RA Ministers of Diaspora and Education and Science sign joint order

On 10 April, Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan and Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia Levon Mkrtchyan signed a joint order on providing assistance in the solutions to educational issues in the Diaspora during an event held at the RA Ministry of Diaspora.

A steering committee will be set up to coordinate the implementation of actions envisaged by the action plan.

“In execution of the assignment of Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Karen Karapetyan, we drew up and signed this joint order on approving the joint action plan for assistance in the solutions to educational issues in the Diaspora and on setting up a steering committee. The joint order will provide us with the opportunity to carry out joint programs more effectively,” RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan stated.

Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchyan attached importance to Minister Hranush Hakobyan’s initiative and stated the following: “This order implies a clear-cut action plan, and actions will be coordinated in a better way in this format.”

The Minister of Diaspora expressed gratitude to the Minister of Education and Science for the willingness to cooperate and added that issues related to preservation of the Armenian language would be discussed during the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Conference set to take place in September 2017. “Here the Ministries of Diaspora and Education and Science can also support each other by inviting the top specialists, choosing the right topics and solving other issues,” the Minister of Diaspora stated.

Organizational meeting for 6th Armenia-Diaspora Conference was held

On 10 April, the RA Ministry of Diaspora hosted an organizational meeting for the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Conference to be held on 18-20 September in Yerevan. The meeting was moderated by Minister Hranush Hakobyan and gathered leaders and representatives of 21 pan-Armenian and ecclesiastical organizations who considered organizational issues and items on the agenda.

Greeting the attendees, the Minister of Diaspora attached importance to the pan-Armenian conference held once every three years as a platform for strengthening the bonds between Armenia and the Diaspora and for forming a unified, pan-Armenian agenda and establishing dialogue. The Minister particularly stated the following: “Working with pan-Armenian organizations and institutions is the most important topic of the dialogue between Armenia and the Diaspora. This conference must further specify and restructure the targeted, professional and Armenian agenda and help the participants make new recommendations about and present new approaches towards pan-Armenian priorities. We must be able to use the potential of the Diaspora in Armenia. Our two Armenian republics need a new direction and need to develop in a new way. In the speeches of representatives of pan-Armenian organizations and institutions, we need to find and highlight the suggestions for solving the issues related to preservation of the Armenian identity, updating the pan-Armenian agenda and modifying the concept paper on the Armenia-Diaspora partnership. We are all responsible for the conference, and we need to organize it very well.”

Consultation held at the RA Ministry of Diaspora

On 10 April, Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan held a consultation with Deputy Minister Vahagn Melikyan, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Diaspora Firdus Zakaryan, the director of the “Homeland-Diaspora Center” SNCO and the heads of departments and divisions of the Ministry of Diaspora.

The Minister attached importance to the completion of the assignments of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia in a timely and precise manner and the brief presentation of the results of the Ministry’s activities.

The issues on organizing the upcoming Armenian Genocide remembrance and commemoration events were touched upon.

The heads of departments and divisions delivered their weekly reports, pinpointed the upcoming programs and events and made new recommendations.

The Minister gave assignments and designated correspondents and coordinators.

Poland’s Rzeszów hosts scientific conference devoted to history of Polish- Armenian community

On 7 April, representative of the Armenian minority to the Joint Commission of the Government of Poland and National and Ethnic Minorities Eduard Mier-Endzheyovich, the Armenian Cultural Association of Krakow and the Foundation for the Armenian Culture and Heritage of Poland held a scientific conference devoted to the history of the Armenian community of Poland in the Polish city of Rzeszów.

Among the participants were Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Poland Edgar Ghazaryan; Deputy Governor of the voivodship of Podkarpatske Piotr Pilkh; several renowned scholars, publicists and cultural figures; representatives of other national minorities in Podkarpatske and members of the Armenian community of Poland, as well as journalists and others.

In his opening speech, RA Ambassador to Poland Edgar Ghazaryan stated that the year 2017 was a significant year for Polish-Armenian relations since it marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and Armenia.

Ambassador Ghazaryan emphasized that the relations between the two countries were hinged on the great friendship between the Poles and the Armenians during which there have been several memorable events, one of which is the privilege that the king of Poland granted to a clergyman of the Armenian Apostolic Church 650 years ago.

There were several speeches devoted to Armenia and the Armenian community of Poland. In particular, in his extensive speech, scientific worker of the Kieltse State Museum Pavel Gzhesky touched upon the history and culture of the Armenian people and the rich Christian heritage.

The participants of the conference were also introduced to the study of the Director of the Museum of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Professor Krzysztof Stopka. The study was devoted to the several privileges that King Kazimir the Great had granted to the Armenians and the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church 650 years ago.

Among other speakers was Priest of the Armenian Catholic Church of Poland Tadeus Isakovic-Zalesky, who presented the centuries-old history of the Armenian community of Poland and the positive role that prominent Armenian figures have played in the history of Poland.

The conference also featured the exhibitions of the paintings by Rzeszów-based painter Suren Vardanyan and Krakow-based Ani Muradyan’s ceramic works.

At the end, the participants visited the Saint Voychekh and Stanislav Church in Rzeszów where they laid flowers in front of the plaque eternalizing the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide at Capitol Hill

On April 5 the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the US joined the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America for the annual Capitol Hill commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, David Trott, Jackie Speier, David Valadao and Vice Co-Chair Adam Schiff made remarks about the importance of properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as well as the need to ensure continued assistance to Armenia and Artsakh.

The commemoration event was attended by Senator Ed Markey, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, as well as Representatives Salud Carbajal, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Jim Costa, Anna Eshoo, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brad Schneider, Brad Sherman and Thomas Suozzi.

In his remarks Armenian Ambassador to US Grigor Hovhannissian thanked the members of the Armenian Caucus for their continuous efforts towards increasing the awareness of Armenian Genocide and emphasized the causality between the genocide denial and the recurrence of this evil.

Concert dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to be held in Valencia

On 21 April at 20:00, at the initiative of Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia, the cultural center in Mislata will host a concert dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide under the title “It is springtime, but it is snowing”. The participants of the event will recite poems and perform the masterpieces of world famous Armenian and foreign composers.

As reported Ararat Armenian Association to Hayern Aysor, among the participants will be young, talented and highly popular Spanish-Armenian singers and musicians Anna Asoyan, Edgar Abramyan, Edgar Martirosyan and Yeranuhi Igityan, Ukrainian musicians Alina Sakhnenko, Mykola Dorosh, Svetlana Krysanova, Russian pianist Vadim Valyayev, as well as writers Gaiane Ghazaryan and Sandra Martinez.

The Armenians of Valencia are expected to show active participation.

Event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Maraga massacre was held

On April 10, 1992, Azerbaijani troops massacred Armenians in the Maraga village of the Martakert region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

In an interview with Artsakhpress, commander of the self-defense detachment of Maraga village, head of the community Roma Karapetyan said the villagers realized that the Azerbaijanis were going to attack when they bombarded the village on 9 April.

“The next day, on 10 April, the Azerbaijani troops attacked Maraga. On that day, the self-defense detachments of the village led unmatched battles three times and repulsed the enemy. The attack left 173 homes burnt, 50 people dead, and 38 people were taken as hostages. Out of the 38, 24 were exchanged, and the destinies of 14 people remain unknown to this day. Through the efforts of Armenain troops, we managed to liberate Maraga at around 12 a.m. or 1 a.m. on the same day.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Maraga massacre, the students of the Vagif Hambardzumyan Middle School of New Maraga organized a concert during which they performed in military uniforms, waving the Armenian tricolor flag and holding pictures of heroes who died for the village’s defense and signs condemning the vandalism of the Azerbaijani troops.

The attendees of the event laid flowers near the plaque commemorating the heroes who sacrificed their lives for Maraga 25 years ago.

The pupils recited inspiring poems and poems devoted to the battle, and Merited Artist of the Republic of Armenia, Honorary Citizen of Martakert Shushan Petrosyan performed Armenian patriotic songs.

Among the attendees were deputy head of the regional administration of Martakert Radik Arushanyan, doctors of Maraga, guests and others.

Photos by Lusine Zakaryan

First reconstruction works launched at Istanbul’s Armen Camp where Hrant Dink grew up

The first reconstruction works have been launched at Armen Armenian Summer Camp (also known as the orphanage where Hrant Dink was raised) in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, reported Istanbul’s HyeTert Armenian newspaper.

Earlier, President of the Foundation of the Armenian Protestant Church in Gedikpasha Grigor Aghababoglu had informed that the plan for reconstruction was ready and that the Foundation would be ready to undertake large-scale construction after receiving the signature of the authorities to lift the restrictions on the owner.

The rebuilt camp will serve as a wonderful cultural facility that will keep the memory of Istanbul-Armenian intellectual Hrant Dink alive.

About two years ago, after 175 days of resistance, Armenian activists managed to have the building of the Armenian camp in Tuzla returned to the Armenian community of Istanbul. The building had been at risk of extinction since May 2015.

Back in 1962, the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople had purchased the area in the Tuzla district of Istanbul where the future Armenian summer camp was supposed to be built. The construction of the camp was aimed at meeting two key objectives-to help Armenian children interact in an Armenian environment during their summer vacation in order for them to preserve the Armenian language and provide Armenian orphans with shelter during the summer vacation.

However, in 1987, the State took the property away from the Armenian community and blamed the Patriarchate for “raising ASALA fighters at the camp”.

The owners of the camp have changed several times, and in 2015, the owner of the time decided to draft a plan for construction of villas in Tuzla.

On 6 May 2015, young Armenians managed to stop bulldozers that had entered the area of Armen Camp, even though the employees of the construction firm had already managed to destroy the wall of one of the rooms, writes tert.am.

Sirarpi Kosoian: “The French-Armenian pupils had waited impatiently for the “Ari Tun” Program”

“Bringing the graduating 5th graders of the Saint-Mesrop Arabian School of Alfortville to Armenia ahead of the day of remembrance of the canonized martyrs of the Armenian Genocide has already turned into a tradition,” said Armenian language teacher of the Saint- Mesrop Arabian School of Alfortville Sirarpi Kosoian said during the April 10 solemn opening ceremony of the 2017 “Ari Tun” Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora for homeland recognition of young Diaspora Armenians, adding that the pupils were participating in the “Ari Tun” Program for the first time, as reported Hayern Aysor.

In her speech, Sirarpi Kosoian expressed deep gratitude to Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan for providing the 20 pupils of the School with the opportunity to participate in the Program and stated that the French-Armenian pupils had waited impatiently for the “Ari Tun” Program. The teacher also stated that the French-Armenian children feel great in the Homeland, are sightseeing with great interest and want to see as many things as possible.

Let us add that 66 pupils of the Saint-Mesrop Arabian School of Alfortville, the “Dprotsaser” Armenian School of Paris and Hamazkayin Armenian School of Marseille are visiting Armenia and participating in the first stage of the Program along with 10 teachers.

Bone marrow transplant carried out in Armenia for the first time

Two transplants of the hematopoietic stem cells of bone marrow have been carried out in Armenia for the first time.

“The two patients are myeloma patients. After several chemotherapy courses, we saw corresponding remission of the patients, and the disease continued. Doctors have indicated transplant of stem cells for those patients,” Director of Yolyan Hematology Center CJSC, head of the transplantologists team Smbat Daghbashyan said.

According to the doctor, in this case, transplant is the only way to help the patients live longer, writes A1+.

One of the patients is from Artsakh, and the other-from Armenia.

“When 50-year-old Elmira talked to her doctor, she said she wanted a transplant in the period in which she would live, be healthy, feel like she was living as she used to and live with her family. The patient set the objective to improve the quality of her life,” Smbat Daghbashyan added.

The transplant was carried out under the supervision of Head of the Transplant Department of Ependorf Clinic in Hamburg, Professor Nicolaus Kroger. According to him, this is an innovative method that is being applied in all parts of the world.

In Armenia, 60 patients are in need of transplants, which are carried out in several stages, including preparation for chemotherapy; bone marrow stimulation; gathering, processing and freezing of stem cells, preparation of drugs for patients and the main process of transplant of stem cells.

Janna Blbulyan: “I am a songwriter, but I have always considered myself an actress…I really miss the theater”

The Armenian Diaspora has charmed and amazed the world several times in all spheres of life through the manifestations of the capacious and universal talents. Armenians live and create everywhere and are never detached from their roots, and it is the power of those roots that makes Armenians internationally recognized.

Our compatriots, musicians and songwriters, mother and daughter Janna Blbulyan and Nara Noyan, who have been living and creating abroad for years, are in Armenia for Nar Noyan’s concert and were hosted at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. First, I had an interview with well-known songwriter Janna Blbulyan for Hayern Aysor. There was a time when Janna Blbulyan was one of Armenia’s best performing artists. She is an actress who remembers her career and her roles with longing.

Karine Avagyan: Perhaps we should start from your career, Janna…

Janna Blbulyan: Yes, you are right. For almost 20 years, I have played the leading roles at Hakob Paronyan State Musical Comedy Theater. Before that, I had played at the Dramatic Theater. When I visited France for the third time due to circumstances, I didn’t return to Armenia because my grandson was born. I have been living in France for the past 25 years. Of course, one has to speak the language of a foreign country fluently in order to perform on stage. I speak French fluently, and even my acquaintances tell me that I have no problem, but I rely on my inner voice and find that the speech heard on stage must be perfect. As far as music is concerned, it is a language in itself and a language that everyone understands.

Karine Avagyan: Mrs. Blbulyan, how and when did you come onto the music scene?

Janna Blbulyan: Since there was no theater, and an actor needs to perform in a theater, I established close ties with my pianist. I am also a professional musician, and we both created melodies together. During a visit to Yerevan, I introduced my brother, famous poet and journalist Levon Blbulyan to one of my melodies. He liked it a lot and asked if I had more, and I said there were many…This is how our collaboration began. He wrote the lyrics, and I composed the music. Our song was created the next morning and was called “Spring of Return”. The collaboration continued, and we composed many beautiful songs. I have over 200 songs, most of which I have composed with Levon. About two years ago, we released an album, which features our 40 songs. When I was in France, I also worked with many poets, who were mainly Frenchmen.

Karine Avagyan: Nevertheless, even if you have worked with French poets, one can surely feel the breath of an Armenian in your melodies. Do foreigners understand it? Do they love your songs?

Janna Blbulyan: They love it a lot! They love the nuances in Armenian music. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t continue to collaborate with me. There have been wonderful occasions to work with remarkable singers and musicians who have played a major role in my life. The legendary performer of the famous song “Lambada” Loalva Braz, who had been told about me, came to Paris to meet and collaborate with me. She stayed at my house in Paris for a month. We became very close, started writing songs together, and she loved my melodies. In 2004, she came to Yerevan to participate in my concert and performed three songs.

Karine Avagyan: Doesn’t Levon get jealous when you compose melodies based on the lyrics of other poets?

Janna Blbulyan: I have heard that question in the past. Levon has replied that he also collaborates with other musicians and doesn’t get jealous when I collaborate with other writers, meaning he doesn’t consider it “betrayal”.

Karine Avagyan: Which works of classical Armenian writers have you touched upon?

Janna Blbulyan: We Armenians have many writers who have written poems that are melodic, but I haven’t touched upon them yet because there is a poet like Levon Blbulyan. I am planning on touching upon the works of classical Armenian poets that I prefer.

Karine Avagyan: You have temporarily left your Homeland. Will you ever return to Armenia, or have you achieved so much success and become so clung to France that it will be hard for you to return?

Janna Blbulyan: I am considering it. Recently, I have been thinking about it a lot because you can never feel as complete as you feel at home.

Karine Avagyan: Mrs. Blbulyan, you are in Armenia. Doesn’t your beloved theater call you?

Janna Blbulyan: Today I will visit the theater, meet my colleagues and watch a play. I really miss the theater. True, I have composed several songs and am currently in the world of music, but I have always considered myself an actress. I am an artist in essence.

Karine Avagyan: Don’t you regret guiding your daughter to the world of arts as well?

Janna Blbulyan: Both my son and daughter are artists in essence. My son writes wonderful songs and texts and also arranges the music for those songs. He is more gifted than us. As far as Nara is concerned, she was born to be an actress. When she starred in Frunze Dovlatyan’s film “Longing”, Dovlatyan was charmed by her perfect acting. Nara is a musician, singer, actress and creator, but she is more focused on singing now. Nara is devoted to the stage. She petrifies and charms the audience with her transformation on stage. She is a full-grown and successful musician, and I never regret leading her in that direction. God guided her.

Karine Avagyan: Why Nara Noyan? Does it have anything to do with Noyan (Noah)? Is it a pseudonym?

Janna Blbulyan: No! Nara’s father’s last name is Mnoyan, but people can’t pronounce the last name correctly in the field of performing arts, much less abroad. So, we took out the “M” and were left with “Noyan”.

Karine Avagyan: What are your plans?

Janna Blbulyan: I am getting ready to give a solo concert in Armenia in September. I will be performing my songs and the songs based on my lyrics. I also plan on recording a duet with Levon and performing it on stage.

Karine Avagyan: What is the song of your soul that wholly and deeply expresses all that you experience in your inner world?

Janna Blbulyan: Charles Aznavour’s “La Boheme”. If I was a singer, I would perform all the songs of Komitas.

Interview by Karine Avagyan

Armenian children of Odessa send letters to Armenian soldiers

Hayern Aysor presents the letters that the 2nd grade students of the Mesrop Mashtots Armenian Sunday School of Odessa have addressed to the soldiers of the Armenian Army through the Letter to a Soldier initiative.

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First stage of 2017 “Ari Tun” Program kicks off

On 10 April, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia hosted the solemn opening ceremony of the first stage of the 2017 “Ari Tun” Program for homeland recognition of young Diaspora Armenians.

The first stage of the program has gathered 66 young Armenians from the St. Mesrop-Arabian Armenian School in Alfortville, the “Dprotsaser” Armenian School in Paris and the Hamazkayin Armenian School in Marseille accompanied by 10 teachers.

The participants were greeted by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan who particularly stated the following: “Welcome to the Homeland, dear boys and girls. For many of you, this is the first visit to Armenia, and I am certain that it will become unforgettable and you will return to France with the dream and desire to visit Armenia again. I would like to thank the teachers of the St. Mesrop-Arabian, “Dprotsaser” and Hamazayin Armenian Schools of France and the accompanying staff members. I am certain that our children have seen many things and know a lot about the history, culture and literature of their country and that they owe it to their parents and teachers for that.”

Minister Hranush Hakobyan expressed special gratitude to French-Armenian benefactor Sarkis Bedoian for sponsoring the visits of the students of Armenian schools in France to Armenia for the past eleven consecutive years. “By bringing Diaspora Armenian children to Armenia, you provide them with the opportunity to see the real Homeland, Armenian monasteries, the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenadaran), the Zvartnots Cathedral, Lake Sevan and other historic and cultural sites. After their visits, they will always preserve the Armenian identity and always aspire to return to Armenia again no matter where they may be in this world and what they may be doing.”

Afterwards, the Minister dressed the youngest participant of the first stage of the Program, student of the St. Mesrop-Arabian School Harutioun Vrtanesian in the shirt and hat with the logo of the Program on them.

The School’s teacher of Armenian language and literature Sirarpi Kosoian expressed her gratitude on behalf of the School and stated that the children were waiting impatiently and with great pleasure to go sightseeing in Armenia.

Teacher of Paris’s “Dprotsaser” Armenian School Nora Baroutjian-Basikian attached importance to the need to turn Western Armenian into a practical language in Armenia. “In that case, Eastern Armenian-speaking and Western Armenian-speaking Armenians will understand each other more quickly,” she stated.

In his speech, benefactor Sarkis Bedoian stated the following: “Thank you, dear Mrs. Hakobyan for your cordial reception. Every year, you cordially greet our children. Yes, it is necessary that our young boys and girls see their land because they are our future and our future soldiers.”

During the event, the participants of the first stage sang and recited the works of Armenian poets and writers, and the Tsaghkazard Ensemble of the Araratian Patriarchal Diocese performed the songs of Komitas.

The participants also watched a film devoted to the “Ari Tun” Program.