Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy of Kolkata announcing admission

Dear compatriots,

Established in 1821, the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy of Kolkata (Western Bengal, India) continues its activities to this day.

Before India gained its independence, the College served as the main secondary school for the Armenian communities of the South Asian region with nearly 280 students. The College has been funded by Indian-Armenian benefactors and has been operating through the benevolent foundation established by the Armenian community of India more than a century ago.

However, due to the ongoing decline of the Armenian Community of India starting from the mid-20th century, the College has seen a decrease in the number of students. Although the Academy’s funding allows it to enroll up to 250 students, there are only 70 students, most of which are citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

We would like to inform you that the College is open to Armenian children from any country. We suggest that you consider it appropriate to also send children from orphanages and socially disadvantaged families to the College where they will have the opportunity to receive a more high-quality education.

We briefly present information developed with the College’s administration. If necessary, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in India and the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia are ready to provide you with additional information.

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ARMENIAN COLLEGE AND PHILANTHROPIC ACADEMY OF KOLKATA

The Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy of Kolkata was established in 1821 by the Armenian Community of India. Until 1870, it had its own curriculum, which was then adapted to meet the demands of Kolkata’s system of education.

In 1999, upon the decision of the Supreme Court of Kolkata, the College went under the guardianship of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Upon the same decision, exercise of all the powers related to management of the College was reserved for the Catholicos of All Armenians.

The College has a clinic, a gym, a swimming pool, as well as lodgings for both boys and girls. The College also houses the Araratyan Library established in 1828.

Currently, most of the students are from Armenia.

Terms and conditions for admission

The College accepts children between the ages of 8 and 11. Children are admitted through an interview under the direct supervision of the Christian Education Center at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The College covers the fee for an entry visa and airfare through the relevant service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Once every three years, the College covers the airfares for students to spend their summer vacation in Armenia. During the mid-term, they may visit Armenia with their own funds.

As a legal guardian, the College’s administration is responsible for making sure the male student citizens of the Republic of Armenia return to Armenia to complete mandatory military service.

Education

The Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy of Kolkata is an English-language secondary school with an Armenian bias and where students also learn Hindi. Specialists from Armenia teach Armenian Language, Armenian Literature, Armenian History, History of Armenian Church and Armenian Song and Music. The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin selects the teachers and commissions them to Kolkata. Students who successfully complete their 10-year studies and have an appropriate line of conduct are provided with the opportunity to continue their studies at the best high schools in Kolkata.

The College completely covers the expenses for stay, study, clothes and accessories.

Medical insurance

The College has a doctor who visits the students twice a week. In case of health problems, the College assigns relevant treatment after a checkup, and if necessary, the student is transferred to a hospital. There is also a nurse who is available at the College 24 hours a day. Currently, the position is vacant (there is an announcement for the vacancy). The College covers all the medical expenses.

Nutrition

The College has a cafeteria where students eat three times a day. They also receive light meals during the long break and on their free time in the afternoon. Students are often provided with necessary foods so that they can make pastries or national dishes.

Hygiene

The College has a laundry room where the students’ clothes are washed and ironed. Every week, the students receive clean bed sheets. The custodians keep the dorms, bathrooms and classrooms clean. The yard workers keep the area and garden clean. Students receive their uniforms, shoes, sporting clothes, undergarments and all personal hygiene accessories.

Excursions and pilgrimages

The School’s teachers and administration often organize various kinds of educational, disciplinary and cognitive excursions to various museums and sites worth seeing in Kolkata. They also organize visits to parks and places of leisure during summer vacation.

Every Sunday, students participate in the Holy Mass served at any one of the Armenian churches in Kolkata or other cities of Western Bengal. During the Holy Mass, some of the boys serve at the holy altar, while the girls sing in the choir as scholars.

Contacts with relatives

Once a week, students are provided with the opportunity to talk to their relatives via Skype at the library (more often during vacation). Phones are installed in the students’ dorms, and they can call their relatives at fixed hours.

Throughout the school year, students are not allowed to use mobile phones or iPads. If they are spotted with a mobile phone or iPad, they are kept with the administration and returned to them during vacation.

Visits of relatives

The students’ relatives may visit the children by informing the College in advance. The administration provides the relatives with temporary shelters. The parents often volunteer at the kitchen and help the Indian chefs make Armenian dishes.

Premises

The College has a nearly 5,000 square meter premises with almost all the conditions for education, stay and leisure, including computer, television, art and music rooms, a library, a spacious hall, a stadium, a gym and a swimming pool (currently under renovation), as well as a laundry room with sections for sewing and ironing.

Safety

The entire area is surrounded by a tall, strong and impassable gate. There is one main entrance with two gates that are protected by security officers 24 hours a day. The College also has surveillance.

In some cases, students can leave the premises only with a pass and the permission of a superintendent and escorted by a high school student. Students of high schools and universities must not return later than the fixed hour.

Number of students

Currently, there are 73 students, of which 61 are students of the College, while the others study in high schools or universities.

The College can enroll up to 250 students.

Official website: http://www.armeniancollege.edu.in/

Armenian candidates win elections in Glendale

April 4th marked the elections for Glendale City Council, the Glendale Unified Board of Education and Glendale Community College board.

As reported Hayern Aysor, there were 10 candidates for 3 seats. Out of the 10 candidates, 4 were of Armenian descent, including Ara Najarian, Zareh Sinanyan, Vrej Aghajanian and Onik Mehrabian (the ARF-D Armenian National Committee of America had endorsed Ara Najarian and Zareh Sinanyan). Based on the preliminary information, the following Armenian candidates garnered the most votes:

  • Ara Najarian: 8,305 votes
  • Zareh Sinanyan: 7,892 votes
  • Vrej Aghajanian: 7,885 votes

Thus, out of the 5 members of Glendale City Council, 4 are of Armenian descent. Member of Glendale City Council Vartan Gharpetian will most likely assume the office of Mayor of Glendale for 2017-18.

Artashes Kasakhyan was reelected Secretary of Glendale City Council after garnering 12,630 votes, and Raffi Manoukian was reelected Treasurer after garnering 12,123 votes.

There were 5 candidates running for 3 seats in the Glendale Unified Board of Education, of which 4 were of Armenian descent (the ARF-D Armenian National Committee of America had endorsed Greg Krikorian, Armine Gharpetian and Shant Sahakian). The following won:

  • Armine Gharpetian: 3,165 votes
  • Greg Krikorian: 3,030 votes
  • Shant Sahakian: 1,891 votes

Thus, 4 of the 6 members of the Board of Education are of Armenian descent.

In the Glendale Community College board elections, there were 5 candidates running for 3 seats. Two of the candidates were of Armenian descent (the ARF-D Armenian National Committee of America had endorsed the Armenian candidates). The winners were the following:

  • Armine Hakobyan: 3,075 votes
  • Ivetta Vartanian Davis: 1,685 votes

Thus, out of the 6 members of the Glendale Community College board, 3 are of Armenian descent, and the chairperson is of Mexican descent.

 

Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry issues statement on anniversary of April events

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh issued a statement on the occasion of the anniversary of the end of military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh in April, 2016, the Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed.

The full statement is presented below:

“Today marks exactly one year since the end of military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh with a view to resolving the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict by force. On the night of 1 to 2 April 2016, in flagrant violation of the ceasefire, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched a large-scale offensive along the entire border using heavy equipment, artillery and aviation. Only after suffering heavy losses in manpower and military equipment, on 5 April 2016, Azerbaijan was forced to ask for a cessation of hostilities with the mediation of Russia.

The April aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh, which was accompanied by numerous violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes, has become a serious challenge to regional peace and security and has caused great damage to the negotiation process for the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

During the year that has passed since the end of the hostilities on 5 April 2016, the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group have been making efforts to ensure conditions for a full restoration of the negotiation process. The Republic of Artsakh has been consistently supporting the statements of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on the need for the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement of 12 May 1994, practical application of the provisions of the agreement of 6 February 1995 on strengthening the ceasefire regime, as well as implementation of the agreements reached in Vienna (16 May 2016) and in St. Petersburg (20 June, 2016) on introduction of a mechanism for investigating incidents and increasing the capacity of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

Azerbaijan not only rejects these proposals, but also disrupts any initiative aimed at excluding the possibility of resumption of hostilities. Moreover, throughout this time Azerbaijan has been sparing no effort to transfer the logic of confrontation to the spheres of economy, culture and even human contacts.

While demonstrating complete unwillingness to reach a negotiated peace settlement, the Azerbaijani authorities threaten to unleash another war. By consistently increasing the degree of tension on the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Artsakh and Azerbaijan and continuing the policy of confrontation and hostility, Baku deliberately deepens the mistrust between the parties and tries to make the process of peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict a hostage of its destructive policy and maximalist demands.”

Odessa-Armenians respected the memory of Four-Day Artsakh War victims

Oh! Month of spring, the April for living,

You bring flowers and life,

Why did you become a death anniversary…?

Silva Kaputikyan

Unfortunately, these words of the “Poetess of All Armenians” became current and resonant again in our days…

On 2 April, in the Armenian church located at the Gagarin Peak in Odessa, Fr. Priest Abgar Gilijyan performed a Requiem Service in memory of the victims of the Four-Day Artsakh War after the Sunday Holy Mass.

Talking about the self-sacrifice of the brave soldiers who no longer have the joy of enjoying the sweetness of life and whose parents and relatives no longer have the joy of living in peace, the priest called on everyone to be united and have mercy since only an Armenian can feel the pain and suffering of an Armenian.

“Thanks to their endeavors, the enemy failed to fulfill its insidious plans and received the counterattack that it deserved…May the Almighty God light the souls of the deceased! As for us, it is our duty to pray for their souls to rest in peace and support their families.

Dear compatriots, Armenian believers! Pray to God to bless our Homeland and keep our people in peace and safety. May God grant peace to all nations of the world!”

The day commemorating the victims of the war continued with an event at the grand cultural center.

After the Lord’s Prayer, the attendees stood up and respected the memory of the deceased soldiers with a moment of silence. Leader of the Armenian community Samvel Tigranyan and director of the Armenian Sunday School Elen Poghosyan expressed kind words of respect and gratitude.

Afterwards, students of the Saint Mesrop Mashtots School came up on stage to the sounds of military and patriotic songs. The School hosted a competition under the title “Letter to a Soldier”, and the best works were read by the authors fluently and beautifully. The letters showed how much the children love and respect Armenian soldiers. “May God protect Armenian soldiers who defend us and the borders of our homeland day and night.”

This was followed by the performance of the Armenian song “Little Soldier”.

The ARMIR Armenian Youth Union of Odessa, namely the Union’s President Azganush Vardanyan, had organized the screening of the documentary film called “The Devotees”. After the film screening, the attendees said the filmmakers had managed to tell the truth and that there are genetic features that are transferred from one generation to the next through the call of the land and water.

The event ended with a unique speech by Armenian history teacher Alexander Mkrtchyan. “I am proud to say that the Four-Day Artsakh War showed how strong we Armenians are when we are united as one. The month of April reminded the symbol of unity and that we must be strong and united.”

I would personally like to add that the heroic sons of our nation died for the homeland and set a brilliant example of patriotism for the generations to come. Their names will always be remembered and they will always be remembered as good people. Their spirits are immortal since nobody can defeat the brave sons of mothers of the Armenian nation!

Glory to the brave Armenians!

Narine Muradyan

Freelance correspondent for Hayern Aysor

Odessa

March/event commemorating victims of Four-Day Artsakh War held in France

On 2 April, the Letters of Mashtots Armenian School in the French city of Dijon held a march/event dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Four-Day Artsakh War that took place in April 2016. As reported the organizers to Hayern Aysor, the Armenian national anthem was played in front of the municipality, after which the pupils performed songs and recited poems devoted to the heroes as a sign of gratitude to them for maintaining the peace in Armenia and Artsakh by sacrificing their lives.

In the evening, a Holy Mass was served in memory of the heroes at the Saint Michel Church, after which the attendees lit candles and burned incense for the heroes’ souls to rest in peace.

Merrymakers Pele Pughi and Poloz Mukuch of Artsakh and Gyumri to be revived in new animated film series

The Armenian Center for PR Development has undertaken a new project through which it will make short animated films devoted to remarkable Armenian jokers and merrymakers Pele Pughi and Poloz Mukuch. They were the most brilliant jokers and merrymakers of their times and dared to tell the truth to their elders either through jokes or with their wittiness. In the East, their equivalent is the remarkable Khoja Nasredin, and there have been many films and animated films devoted to Nasredin, reported the Public Relations Department of the Armenian Center for PR Department to Hayern Aysor.

Today it is more than important to best present witty Armenian fabulists in the cultural and educational senses. The Armenian Center for PR Development has already gathered information about the priceless legacy of these characters and has drafted the plots and the whole concept of the film series. Several organizations have given consent to the project, and there is already some support from the Diaspora. In addition to the Armenian version, there will be English, Russian and Arabic versions of the film series. The relevant proposal will also be submitted to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and other interested organizations. The Armenian Center for PR Development is ready to collaborate with organizations and individuals who are interested in the implementation of this project.

Armenia’s New Stamp Features Aurora’s Maggy

A new international postage stamp will be issued in May by Haypost, Armenia’s national postal operator, in cooperation with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

The image of Marguerite Barankitse, the inaugural Aurora Prize laureate, will be featured on the stamp. The release and First day of issue ceremony will be part of the 2017 Aurora Prize special events.

The Aurora stamp is also a fundraising stamp. Attached to the first class stamp, valued at 350 AMD, is a donation coupon for 150 AMD. Together, the 500 AMD is equal to approximately US $ 1.00. Haypost will transfer the 150 AMD donation value to the Aurora Humanitarian Initative. This enables anyone to donate easily to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

“We founded the Aurora Initiative specifically in appreciation of those who risked offering help to Armenian genocide survivors, and we wanted to express that gratitude by continuing to do good, by empowering modern-day saviors so that they, too, can offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid. That is our way of saying these victims are now saviors. This goes beyond just remembering and actually puts gratitude in action. Each Aurora project, including the Maggy stamp and the accompanying donation opportunity, are ways of broadening the Aurora community, expressing gratitude and continuing the cycle of giving,” said Aurora Humanitarian Initiative co-founder Ruben Vardanyan.

“Haypost takes seriously its privileged position to transform the use of stamps into an opportunity to share the Armenian culture and history and important messages about the world. Having Aurora’s Maggy on an Armenian postage stamp is a very special way of telling the world that Armenians embrace our common humanity. A stamp takes that message around the globe,” said Juan Pablo Gechidjian, Managing Director of HayPost Trust Management B.V..

Marguerite Barankitse, the founder of Maison Shalom and REMA hospital, received the Aurora Prize for the exceptional impact of her actions on preserving lives during the years of civil war in Burundi. To date, she has saved 30 thousand children and offered them shelter and care.

“It is humbling for me to get such a recognition but it is also a great encouragement that love will always prevail over hate and evil. I believe it will raise awareness of what the Aurora Prize stands for: awakening humanity to recognize women and men who have made an exceptional impact in advancing humanitarian causes,” said Marguerite Barankitse.

The postage stamp will have a 350 AMD denomination value. The illustrator is Alla Mingyalova, a member of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative team. It will be issued with circulation of 40 thousand copies.

The First Day ceremony to mark the issue will be held on May, 2017, in the presence of Marguerite Barankitse who will be in Armenia to attend the second annual Aurora Prize events.

The 2017 Aurora Prize finalists will be announced on April 24, 2017, the annual day of remembrance for victims of the Armenian Genocide.  One of these finalists will then be named as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate at a special ceremony on May 28, 2017, in Yerevan, Armenia. During the month between April 24 and May 28, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will organize a program of global activities to profile the inspirational stories of the 2017 finalists, as well as broader humanitarian endeavors.- See more at: http://www.mediamax.am/en/news/society/22959/#sthash.KnAlUhsg.dpuf

Civil court to examine case of Armenian serviceman Sevag Balikci killed in Turkish army

The case over Turkish-Armenian serviceman Sevag Balikci, who was killed on 24 April 2011, has been forwarded to the Turkish civil court, reported Hurriyet, according to 168.am.

Sevag Shahin Balikci was killed on 24 April 2011 and was going to be demobilized 23 days later. Right after the murder, the commanders of the military unit had announced that “the shot was accidentally fired while he was joking with a fellow serviceman”.

However, Sevag’s parents claim that the reason for their son’s murder was his Armenian identity.

On 26 March 2013, the military court for military air forces in Diyarbakir took a decision according to which Kivanc Agaoglu, who had fired at Sevag, was sentenced to 4 years 5 months and 10 days in prison under the charge of “killing a person with intention”, while subaltern Sedrettin Ersyoz was sentenced to 5 months “for misuse of office”. After the announcement of the court ruling, the lawyers of the defendant addressed the appellate to appeal the court ruling.

In 2014, the Military Prosecutor General’s Office issued a verdict stating that there was no record of intentional murder and that the facts proving the intention of the murder were insufficient. Thus, the prosecutors annulled the decision of the court of Diyarbakir.

The case that was returned to the court was reconsidered. A new decree on eliminating military courts was issued following the military coup d’etat attempt on 15 July 2016, and so Sevag Balikci’s case has been forwarded to the criminal court in Kozluk.

Section of Turkish newspaper’s website features stories of Armenian families having escaped Armenian Genocide

The editorial staff of the Turkish Karınca newspaper has created an interesting section entitled “Armenian Portraits from 1915 to Today”, featuring stories of Armenian families having escaped the Armenian Genocide.

According to Armenihaper, one of the articles of this series is devoted to painter, director, writer and satirist Vahe Berberian. The article is by William Bairamian and is translated into Turkish by Ezki Kul.

Known to many for his standup performances, Vahe Berberian, 61, also presents his stories through films, on paper, in paintings and on stage.

“His smile is very sincere. He uses the Armenian word “hogis” often in his speech, but unfortunately, besides his extravagant charm, his family has a miserable past,” Bairamian writes as he presents the story of Vahe’s family.

Vahe’s father, Raffi was only one year old when he and his grandmother were exiled to the deserts of Deir ez-Zor during a death march. Before moving to Beirut, the two settled in Vahe’s hometown of Aleppo. The entire family of Vahe’s mother was killed during the Armenian Genocide.

Unlike several other families that escaped the genocide, the Berberians have always told the generations about what happened to them.

Vahe’s grandmother tried to kill his father three times after being sent on a death march, but the Euphrates River was so full of bodies that she simply couldn’t drown the child.

“I was told the reality and that I would have betrayed the family, if I forgot. After I was told the story, I felt guilty for a long time, even though I hadn’t done anything to feel guilty for,” Berberian says.

According to him, he felt the need to be a satirist because he bears the consequences of the collective pain and often feels worried and depressed. “If I was happy, why would I need to be a satirist?” Vahe adds.

At the age of 17, Vahe Berberian leaves Beirut for Europe. After a while, he returns to Lebanon. He lives in Lebanon during the first years of the Lebanese Civil War, after which he moves to Los Angeles. However, even in Los Angeles, he doesn’t feel safe due to an illness that he discovers after a short while.

“I remember I would paint when I was a child as well, but back then I would mainly paint the bells the skulls of people who had died at Deir ez-Zor,” the artist says.

According to Vahe, he had always had a special interest in death during any activity until 1980. Afterwards, he realized that it was an instinct and understood that even though the Genocide had played a certain role in his life, it didn’t mean that he had to be blindly linked to the Genocide and not examine the history of Armenian culture.

“The idea of changing this approach came across my mind. Being Armenian doesn’t necessarily mean leading a struggle for life. Being Armenian is part of gender. Being Armenian is wonderful. Being Armenian is fun. Being Armenian is pleasant,” Berberian says.

Thus, Armenian culture gave Berberian the strength to live and move forward. However, Berberian realizes how difficult it is to move forward with a burden of the past. “We are trying to move forward with the burden of the lives of 1.5 million people on our shoulders, and of course, this is very difficult.”

Vahe has written 5 books, directed 13 plays, written 5 comedies and is author of hundreds of works of art.

“For me, being Armenian has always been a gift. Without exception, being Armenian has always helped me,” he says.

Vahe Berberian believes that the best days of the Armenian nation are still ahead. He believes it is important that Armenians are understood and that addressing the topic of genocide is not a condition for being involved in the arts or producing a film.

William Bairamian ends his article with the following: “Berberian continues to make a cultural revolution by himself to identify the art and beauties hidden within the Armenian land and organize a round-dance around them.”

A new stamp dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Alexander Mantashian

On March 3rd, 2017, “HayPost” CJSC has cancelled and put into circulation a postage stamp dedicated to the theme “175th anniversary of Alexander Mantashian”.

The postage stamp is designed in the form of an old banknote. The postage stamp depicts the Armenian prominent businessman, benefactor and great oil magnate of the early 20th century Alexander Mantashian.

The background of the postage stamp depicts the Armenian Church of St. John the Baptist situated near the Champs Elysees in Paris and the facade of the building of the Union of Armenian Artists of Tbilisi (now Tbilisi Academic Theater named after Rustaveli) which were built by the funds donated by Alexander Mantashian. After the construction of the Armenian Church in Paris A. Mantashian was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor.

The nominal value of the postage stamp is 380 AMD. The author of the postage stamp is the designer of “HayPost” CJSC Vahagn Mkrtchyan.

The postage stamp was cancelled by the RA Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies Vahan Martirosyan, President of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia Arsen Ghazaryan, President of the Union of Philatelists of the RA Hovik Musayelyan and the Acting Chief Executive Officer of “HayPost” CJSC Haik Avagyan.

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Artsakh Ombudsman Holds Meetings In Washington, DC And New York

Republic of Artsakh Ombudsman Ruben Melikyan recently completed a ten-day tour organized by the ANCA Eastern Region to highlight Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses and the potential war crimes committed during the Four-Day War in April 2016. The Ombudsman made stops in MassachusettsRhode Island, Washington, DC, New York, and New Jersey holding over 40 meetings with government officials, media representatives, and NGOs active in the fields of human and legal rights.

“We were happy to be able to connect Mr. Melikyan with key officials and groups during his visit to the U.S.,” said ANCA-ER Community Outreach and Communications Director Dr. Artur Martirosyan. “Today, in the midst of rising autocratic and populist tendencies in the entire region, Artsakh stands as a beacon of democracy, human rights, and freedom. We are proud of the progress that the Artsakh Republic has made in upholding Western values and traditions since its independence a quarter century ago.”

His Washington, DC itinerary included two public talks and a series of meetings with various groups and officials. On March 15 Melikyan headlined an event entitled, “Human Rights in Non-Recognized States: The Case of Karabakh” at the prestigious Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Benedikt Harzl, Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Fellow at CTR, moderated the event. The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States hosted Melikyan for his second public event where he presented his recent report “Atrocities Committed by Azerbaijan During the 2016 April War” and answered questions from the audience.

“It is important to deliver Artsakh’s message throughout major capital cities in the world,” said Melikyan. “I am thankful to the ANCA Eastern Region for organizing such a fruitful visit to Eastern United States and look forward to collaborating with all of our partners throughout the Diaspora to raise awareness and understanding about Republic of Artsakh and its unique human rights situation.”

Melikyan’s visit to Washington, DC also included an interview with the renowned Foreign Policy Magazine as well as discussions with reporters from The Washington Post. He also met with other leading human rights, civil society, and public policy organizations discussing the general human rights situation in Artsakh Republic and the projects that his office undertakes to safeguard and further strengthen the overall human rights situation in the country. Melikyan also met with ANCA coalition partners In Defense of Christians, A Demand For Action, and the Hellenic American Leadership Council, where he shared the details of his report on the Four-Day War. The parties also exchanged ideas about regional developments and held consultations.

His visit to Washington, DC concluded with meetings held on Capitol Hill with various Members of Congress, including House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Dave Trott (R-MI), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA), and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). Melikyan touched upon the duties and responsibilities of his office, the general human rights situation in the country, and challenges facing the region. The Ombudsman’s last Capitol Hill stop was the event commemorating the one-year anniversary of U.S. recognition of ISIS Genocide, where Melikyan was present in solidarity with all the victims of this horrific atrocity.

In New York, Melikyan held meetings with the representatives of the Armenian Bar Association, Archbishops Oshagan Choloyan and Khajag Barsamian as well as leading human rights organizations headquartered in the city. A special community briefing entitled, “Human Rights in Artsakh Amid Azerbaijani Aggression” was held at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Fr. Nareg Terterian of St. Sarkis church hosted Mr. Melikyan on his podcast show.

Mr. Melikyan’s visit to the U.S. further strengthened Artsakh’s voice in the international arena and was widely publicized by Voice of America Armenian ServiceArmenian Public TelevisionThe Armenian Weekly, and many other media outlets.

Serj Tankian hopes to hold solo concert in Artsakh soon

“I am very grateful for the military service of the courageous Armenian soldiers,” world-famous American-Armenian rock singer and songwriter Serj Tankian said in an exclusive interview with Artsakhpress news agency. After paying a visit to the Defense Army military unit, Tankian later participated at the inauguration ceremony of new apartments in Arajamugh village of Hadrut region, Artsakh.

“I am really very excited and proud to witness this moment of inaugurating the new apartments in bordering Arajamugh village of Hadrut. I was telling my friend Atom Egoyan that I have taken part in the openings of various ceremonies, however this was the most exciting one for me as an Armenia family will live here, for which we are very happy,” S. Tankian said underscoring that they must organize a project in Artsakh.

“I would really like to pay another visit to Artsakh someday, to perform and to bring other artists with me in case I manage. Now the most important thing is to talk about Artsakh and to present it in different places and to different people. Everyone should know that Artsakh is a very beautiful country and its people welcome everyone with smiles and big love. I hope to hold a solo concert in Artsakh soon,” Serj Tankian added.

At the initiative of “Tufenkian” foundation, renowned Armenian artists of Diaspora Serj Tankian, Arsinée Khanjian, Atom Egoyan and Erik Nazarian are in Karabakh on a three-day visit starting from April 3.

Vatican hosts screening of Armenian Genocide film “The Promise”

On 4 April, the Vatican hosted the screening of the film “The Promise”, which is devoted to the Armenian Genocide.

According to Variety, among those attending the screening were the film’s director Terry George, producer Eric Esrailian, composer of the film’s soundtrack Chris Cornell, as well as famous actors Shoreh Aghdashlou and James Cromwell.

Eric Esrailian recalled Pope Francis’s visit to Armenia last year and said Armenian believers really admired his use of the term ‘genocide’. “When the Vatican found out about the production of the film, it contacted us to organize the screening of the film,” Esrailian informed, according to Artsakhpress.

The expenses for shooting the film “The Promise” were covered by Armenian American businessman, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. News about this was announced on the day he died.

Michael, one of the film’s main characters, is an Armenian pharmacist, who has left his village and gone to Constantinople to study medicine. Chris is an American photojournalist, who has come to the country to provide some coverage of geopolitical issues. He is also in a relationship with the talented Ana, an Armenian painter who has studied in Paris. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana’s boyfriend. When the Turks join the Germans and brutally annihilate the minorities living within the borders of the Ottoman Empire during WWI, in spite of the current conflict, each must find a way to survive.

The film’s producers have launched the #keepthepromise campaign online and have received the support of musician Elton John, actor Sylvester Stallone, singer Cher, Barbara Streisand, tennis player Andre Agassi, as well as actors Dean Cain and Owen Wilson.

Young Armenians shut down lecture by Turkish denialist historian

On 4 April, a group of young Armenian students of the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik shut down a lecture by Turkish historian İlber Ortaylı, who is known for his denialist position on the Armenian Genocide.

Members of the ARF-D Zavarian Student Association condemned Turkey’s policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide through a peaceful demonstration.

During the event organized through cooperation with the Yunus Emre Institute under the Turkish government, the attending young Armenians stood up and started screaming “Genocide Denier”, “Turkey Guilty of Genocide”, “Shame on Turkey” and “We Are Here”.

The young people wore white shirts with the following statements on them: “April 24th”, “Eastern Turkey is Western Armenia”, “Hrant Dink” and “Sevag Balikc”.

They urged the historian to speak the truth and left the hall. When asked about the Armenian Genocide, the historian avoided giving answers to the few people left in the hall.