Holy Week Schedule at Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

PALM SUNDAY – April 9
10:00 –Blessing of the Four Corners of the World (Andastan)
10:30 – Divine Liturgy & Blessing of the Children
17:30 – Opening of the Doors Service (Drnbatsek)
HOLY TUESDAY – April 11
17:30 – Evening Services
HOLY THURSDAY – April 13
07:30 – Morning Service and “Karg Apashkharoghats”
10:30 – Divine Liturgy
16:00 – Washing of the Feet Service
19:00 – Betrayal Service
HOLY FRIDAY – April 14
12:00 – Crucifixion Service
17:30 – Burial Service
EASTER EVE (Holy Saturday) – April 15
17:30 – Evening Service and Candlelight Divine Liturgy
EASTER – April 16
10:30 – Pontifical Divine Liturgy

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin celebrated Annunciation Day

On 7 April, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin very solemnly celebrated Annunciation Day which, under the high direction of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, has also been proclaimed as the Day of Blessing of Women Expecting the Joy of Motherhood. The celebrant of the day at the Mother Cathedral was Director of the Office of the Episcopal Assembly at the Mother See, Rev. Fr. Supreme Archimandrite Zakaria Baghumyan.

During the sacred ceremony, His Holiness properly delivered a sermon in which he touched upon the symbol of the day and highlighted the role of the Immaculate in the history of mankind. Supreme Archimandrite Zakara also congratulated the attending mothers, women and ladies, wishing them good health and happiness and asked the Lord for His piety.

“The Virgin Mary is the example of a rightful mother, a person who unconditionally obeys God and is aware of her mission. She not only gave birth to the Savior of the world, but also suffered and experienced pain to give her only child for the salvation of mankind. See, she never hesitated and maintained her faith, but showed with her infinite humbleness that the will of God is above everything else on Earth.

There is no doubt that if we also place the will of God above our will as people and various wishes, God will also turn us into an integral part of His mission, just like the Immaculate,” His Holiness Zakaria stated.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Blessing of Women Expecting the Joy of Motherhood was officiated by Director of the Christian Education Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Vardan Navasardyan.

Goris declared as CIS Cultural Capital 2018

On April 7, Edward Nalbandian, Foreign Minister of Armenia, participated and delivered remarks at the session of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent, reported the Department of Press, Information and Public Relations of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The session of the Council of Foreign Ministers started in a restricted format, and proceeded in an extended format with the participation of delegations.

The agenda of the session included issues related to increasing the efficiency of the activity of the Organization, holding of consultations between the Foreign Ministries and adaptation of the institution to new realities.

Foreign Ministers of CIS member states exchanged views on urgent issues of the international agenda.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on unacceptability of intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Muslims and representatives of other religions.

Foreign Ministers of CIS member countries touched upon the issues of enhancing cooperation in the areas of law enforcement, cybersecurity, culture and education.

The Council of Foreign Ministers decided to endorse the draft decision on declaring the Armenian city of Goris as the CIS Cultural Capital 2018.

The participants of the session discussed and approved 16 draft documents.

A decision was adopted to convene the next session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in October 2017 in Moscow.

Armenia suggests undertaking Wine Tourism project through Silk Road Programme

From March 29 to April 1, the Working Group of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held a session in Valencia. The session was part of the Silk Road Programme.

Among the participants was First Vice-Chairperson of the State Tourism Committee at the RA Ministry of Economic Development and Investments Mekhak Apresyan.

According to the RA Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, new and already existing programs for the development of stable tourism through the Silk Road Programme were considered, the initiatives for the development of tourism via the Western Silk Road Initiative created through cooperation with the UNWTO, the strategies on the development of the Western Silk Road as a sustainable tourism route and the actions of the Silk Road Programme in the year 2017 as the international year for development of sustainable tourism were presented during the event. The results of the 7th ministerial meeting of Silk Road countries held on 8 March through the ITB Berlin exhibition were also summed up during the event.

During the session, Mekhak Apresyan delivered a speech and suggested undertaking the project for development and promotion of the “Wine Tourism” tourism result within the framework of the Silk Road Programme and through cooperation with the UNWTO, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) and several member states, and the participants gave their consent.

Mekhak Apresyan had several meetings with tourism officials.

In particular, during a meeting with UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, Apresyan discussed the need for Armenia’s participation in the sitting of the UNWTO Executive Board which, among many issues, will also discuss the items on the agenda of UNWTO General Assembly, including the confirmation of the candidates of the UNWTO affiliated members and the election of the UNWTO Secretary-General.

An agreement was also reached on posting the events organized in Armenia through the Silk Road Programme and information about traditional festivals on the official website of the UNWTO.

Apresyan and Director of Tripadvisor website Helena Egan discussed the opportunities for more active dissemination of information about Armenia and its tourism result on the website.

During a meeting with international relations correspondent of Connecting Travel website Daniela Wagner, the sides discussed the opportunities for presenting Armenia and Armenia’s tourism result in the United Kingdom, as well as the opportunities for the establishment and development of business relations between representatives of the private sector in Armenia and the United Kingdom.

PM Karen Karapetyan sends congratulatory message on occasion of Motherhood and Beauty Day

Dear women,

I cordially congratulate you on Motherhood and Beauty Day.

I wish our mothers, grandmothers, women, sisters and daughters simple happiness. May there always be warmth, love, generosity and kindness in your homes.

Mothers are the pillars of Armenian families. Today we are simply taking the opportunity to express our infinite love for and respect to mothers once again.

I would like to assure you that the government is disposed to do everything possible to make sure mothers are maximally protected by the State in Armenia and to make sure women having become mothers feel the care of the State.

Today I would like to state once again that women play a major role in Armenian society and that the government will be consistent to make sure women have all the opportunities in our country to show themselves and be engaged in all the processes of the development of our country.

Once again, I congratulate you on the occasion of this beautiful day.

RA Ministry of Diaspora hosts event of paying homage to women freedom fighters of Artsakh war

On 7 April, on the occasion of Motherhood and Beauty Day, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia hosted an event of paying homage to women who had participated in the war for the liberation of Artsakh. Among the attendees were the mothers of deceased female freedom fighters Zoya Martirosyan, Ruzanna Yesayan, Marieta Sargsyan and Armine Sargsyan and the mother of freedom fighter Azniv Balasanyan, as well as the female fighters of the “Anahit” platoon (the platoon also participated in the war) and repatriate women.

As reported Hayern Aysor, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan stated the following in her opening speech: “With love and special warmth, I would like to congratulate all women on Motherhood and Beauty Day and wish the most important thing-peace in our Homeland, Artsakh and our sacred land. It is not by chance that today is both Motherhood and Beauty Day and Annunciation Day, which is celebrated by the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church. Armenian women are exceptional. In all times, they have been viable, creative, wise, resourceful, dedicated, loving, delicate and beautiful, but they are also endowed with the ability to defend their homes, support their companions, fight and struggle, dedicate and sacrifice,” Hranush Hakobyan said. The Minister stated that the event was dedicated to women who participated in the war for Artsakh’s liberation, the brave heroes, some of whom sacrificed their lives, and most of whom are with us today as living legends and mothers who create and dedicate themselves.

The participants of the event respected the memory of the deceased female freedom fighters with a moment of silence, and Minister Hranush Hakobyan pronounced their names one by one.

“I respect the mothers who gave birth to and raised daughters who have set examples of patriotism and defense of the homeland, who have borne and bear the genes of Queen Parandzem and Sose Mayrig (Mother Sose). Even today, our heroic sisters who died in the Artsakh war are with us, by our side and in our souls and were among the first to serve in our triumphant army. I look at you and realize that only mothers like you could have given birth to and raised heroes. Your dedication is invaluable,” Hranush Hakobyan said and expressed special gratitude to the repatriate women, stating that they are unique heroes who realized that there is no stronger and more viable land than the Homeland and saw their future in Armenia.

Commander of the “Anahit” platoon Anahit Martirosyan gave a speech at the event. “All the brave fighters of our platoon didn’t think twice about taking weapons and going to the battlefield. They knew very well that there is only one Homeland, that this land is sacred and that the love for the homeland is the greatest of all human emotions,” she stated, adding that women freedom fighters stood by the side of Armenian soldiers with the same willingness in April 2016.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces, I would cordially like to congratulate all Armenian women. This is one of the most beautiful holidays on the Armenian national holiday calendar and serves as a wonderful opportunity to pay respect to Armenian women once again. They keep our statehood strong like strong pillars. It seems as though this event is the continuity of the nation-army ideology, according to which each of us is a soldier, but Armenian women are more than a soldier since they give birth to brave soldiers and go to the battlefield, if necessary,” Head of the Social Protection of Servicemen Department of the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Serzh Arushanyan said.

The participants of the event recited poems and sang songs devoted to mothers and watched parts from films and shows devoted to women freedom fighters.

100th Anniversary Of Amaa To Be Celebrated On East And West Coasts

BY FLORENCE AVAKIAN

PARAMUS, NJ—The Centennial of any organization is an event of great pride and celebration.  For the Armenian Missionary Association of America – AMAA, it is even more reason to continue its successful, century hammered programs of education, humanitarian work, youth camps, scholarships, and evangelism.

On October 21, 2017, the AMAA will celebrate its Centennial on the East Coast at its annual meeting, followed by a grand banquet at the Glenpointe Marriott in Teaneck, NJ.  The West Coast celebration of the centenary will follow in California in October of 2018.

In a recent interview with AMAA Executive Director and CEO Zaven Khanjian at the AMAA headquarters in Paramus, NJ, he explained that the centennial celebrations are combined with a fund-raising campaign with the express goal of raising $20 million in the next two years. The campaign, which began in October of 2016, has raised until today four and a half million dollars through pledges and donations.

AUSPICIOUS BEGINNINGS

It was a century ago, that the AMAA was created at a church union membership meeting in Worcester, MA.    “When the AMAA founded in 1918, there were more than 100,000 widows and orphans throughout the Middle East.  We answered the call to meet theirphysical, spiritual and educational needs, and we are still answering the call for those in need in 24 countries around the world, including Armenia, Artsakh, the CIS, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, South America, and Australia,” Khanjian revealed.

The AMAA entered Armenia following the 1988 disastrous earthquake through the efforts of Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, the then Executive Director of the Association, with one major program centering on orphans and childcare.   Registering in Armenia in 1991, shortly followed by the registration in Artsakh as a humanitarian organization, the AMAA projects grew and developed, now with 1600 children up to 18 years of age under sponsorship with thousands more in schools, Day Schools, Kindergartens, Sunday Schools and Christmas Joy programs, Khanjian related.

After 25 years in Armenia and Artsakh, tens of thousands of children have received direct monetary gifts, as well as food, clothing, medical care, day shelter and education. Over time, the AMAA started day schools with extracurricular activities and warm meals for children of parents suffering from financial and other difficulties.  These institutions are currently in Shushi, two in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanatzor.

Simultaneously, the now 170-year-old Armenian Evangelical Church, also registered in Armenia.  “There is a symbiotic relationship between the AMAA and the Church.   The AMAA is the missionary arm of the Church,” he explained.

There are currently 100 churches around the world, in five continents, with 31 in North America.   The U.S. has eight on the east coast, 17 on the west coast, two in the mid-west, and four in Canada.  Among the 100 churches functioning in difficult areas, there are two in Turkey as well as a school dedicated to the memory of martyred journalist Hrant Dink.

In Turkey, there is also Camp Armen, seized by the Turkish government and finally returned in 2015.   Moreover, in Lebanon, there is the acclaimed Haigazian University, established in 1955, with a current student body of 700.   Among its numerous well-known graduates are its current President, the Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, Historian and Scholar Dr. Yervant Kassouny and Genocide Scholar Dr. KhachigMouradian.

In addition to these areas, there has been a crucial humanitarian focus on the seven-year crisis in war-torn Syria, where the AMAA among a few other organizations commands a leading role of sustenance and support. Mr. Khanjian was influential in the creation of SARF, the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund operating out of the California since 2012 and chaired it for two years.

EDUCATION IS ITS BLOODSTREAM

“The AMAA is like a physical body with education as its bloodstream, the core.   Armenian Evangelicals, and thousands of Armenian youth who have been educated in the Middle East after the Genocide attended Armenian Evangelical schools, with every school supported by the AMAA.  Close to fifty percent of Armenian students in the Middle East have passed through the gates of Armenian Evangelical Schools sustained by the AMAA,” Khanjian revealed.

Born in Aleppo, Syria, Zaven Khanjian’s raison d’etre in life and existence comes down to “FAITH WITHOUT WORK IS FUTILE.”   The church, its Sunday School, and the choir were the focus of his youth.  “The church and school in Aleppo have been my home,” he declared with emphasis.  “They were the first gayaran-station for me and for the survivors, widows, and orphans.”   During the Genocide, he lost both grandfathers form Arapkir.

A graduate of the American University of Beirut, majoring in Business Administration, he came to the U.S. in 1979, and worked mainly in real estate and development.  He and his wife Sona – nee Kelikian, have two sons, one daughter and six grandchildren.

It is now 2 1/2 years that he has been the Executive Director of the AMAA.  “This is my love,” he declared with emphasis.  “The AMAA is a unique organization.  Its foundation is the spiritual life of the Armenian people.  It is the combination of attention to the spiritual and physical lives of the Armenian nation that keeps me bonded to the AMAA.”

A member of the Armenian Evangelical Church, he calls the church “the focus of our lives following the teachings of Christ.  Christ, God incarnate, was spirited, engaged, involved all the time and with all segments of society.  Showing love and compassion, kindness and sacrifice, He reached out to all, teaching, educating, forgiving, feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty, healing the sick and this should be our way of life as well.”

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Universities of Yerevan and Valencia establish partnerships

The delegations of the Armenian State University of Economics and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia are in Valencia to establish partnerships with the Polytechnic University of Valencia. The partnerships were established on 4 April.

On 4 April, on one side, the Armenian State University of Economics and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, and on the other side the Polytechnic University of Valencia, concluded an agreement on partnership.

The partnership between the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the Armenian State University of Economics and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia began back in 2010 with the launch of the TEMPUS GIDEC Project through which the Armenian universities launched the GIS Master’s Program, created GIS laboratories and obtained equipment. The Project ended in 2013. It was coordinated by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the Polytechnic University of Valencia was the European partner.

It was in 2013 when coordinator of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Mr. Luis Angel Ruiz Fernandez was granted the title of Honorary Doctor of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia.

Currently, the Armenian universities are cooperating with the Polytechnic University of Valencia through two ERASMUS+ Projects.

HERITAG – The goal of the project is to create a Master’s Program in the tourism management sector, the feature of which will be the application of geo-information technologies. The project was launched in October 2015 and will end in October 2018 and is coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

InnoCENS – The project is relatively newer and was launched in October 2016. It is coordinated by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and is aimed at establishing within technical universities startup or innovative centers and providing engineering students with some knowledge about entrepreneurship. The Polytechnic University of Valencia also acts as a European partner.

It is expected that the Armenian State University of Economics, the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia will create a joint Master’s Program in Project Management through future cooperation, providing the opportunity for the exchanges of students and lecturers.

On 4 April, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the Armenian State University of Economics and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia concluded an agreement on partnership that was signed by Rector of the Armenian State University of Economics, Professor Atoyan, Rector of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, Professor Galstyan and Rector of the Polytechnic University of Valencia Francisco José Mora Mas during a ceremony held at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. This is an extremely important agreement that will allow the partnering universities to further deepen their cooperation and increase the mobility of students.

The delegation in Valencia also visited the members of the local Armenian community, the Cross of Life monument and gave an interview to the Armenian Radio Hour.

Ararat Ghukasyan

President of Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia

Founding Editor-in-Chief of Hairenik Weekly

Valencia (Spain)

2017 “Ari Tun” Program set to kick off

On 10 April at 9:30, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia will host the solemn opening ceremony of the 2017 “Ari Tun” Program for the homeland recognition of young Diaspora Armenians (Address: 3 V. Sargsyan Street, 9th floor).

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan will express her greetings to the participants.

In this stage, Armenia will gather 66 boys and girls from the Saint-Mesrop Arabian School in Alfortville, the Dprotsaser School in Paris and the Hamazkayin School in Marseille, accompanied by 10 teachers.

Syrian-Armenian doctor feels good in Artsakh, says daughters must get married to Armenian men (video)

After living in the Syrian city of Kamishli for 22 years, Syrian-Armenian doctor Haig Khacho has settled in the Ishkhanadzor village of the Kovsakan region of Artsakh and, as he says, he feels good.

After the nightmare, brutal war and killings in Syria, Ishkhanadzor is paradise for Haig Khacho. He says the people are very kind, life is peaceful, and the government provides assistance. Moreover, his small family will soon receive an apartment built through government funding.

In 2016, the 49-year-old Syrian-Armenian doctor moved from Kamishli to Artsakh with his three daughters. Currently, he is the only therapist in the Ishkhanadzor village of Kovsakan region of Artsakh and provides services to the residents of several nearby villages. On his free time, he is involved in farming and cattle-raising.

“We saw many deaths and brutalities in Kamishli. We also saw many killings,” Haig Khacho said in an interview with Aysor.am.

According to him, there were a couple of options to stay alive in Syria-either convert to Islam, or leave the area voluntarily, or give money to armed terrorists. Haig Khacho, who was the general doctor at the hospital in Kamishli, chose the last option since, as he says, business was good.

After the armed terrorists plundered the hospital, Khacho decided to leave Syria and immediately moved to Artsakh.

“There are not many people in these territories. We need to maintain these territories, which were liberated through bloodshed,” Haig Khacho stated as he talked about why he had moved to Artsakh.

When asked if he planned on moving back to Syria when it became relatively peaceful, Khacho said the following: “No, never. I rushed to come to Armenia. Where else should I go? I will never move. I have three daughters, and all three of them must get married to Armenian men. I am against any Syrian-Armenian moving back to Syria. I was also against Syrian-Armenians moving to Europe. They had to come to Armenia. There are hardships, and one needs to adapt. We adapted.”

Khacho has been a therapist for nine years. He regularly participates in training courses and recently took training courses at the Respiratory System, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Pediatrics and Neurology Units of the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Medical Center through the Ongoing Medical Education Program of the Fund for Armenian Relief.

He hasn’t read in Armenian for 25 years and is participating in the Program to reinforce his knowledge about medicine and relevant diseases and build his capacities.

By Hasmik Hambardzumyan

Հեղինակ՝ Հասմիկ Համբարձումյան

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Armenian children to be blessed on Tsaghkazard (Palm Sunday)

This year, the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church is celebrating Tsaghkazard (Palm Sunday)-the triumphant entrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem-on 9 April. Years ago, with the blessing of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, it was also proclaimed as the Day of Blessing of Children, reported the Information System of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

On this occasion, special ceremonies for the blessing of children are performed following Holy Mass in all churches.

The following ceremonies will be performed under the direction of the Catholicos of All Armenians at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

  1. At 10:00, the Andastan ceremony (ceremony devoted to the blessing of the four corners of the world) and Blessing of Children in the area near the Mother Cathedral;
  2. The Divine Liturgy will be followed by the Blessing of Children (at 13:00).

This year, the Office for Social Services of the Mother See, with the blessing of His Holiness, will also host nearly 150 children with disabilities staying at the daytime center of the Foundation for Support to the Children of Hrazdan. After the blessing ceremony, the daytime center will host a reception for the members of the Center during which the Catholicos of All Armenians will grant gifts to the children on the occasion of the holiday.

Hranush Hakobyan: “Armenian women are the torchbearers of kindness and benevolence”

Hayern Aysor presents the congratulatory message of RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan on the occasion of Motherhood and Beauty Day.

 

Dear sisters, mothers, wonderful grandmothers and unparalleled ladies,

It is with special joy that I congratulate you on Motherhood and Beauty Day and wish always stay cordial, healthy and lively as you maintain your Armenian families and stay connected to your roots and your identity.

It is not by chance that the wonderful springtime awakening in the Republic of Armenia is also a moment to appreciate and pay homage to Armenian women, a confession of love and a month of appreciating the beauty of women and motherhood that is ending with the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, but of course, there is no limit.

Armenian women are exceptional. In all times, they have been viable, creative, wise and resourceful, dedicated and loving, delicate and beautiful, but in times of need, they have been able to defend their homes, support those around them, fight, sacrifice and dedicate themselves.

Since ancient times, Armenian women have carried out their fruitful activities in all spheres of life and have knowingly borne the burden of preserving the national identity, the type and spirit of Armenians, family traditions, customs and the Armenian language on their fragile shoulders.

In the Armenian Diaspora, Armenian women have become the ‘apostles’ for preservation of the Armenian identity, establishing schools, colleges, orphanages, as well as various women’s unions, societies and associations to preserve the image and wonderful qualities of an Armenian woman.

Armenian women are the torchbearers of kindness and benevolence, the ones who make efforts to help Armenian communities become self-organized, the spirit of the people, the ones who guarantee the preservation and enhancement of Armenian culture and the worthy citizen of their respective countries of residence.

It is our pride to record that Armenian women have shown their talent in the spheres of music, theater, literature and other spheres.

In the Diaspora, Armenian women have supported the homeland in all times of trials and tribulations-in the post-Genocide period, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Spitak Earthquake and the Artsakh war and have helped shape the newly independent Armenia. Among them are the heroes of our days and women who sacrificed their lives to defend Armenia’s independence. Armenian mothers have given birth to and raised the brave boys who sacrificed their lives for the defense of the Homeland.

Armenian women are a unique symbol of service and loyalty to the family, and it is not by chance that the irreplaceable values of the Armenian nation are referred to with the word “MAYR” (MOTHER in Armenian), including the mother language, the mother homeland, the motherland, the mother church, and the people have trusted mothers to preserve those cherished values.

Once again, I congratulate all Armenian women around the world, wishing them inconsumable charm. May your homes always be welcoming, your tables-abundant, and may your children always speak Armenian and may the endless road of return lead you to the Homeland.

Gohar Harutyunyan: “I was born under a lucky star”

On 7 April, the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, which is also Motherhood and Beauty Day, the day dedicated to our sacred and divine mothers.

On this occasion, Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with Miss Armenia-1998, Miss CIS-1999 and Miss Globe-2009, mother of three, Gohar Harutyunyan who, with her delicacy and tenderness and infinite dedication to her family, shows once again that Armenian women are endowed with the unique ability to sacrifice themselves for their husbands and children.

Hayern Aysor: Gohar, you have been married for ten years. You are loved and have a nice family. How have you managed to maintain peace within your family?

Gohar Harutyunyan: You are right. My husband and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary in June. Looking back, there have been difficulties, but I have overcome them. Overall, I have experienced wonderful moments throughout the years. I have tried to make my life perfect, even though it is almost impossible to achieve perfection when you are raising three children. However, I also haven’t forgotten to enjoy the good things in life.

I have experienced many happy moments. After all, I have experienced the joy of becoming a mother, and it is a feeling that makes any woman feel proud and obliged.

Hayern Aysor: I see that you have preferred family over your career. Are you only busy with taking care of the family, or are you busy with other activities as well? After all, it is accepted that beauties of all countries are involved in community service.

Gohar Harutyunyan: I was involved in community service even before I got married. I have been an active member of various organizations during my five-year stay in the United States. Later, I have run a family business and done my best to help my husband.

When I moved to Armenia after getting married in Moscow, I had many offers to get involved in community service. For instance, I was offered to participate in an election campaign, but I declined the offer since I believe that women with my status should stay away from that field. Over time, I stopped being involved in community service and preferred to spend all my time with my family.

Hayern Aysor: Is it easy to hold the title of a beauty and always look after yourself? Isn’t it boring for you?

Gohar Harutyunyan: When I was living in the United States, I felt freer since I had adapted to the American lifestyle. Of course, being in the center of attention causes some tension.

In general, I pay attention to public opinion. When you win a beauty pageant and become the number one beauty in your country and gain recognition, you are obliged to look attractive and behave as a woman should behave.

This is still how people view women who have won beauty pageants and invite them to participate in various events and projects, and whether we beauties want to or not, we have to be able to maintain the title that we have earned.

People also recognize me without makeup and say nice things to me, and of course, it is flattering. I would advise women to always keep their natural look. I always try to maintain my image of a mother. This is the real beauty of a woman. A woman can cover all flaws with a smile.

Hayern Aysor: Whom do you consider a beautiful woman?

Gohar Harutyunyan: For me, a beautiful woman is a woman who is loved and satisfied. It so happened that the people around me helped raise my self-esteem. For many years, I had had complexities, and I was amazed when I was declared the winner of beauty pageants. There is a story behind this. When I was in school, the boys of our class would not consider me a beautiful girl and would never pay attention to me because of my height. I have never been able to appreciate my real beauty the right way. I have not been self-confident during the competitions that I have participated in with interest. When I would see how daring other girls were, I would feel depressed, but over time, everything went on track.

Hayern Aysor: Is there an image of a woman that has an impact on you?

Gohar Harutyunyan: I like kind women who spend their time and make efforts to help people. I know many kind women like that, and one of them is founding president of Armenian Mothers NGO Narine Manukyan, whose activities deserve appraisal.

Hayern Aysor: You are a well-known woman and a beauty, who has always been in the center of attention and has heard many love confessions. How did you realize that your future husband wasn’t guided by that “principle”, but simply chose a woman with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life?

Gohar Harutyunyan: I have always felt that from the men who have liked me. My husband, Mnatsakan knew I was a beauty. I think many men wouldn’t dare to get married to a famous woman, especially a beauty. Armenian men prefer women who are under the shade.

Mnatsakan is a strong man, and he believed I deserved to be by his side. It was his audacity that attracted me. He took the step with persistence and willingness and treated me equally. Now, it is safe to say that I have a successful marriage since we both took that decision when we were mature. Even after a decade, we are certain that we made the right choice.

Hayern Aysor: How did Mnatsakan find his beauty?

Gohar Harutyunyan: My future husband was a Russia-based Armenian businessman who would regularly visit Armenia due to his job. His ancestors were witnesses of the Armenian Genocide, and he had sworn to his friends that he would definitely get married to an Armenian woman in order to keep the memory of his ancestors alive.

People had tried to introduce him to different girls in Armenia. One day, they showed him a photo of me with another girl.  They wanted to introduce him to the latter since they thought I was so “unreachable” that it would barely work out (laughing-ed.).

However, Mnatsakan was stubborn and chose me, and we met through a common friend during an event. Our family has never been split up. True, my husband’s business is based in Moscow, but he has always made arrangements to make sure we always spend time together and he is mostly in Armenia. He has always supported me and stood by my side.

He is an ideal father and very connected to his children. This year, our children spent their spring vacation with their father and aunt in Dubai. Due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to be with them.

In my interviews, I have stated several times that we are ready to have our fourth and even fifth child. The purpose is in no way to praise my family and be in the center of attention. I am trying to set an example for Armenian women to have many children. If you want to help Armenia overcome its challenges, you have to think about the growth of the population first. I could have stopped having children, but I considered it my duty to move forward and implement the ideology of our family.

Hayern Aysor: How does your family celebrate the month of women?

Gohar Harutyunyan: What makes me very happy is attending my children’s festive ceremonies during which I listen to them sing and recite poems. In general, I don’t wait for special holidays to spend an interesting day.

I remember how my sister and I would make every effort to turn the day into a day of celebration for our mother. We would buy gifts and flowers and make colorful postcards, and that would put a smile on our dear mother’s face.

Hayern Aysor: And my last question. Did you ever feel that this would be your destiny?

Gohar Harutyunyan: I never thought this is how my life would turn out and that I would undergo major changes in my personal life and business. It is as if I am living like Cinderella. I would dream of many things, and the next thing I knew, my dreams would come true. At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, but as I take a look back, I realize that I was truly born under a lucky star.

There have been moments in my life when I would easily become tempted and take a devious path. At the age of 17, I took informed and morally right steps. I have never taken wrong steps and have always found the strength and had the faith to resist trials and tribulations.

I am certain that my father has been with me and talked to me from the heavens above (Gohar was 10 when her father passed away-ed.). I have achieved my successes and victories with honesty.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan