the Armenian community and community organizations laid flowers near the cross-stone placed in the churchyard.

Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Batumi Yeghishe Sargsyan and Fr. Priest Ararat Gumbalyan gave speeches in which they condemned Azerbaijan’s aggression.

The Consul General particularly emphasized that Armenian soldiers responded to Azerbaijan’s large-scale attack by sacrificing their lives, retaliating the adversary and preventing crimes against the people of Artsakh. The Consul General stated that, during the four-day war, Armenians around the world clearly showed their unbreakable will to unite and show resistance in times of danger.

Yeghishe Sargsyan also emphasized the Armenian side’s consistent position on the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

French-Armenian businessman to fulfill his longtime dream in Armenia

“Think for a moment about what you have done for your nation when you lay your head down to sleep every night”-this call of Warrior Andranik is itself a call for patriotism addressed to the Armenian nation, and it is the duty of each and every Armenian to think about it.

Perhaps it is this winged word that inspired French-Armenian businessman Thomas Ipekian and brought him to Armenia where he has decided to build a school in order to leave something behind for the young generation. In an interview with Hayern Aysor, Ipekian sincerely said he also wanted to fulfill his late sisters’ dream-a dream that has a story behind it…

Thomas Ipekian visited the editorial office of Hayern Aysor with his cousin, Canadian-Armenian cultural figure Nareg Ghazarian.

We have always had the feeling of having a debt to our school and benefactors

My parents were witnesses of the Armenian Genocide. In the 1920s, they left the city of Tigranakert of Western Armenia for Syria where they met each other, got married and had four daughters and one son.

We were poor in Aleppo. My father was a shoemaker, and my mother-a tailor. They worked hard to raise us and sent us to study at the Usumnasirats Armenian School in Aleppo. I studied with my younger sister, Mary. In those years, we had trouble paying the tuition fees, but the local benefactors and the school’s principal helped us a lot.

Unfortunately, we were the last alumni of the Armenian school since it was closed down for different reasons in 1961. My sister and parents moved to Canada, but I moved to France where I got married.

We have always had the feeling of having a debt to our school and benefactors and wanted to pay that “debt” back somehow. Whatever we have achieved, we have achieved it through the pious acts of others. Unfortunately, my two sisters passed away, without ever fulfilling their dream, and I decided to continue the task.

I had initially decided to build a school in Aleppo, but due to the war, I changed my mind and decided to build a school that would commemorate the Usumnasirats Armenian School of Aleppo in Armenia. With that mission, my cousin, Nareg and I came to Armenia and met with Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan.

After the meeting, the Minister suggested that we renovate a school in poor condition instead of building a new one since there are many dilapidated schools in remote villages across Armenia. We will be visiting some schools and make a choice. Generally, it doesn’t matter where the school is located. The important thing is the fact that I will be helping Armenia. We have already formed the plan for construction. It is going to be a comprehensive complex with the prototype of a French school (a park, a nice yard, sections designed for sports, security system).

My parents have taught us to love people and do good deeds since we were little

I really want to fulfill my dream since this will be the first program that I am trying to carry out in Armenia. I have visited Armenia four times, but only as a tourist. My first visit was in 2011. One of my visits with my family was marked by the baptism of my grandchildren in Etchmiadzin.

Armenia is my home. I live far away from the Homeland, but I am always concerned about the state of our country and people and always follow the news. I want to see Armenia as a developed and progressive country and to see the Armenians as a unified nation.

All the places in Armenia are close to my heart. I love the clean air in Armenia and Armenian national dishes, as well as the kind and sincere people. In general, my parents have taught us to love people and do good deeds since we were little. They have always told us to be patriotic and stay true to our national roots.

Nareg Ghazarian summed up the conversation

Over the past years, I have been looking at Armenia differently. I have decided to repatriate and am taking actions in that direction. I don’t want to visit Armenia as a guest. When I visit Armenia, I examine the surroundings to see how I can live and what I need, after which I discuss with my family.

This is the first time I am visiting Armenia with my uncle, and I am very happy. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to enjoy being in Armenia for a long period of time. My uncle and I have great memories. When I was little, I would go to his house to play with the children, and my uncle’s wife would always greet me with a smile on her face. My uncle has always urged me to show concern about the future of Armenia.

Now I convey to my children the spirit of patriotism that he conveyed to me. My elder daughter is about to graduate from school. She wants to become a veterinarian. She will be presenting her plan in Armenian and is very excited about that.

I am a measurement specialist, but I also have a talent in acting. Last year, I performed with the actors of Henrik Malayan Theater.

As for my favorite places in Armenia, to put it shortly, I love the cities of Yeghegnadzor and Vardenis.

Gevorg Chichyan

 

 

 

Pilgrimage to St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Akhaltsikhe

One of the goals of the Youth Department of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia is to celebrate the holidays of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church and reinforce faith through pilgrimages, writes armenianchurch.ge.

On April 1, 2017, on the occasion of the day of remembrance of the Entry of Saint Gregory the Illuminator into the Dungeon, the Youth Department of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia organized a pilgrimage to the ancient St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Akhaltsikhe. The pilgrimage was made possible upon the proposal and with the support of Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan.

Early in the morning, the more than a dozen young people gathered at the Youth Department of the Diocese and headed towards Akhaltsikhe. They were led by the section’s spiritual superintendent, Deacon Gevorg Antonyan and Head of the Youth Department Valery Badalyan and escorted by youth programs coordinator Nina Seropova and Head of the Diocese’s Educational Department Yevgenya Markosyan.

The pilgrims participated in the Divine and eternal Liturgy served by pastor of the Armenians of Akhaltsikhe, Rev. Fr. Friar Hakob Sahakyan at the local Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church. The attendees listened to the celebrant, His Holiness as he delivered a sermon devoted to the symbol of the day, that is, the indescribable tortures that the First Armenian Patriarch had undergone in the Deep Dungeon for 13 years. Greeting the pilgrims from Tbilisi, His Holiness Hakob urged them to resist temptations of our times, have the willpower and resistance of the First Armenian Patriarch and live with kindness and devotion to their faith.

The pilgrims lit candles in memory of St. Gregory the Illuminator and asked for the intercession of the all-Christian saint in their prayers.

The young Armenians of Tbilisi, under the leadership of the spiritual superintendent of Akhaltsikhe and pastor of the villages near Akhaltsikhe, Fr. Priest Torgom Vardanyan, continued their pilgrimage to the dilapidated St. Stepanos Church and the St. Nshan Church in Akhaltsikhe. After lighting candles, they said prayers with the clergymen.

The young people also visited the Rabat Complex in Akhaltsikhe and went sightseeing.

In the evening, the pilgrims returned to Tbilisi feeling spiritually enriched with the grace of Saint Gregory the Illuminator.

Exhibition dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to be held in Lebanon

According to Hayern Aysor, on 20 April (18:00), the cultural center of the city council of the Lebanese city of Jibeili will host an exhibition called “We Deny and Demand with Brushes” and dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The exhibition is organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Lebanon and the Lebanese local chapter of Tekeyan Cultural Association and sponsored by Jibeil-Piplos City Council.

The exhibition will run until 22 April.

Banner Commemorating Armenian Genocide Unfurled on Bay Bridge

Drivers headed into the San Francisco over the Bay Bridge got a world history lesson without even asking Monday when a huge banner was displayed above the mouth of the Treasure Island Tunnel commemorating the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

For the third consecutive year, the banner, measuring 70 inches long and ten-feet tall, was unfurled on the span about 9 a.m. to mark the 102nd anniversary of the genocide — a historical event that has yet to be recognized by many world leaders.

The “genocide is very personal to us. We are grandchildren and great-grandchildren of genocide survivors,” said Alex Bastian, a member of the Bay Area Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee. “It is something that has really wounded our soul, wounded our community, wounded our people.”

Nearly 30,000 Armenians in the Bay Area contributed money for the hanging of the sign that read, “Armenian Genocide 1915” and “genocideeducation.org.”

“We want to have recognition for everyone coming across the bridge to understand our story,” said Kim Bardakian, also a member of the Bay Area Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee.

The banner will be in sight for westbound commuters on the bridge for the month of April.

For both Bardakian and Bastian the banner is significant in holding world leaders accountable in recognizing the genocide.

An estimated 1.5 million people, nearly half the population of Armenia, were killed by the Ottoman Empire.

“The United States has, unfortunately, not acknowledged (the genocide) and that is why the recognition is something so near and dear to us,” said Bastian, who is also deputy chief of staff for the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

“We really feel very strongly that the recognition of the Armenian genocide is not something just for us, but something for all of humanity,” he added.

http://asbarez.com

Azerbaijan fired from sniper rifles at night

The adversary violated the ceasefire along the line of contact between the Karabakh and Azerbaijani opposing forces 60 times, from late Monday night to early Tuesday morning.

During this time the Azerbaijani armed forces fired more than 900 shots toward the position-holders of the Republic of Artsakh Defense Army, and with different-caliber shooting weapons, including sniper rifles, the defense army informed.

But the Artsakh defense army vanguard units continued reliably maintaining their military positions, and they took actions in response when necessary.

Serj Tankian, Arsinée Khanjian, Atom Egoyan and Eric Nazarian call upon artists around the world

On 3 April, at the initiative of Tufenkian Foundation, Diaspora Armenian artists Serj Tankian, Arsinée Khanjian, Atom Egoyan and Eric Nazarian gave a press conference at Vallex Garden Hotel in Stepanakert.

As reported Artsakhpress, before the press conference, on behalf of herself, Serj Tankian and Eric Nazarian, Arsinée Khanjian addressed artists of the world with a call that particularly stated the following:

“Exactly a year ago, war broke out once again on the line of contact of the Artsakh conflict when Azerbaijani troops made a surprise attack and opened fire at not only the military positions on the frontline, but also at peaceful settlements, schools and helpless villagers. However, the Armenian troops once again suspended this Azerbaijani aggression with their self-defense operations, and the only result were casualties and material losses for both parties.

Since 1988, or since the people of Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh decided to shape their own fate and exercise their right to self-determination by respecting the letter and spirit of the law of the Soviet Union and international law, Azerbaijan has been attacking with pogroms, deportations, attacks and large-scale military operations. In spite of all this, the people of Artsakh managed to defend their ancestral lands, hold an independence referendum and establish statehood. In spite of the fact that the international community still hasn’t recognized Artsakh for different reasons, the sons of the nation that has been living on this land for millennia continues to live and create, build and make the country flourish, even when Azerbaijan’s attacks, bombings and shootings continue along the length of the borders. On this historic land on which we hear more news about ceasefire violations, wounded and deceased soldiers than any other kind of news, thousands of children and young people are being deprived of their just right to live and create since the country is still in a blockade and the ceasefire is fragile. Instead of writing and painting, thousands of talented individuals are compelled to take weapons and leave for the frontline to defend their homes and their homeland.

Due to Azerbaijan’s attacks and this imposed war, these young people are deprived of the right to create in peace and show their talents. Thousands of schoolchildren living in bordering settlements hear sounds of bombs and shootings instead of songs and music at school. In spite of all this, there are also many talented young people and artists who continue to write, create, play music and paint, even when they are isolated from the world and are in a blockade due to the war. Unfortunately, they don’t have many opportunities to interact with their colleagues in different parts of the world. The blockade and isolation impede reciprocal visits, contacts and the exchange of experiences. These creative talents have limited opportunities to discover the world and get to know others. They are simply deprived of this right, which is vital for any artist.

This is why we are calling upon all free-minded artists around the world to visit, become partners for peace and solidarity, establish contacts and interact with the local artists and creative and talented people and help them have the equal opportunity to open up to the world and be able to exercise their universal right to create in peace and share with the world.”