Ohannes Chekidjian awarded with Ormanian Gold Order in Istanbul

People’s Artist of the USSR, Merited Art Figure of the Republic of Armenia, choirmaster, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the National Academic Choir of Armenia Ohannes Chekidjian has received another high award that is an addition to the numerous awards that he has received.

As reported the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, the maestro, who is invited to his hometown of Istanbul on the occasion of his 90th birthday, was awarded with the Patriarch Maghakia Ormanian Gold Order by head of the Vardanats Choir of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, Supreme Archimandrite Tatoul Anoushavan at the St. Vardanants Armenian Church.

Ohannes Chekidjian was born in 1928 in Istanbul. In 1951, he graduated from the Conservatory of Istanbul. In 1953, he graduated from the Ecol-Normal in Paris where he was a student of Furne. In 1961, he obtained his PhD from the Conservatory of Istanbul. From 1946 to 1960 (with an interval between 1951 and 1954), he was the deputy principal conductor of the State Choir of Istanbul and the musical director of the Opera House of Istanbul between 1958 and 1961.

Since 1961, he has been living in Armenia and has been the principal conductor of the State Academic Choir of the then Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Choir masterfully performs the works of Armenian classic and contemporary composers, Armenian folk songs and parts from operas. He also conducts symphony concerts and gives concerts abroad. He has composed works, including “Spring Dreams” and “Dedicated to a Holiday”. Between 1973 and 1977, he has taught at the Romanos  Melikyan Music School in Yerevan. Since 1975, he lectures at Yerevan State Conservatory (a professor since 1982).

Catholicos of All Armenians participated in opening of Armenian painters’ exhibition at Tapan Museum in Moscow

On May 15, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, accompanied by members of the Supreme Spiritual Council, arrived in Moscow where, at the invitation of Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan, the subsequent assembly of the Supreme Spiritual Council will be held on May 16-18 as part of the events dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Diocese.

At Sheremetyevo Airport, the delegation led by the Catholicos of All Armenians was greeted by Archbishop Yezras, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Russian Federation Vardan Toghanyan, as well as representatives of diocesan structures and the local Armenian community.

Afterwards, the patriarchal retinue headed towards the church complex in Moscow where His Holiness Karekin II visited the Holy Glorification Cathedral with the accompaniment of members of the Supreme Spiritual Council and the Diocese’s clergy.

On the same day, the Catholicos of All Armenians attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition of renowned Armenian painters’ works that was dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Diocese at Tapan Museum, which is located near the complex. The exhibition showcased 23 paintings and 4 sculptures of renowned Armenian artists that various Armenian benefactors had donated to the Diocese.

Among the attendees of the opening ceremony were members of the Supreme Spiritual Council; the Diocese’s spiritual servants; the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Russian Federation; intellectuals and representatives of the Armenian community of Moscow, as well as President of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Sergey Stepashin; public figure, Professor Leonid Roshal; Director of the State Museum of History Alexey Levikin and Russian artists.

The ceremony began with the welcoming speech by Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan. His Holiness expressed his joy for the visit of the Catholicos of All Armenians to Moscow, which fell in line with the anniversary of the Diocese. Touching upon the exhibition, Archbishop Yezras expressed gratitude to all those who have been continuously making their contributions to the development of the nation and church life and to those who have always been supporting the Armenian people and Armenia.

Afterwards, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II gave his blessings to the attendees on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

“We express satisfaction and glorify God for the fact that our sons based in Russia are strongly loyal to our values and to the sacred and cherished traditions under the leadership of the Holy Church. With the blessing of the Lord, the Diocese is effectively expanding the scope of its activities, advocating religion and serving for the development of Armenian culture, the Armenian education and upbringing of the young generation and the reinforcement of the national and religious identity of the sons of the Armenian nation.

We are glad to be at Tapan Museum of the church complex in Moscow for the first time with the members of the Supreme Spiritual Council and become familiar with the valuable samples (sacred relics inherited from the past), each of which is a story about the creativity, great faith of the nation and love of the nation for God, as well as its dedication to culture, science and education and zeal. Throughout its short existence, the Museum has become a cultural haven for the Armenians of Russia and, with its mission, it helps pious Armenians preserve their national identity, stay connected to Armenian culture and the roots of the Armenian nation.

Today, my dears, Armenian and foreign visitors are viewing highly valuable Armenian paintings by Hovhannes Aivazovsky, Martiros Saryan, Yeghishe Tadevosyan, Gevorg Bashinjaghyan, Minas Avetisyan and other great Armenian painters that have been donated to the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan by Armenian benefactors,” the Supreme Patriarch said, giving his blessing and expressing high appreciation to Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan, the members of the diocesan council, the honorable donators of the paintings and sculptures and the employees of Tapan Museum.

His Holiness wished that the Lord bless everyone, helping them achieve more success in their pro-national activities and activities for the Church. The Catholicos of All Armenians asked the Almighty to bless and further reinforce the centuries-old friendship between the Russians and Armenians and the effective cooperation between Russia and Armenia.

On the occasion of the ceremony, President of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Sergey Stepashin also expressed his heartfelt words and expressed joy for the opening of the exhibition. He also touched upon the active national and church life of the Armenian community of Russia and talked about solidarity with the two Churches.

Director of the State Museum of History Alexey Levikin also welcomed the exhibition. Attaching importance to the opening ceremony, Levikin noted with confidence that it would enrich the cultural life in Moscow. In his speech, he talked about the centuries-old relations between the Russians and Armenians and particularly emphasized the major role that Armenians have played in the development and empowerment of Russian statehood throughout history.

At the end, on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, the Museum’s correspondent Tigran Manasyan expressed words of gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians and the guests. Presenting the mission of the Museum, he noted that the name of the Museum serves as evidence of the fact that it will contribute to the preservation of spiritual, cultural and historical values and to the enrichment of the cultures of both Russian and Armenian nations. Manasyan added that the church complex, with its various structures, has become not only a spiritual, but also a national and cultural center for Armenians living far away from the homeland.

The ceremony ended with the Patriarchal Prayer for Protection.

Tokyo hosts Armenian Culture Week

From May 9 to 14, Tokyo hosted the annual and already traditional Armenian Culture Week, which was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Armenia, reported the press service of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Hayern Aysor. The weeklong events were organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Japan with the support of the RA Ministry of Culture.

The weeklong events featured exhibitions showcasing the paintings by renowned Armenian and Japanese painters, an evening of Armenian music, concerts featuring performances with Armenian and Japanese traditional musical instruments, a photo exhibition, as well as lectures and other cultural events.

The works of famous artists, including People’s Painter of the Republic of Armenia Vladimir Margaryan (Valmar), People’s Painter of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic Hripsime Simonyan, Srbuhi Abajyan, Deyna Volraf, Jansem and members of the Japanese Association of Artists, were showcased.

On May 10, a lecture entitled “Unique Product of Armenia” was held, followed by the “Evening of Armenian Music” musical event that featured performances by President of the Board of Trustees of the Komitas Musical Society of Japan Takahiro Akiba, canon player from Armenia Mary Musinyan and famous soprano Arax Mansourian.

On May 12, Tokyo hosted a seminar entitled “Armenian Embroidery”, as well as the “Canon+Koto” concert, which featured performances of Armenian and Japanese songs by canon player Mary Musinyan and kotoist Junko Ishivata. There were several attendees, including representatives of diplomatic missions, music lovers and representatives of the Armenian community.

On May 13, the participants of the “Armenian Wines” event had the opportunity to taste various types of Armenian wines and appetizers made by Armenian chefs.

Consultation held at RA Ministry of Diaspora

On May 15, RA Deputy Minister of Diaspora Serzh Srapionyan chaired a consultation at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. Among the participants were Deputy Minister Vahagn Melikyan, Chief of Staff Firdus Zakaryan and the heads of departments and divisions.

The heads of departments and divisions delivered reports on the applications for participation in the Ministry’s programs and projects, the past events and future actions and made new proposals.

Deputy Minister Serzh Srapionyan attached importance to the active participation of the Ministry in organizing the nationwide events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia and the proper organizing and wide coverage of the events and meetings to be held as part of the weeklong events entitled “Following the Traces of Vardanants”.

Chief of Staff Firdus Zakaryan presented the order of the Minister of Diaspora on designating correspondents for the relevant sections of the Ministry’s official website and assigned to follow the news and post the necessary materials on the website on time.

Other organizational and work-related issues were discussed during the consultation.

Armenia’s Central Bank puts into circulation silver 1,000 Armenian dram commemorative coin

On the occasion of the anniversary of the membership of the Republic of Armenia to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia has put into circulation a silver commemorative coin with a nominal value of 1,000 Armenian drams.

As reported the Public Relations Service of the Central Bank, the front side of the commemorative coin portrays the coat-of-arms of the Republic of Armenia and the inscriptions “ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ՀԱՆՐԱՊԵՏՈՒԹՅՈՒՆ”, “REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA”, “2017” and “1000 DRAMS”.

The back side of the commemorative coin portrays the logos of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, indicating the 25th anniversary of membership of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian and English inscriptions “ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ԱՆԴԱՄԱԿՑՈՒԹՅԱՆ ՀՈԲԵԼՅԱՆ” and “ARMENIA’S MEMBERSHIP ANNIVERSARY” are inscribed in the lower and upper circles.

Description of Commemorative Coin

Nominal value: AMD 1000

Metallurgical assay: silver 9250

Weight: 33.6 g

Diameter: 40.0 mm

Quality: proof

Surface: jagged

Quantity: 300

Author of sketches: Harutyun Samuelyan

The commemorative coin was cut by a banknote printing company in Lithuania.

Brand-name dolls dressed in Armenian costumes and made in Artsakh

Citizens of Stepanakert are making brand-name dolls dressed in Armenian national costumes.

In an interview with Artsakhpress, doll makers Suzy and Lusine said they had been making dolls on their own and decided to work together after their encounter.

“Lusine and I have known each other for two years. Making dolls is what connected us and is a hobby for us. Our work turned into a unique brand.

I don’t have a background in making dolls. My grandmother taught me how to make dolls. We create collections on a particular occasion. Our first collection was devoted to the New Year. This time, we decided to make dolls dressed in Armenian national costumes. We matched the ornaments on the clothes of the dolls with the shades of the Armenian national costumes. We are very connected to our dolls and have a hard time separating from them. Our dolls only have Armenian names (Naneh, Nareh, Saten, Arpi, Gohar, etc.). Many people love and appreciate our handicraft works and purchase them with pleasure. We also love to donate our dolls to our close ones.

We dream of having a school/studio where many people will learn how to make brand-name Armenian dolls. We want to present ourselves with our collections of Armenian dolls,” Suzy said.

Lusine Petrosyan admitted that she had had no experience in making dolls at all and only after working with Suzy did she learn how to make them.

“It takes us three hours to make one doll. The work is not too difficult, but it requires a lot of effort and attention. My friends and I try to use cloths, threads and stuffing materials made from natural raw material, but this is not always possible.

On May 9, we participated in the exhibition organized in Shushi. Many people were interested in our dolls, and the responses were interesting. We also take orders. We believe our dolls will have their place and role in culture. We urge teens and young people to not sit in front of the computer the whole time and make handicraft items like us. After all, they are also unique types of art.

A doll is a little girl’s favorite toy. I also liked playing with dolls when I was a little girl. I am happy to see other children play with the dolls that Suzy and I have made. We are excited about and proud of our work,” Lusine particularly said.

President Serzh Sargsyan Met With The Chief Executive Officer Of Qatar Airways

In the framework of his official visit to the State of Qatar, President Serzh Sargsyan met today with the CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker.

The parties discussed the process of the Armenian-Qatari cooperation in the area of aviation and prospects for development. President Sargsyan spoke about the significant role of the flights carried out by Qatar Airways in the expansion of the agenda of the interstate bilateral cooperation. Qatar Airways entered the Armenian aviation market in May 2016 and is carrying out Doha-Yerevan-Doha regular flights.

According to the President, the increase of the number of tourists from the countries of the Persian Gulf, including Qatar, is also conditioned by the existence of direct flights.
Noting that Armenia adopted Open Sky policy in 2013, President Sargsyan underscored that Armenia’s policy in the area of civil aviation and air communications provides new opportunities to the Armenian and foreign companies and ensures equal and free competition field for all.

Serzh Sargsyan noted that Armenia will encourage and support Qatari investors to make investments in different areas of the Armenian economy, including the aviation area.

The CEO of Qatar Airways informed President Sargsyan that he has already received instructions from His Majesty the Emir of Qatar to develop cooperation with Armenia in the area headed by him and assured that he would do his best to fulfill the task.
Akbar Al Baker noted that his company sees prospects for the development of the cooperation and is striving to promote the mutually beneficial cooperation.

CEC summarizes preliminary results of Yerevan election

The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) of Armenia summarized the preliminary results of May 14 Yerevan City Council election and prepared a protocol during the extraordinary session, reports Armenpress.

According to preliminary results, 354.158 out of 842.151 eligible voters participated in the election.

The number of ballots cast in favor of the ‘Yelk’ bloc is 70.731 or 21%. 26.109 people or 7.75% voted in favor of ‘Yerkir Tsirani’ party. 240.036 people or 71.25% voted in favor of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).

8.259 ballots were declared invalid.

The protocol was signed by all members of the Commission

President Serzh Sargsyan Met With The Emir Of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

President Serzh Sargsyan, who is in the State of Qatar on official visit, had today a private meeting with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani. Before that, the official ceremony of welcoming the President of Armenia took place at the Emiri Divan. At the meeting, the President thanked the Emir for the invitation to visit the friendly Qatar and the warm welcome extended to his delegation.

Noting that Middle East is holding an important role on the foreign agenda of the Republic of Armenia and that Armenia has special relations with the Arab states, which are based on the centuries-long friendship, Serzh Sargsyan noted that our country is interested in the invigoration of the high-level political dialogue with the State of Qatar and deepening of cooperation in all areas.

The parties expressed hope that the results of President Sargsyan’s first visit to Qatar will bring their input to the development of the Armenian-Qatari relations. They viewed as symbolic the fact that the visit is taking place in the year which marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Qatar which, accordion to the parties, presents a good opportunity to re-evaluate the Armenian-Qatari relations and give them a new impetus.

In the context of developing the bilateral cooperation, the parties stressed the importance of political contacts, particularly with regard to the consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two counties which will allow to exchange views on the development of bilateral relations, situation in the region, issues, which are sensitive to the parties, and positions.

Noting with satisfaction that the number of visitors from the countries of the Persian Gulf, including Qatar, to Armenia increases by year, which is promoted greatly by the flights operated by the Qatari airlines, the interlocutors discussed the opportunity of the liberalization of the visa regime between the two countries and prospects of deepening the interaction with the Qatari airlines, aimed at the enhancement of the mutually beneficial cooperation.

From the viewpoint of boosting the mutually beneficial trade and economic relations, the President of Armenia and Emir of Qatar stressed the importance of expanding the legal field of the two countries as well as holding session of the intergovernmental commission.

The Armenian side proposed for consideration a number of investment projects in different areas, among them the use of Armenia’s transit opportunities, especially access via Armenia to the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union.
At the proposal of the President of Armenia, the Emir of Qatar instructed the Minister of Economy of Qatar, who is also is the Vice President of Qatar’s investment organization, to have a separate meeting with the RA Minister of Economy, who is part of the Presidential delegation, and to discuss in detail the prospects and potential of the development of the bilateral economic ties. The representatives of the aviation agencies of the two countries were instructed by the President of Armenia and the Emir of Qatar to hold similar meetings in the framework of the visit.

Along with the bilateral relations, the parties discussed also possibilities of cooperation in a multilateral format. President Serzh Sargsyan and Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani spoke also about the NK peace process. In this context, the Emir stressed the importance of establishing peace and stability in the region and underscored that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution of the NK conflict and a dialogue.

After the meeting, Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani hosted an official reception in the honor of the President of Armenia.

Anush Aslibekyan: “My sphere of activity includes theater and literature”

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with writer, member of the Union of Writers of Armenia and theater critic Anush Aslibekyan, who talked about theater, her career and the current issues in the field of literature.

Hayern Aysor: Anush, tell us about your career.

Anush Aslibekyan: It all started when I got accepted to Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinematography. After graduating from the Faculty of Theater History, in 2006, I was invited to be a lecturer of the Chair of Art History and Theory of the same Institute. I am also a scientific worker of the Institute of Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Literature has been a part of my life since childhood. After the release of my first book entitled “Welcome to My Fairy Tale” (book of short stories and one play) in 2009, I took my first steps in the field of dramaturgy. In 2010, my play “Flight over the City” (included in the book “Welcome to My Fairy Tale”) was staged by Merited Artist of the Republic of Armenia Narine Grigoryan at Hovhannes Tumanyan State Puppet Theater. The play has been presented at over 10 international theater festivals and has received several grand prizes.

In 2015, my play “Mercedes”, which was dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, was staged at the Yerevan Theater of the Young Spectator and directed by Hakob Ghazanchyan, and Armenian American actress Nora Armani was invited to play the leading role.

The play is not directly about the events that took place during the Armenian Genocide, but the consequences that it had on the destinies of the Armenians. The play presents the story of Zaruhi and her family, who came to Armenia during the 1948 Great Repatriation.

The music for the play was written by my husband, musician Vahan Artsruni, who received the Artavazd Award for Best Music for a Play at the 2015 annual Artavazd Awards. Young actress Nara Sargsyan also received the Artavazd Award for Best Young Actress of the Year. In 2016, I received an offer to present the play “Mercedes” at the 23rd Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theater where, in spite of the linguistic barrier, the play was a great success. Among the attendees were Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Egypt Armen Melkonyan and Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Egypt, Fr. Bishop Ashot Mnatsakanyan. It was at their invitation that “Mercedes” was presented twice for the Armenian community in packed halls at the local Armenian cultural center.

In 2015, I received an offer from the Armenian community of Saint Petersburg to write a play devoted to the life and career of Komitas Vardapet and dedicate it to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The play “Komitas: The Blessing Light” play is a joint Russian-Armenian project and was directed by Ivan Latishev and Saint Petersburg-based Armenian director and producer Hamlet Hayrapetyan. Vahan Artsruni was not only the sound designer, but also performed and collaborated with singer Hasmik Baghdasaryan.

The Armenians of Saint Petersburg had the opportunity to not only see the play devoted to the major and turning events in the life of Komitas Vardapet, but also listen to Vahan Artsruni’s songs (“Komitas: Ten Revelations” series) based on the poems of Komitas.

I am also an experienced journalist. During my years of study at Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinematography, I felt that the Institute needed a student press, and I founded and edited the “Art” student magazine.

In 2014, I released my second book entitled “From Moyra’s Diary” (edited by Davit Muradyan). In addition, I must say that my works are presented in several languages in local and foreign literary presses and in several literary anthologies.

An anthology of Armenian contemporary poets (translated by Germany-based writer Agapi Mkrtchyan) was recently released in Germany. It is a joy that my poems are also included in the book “The Heart of Armenia” (Armeniens Herz) of Armenian contemporary poems published upon the order of the famous German Größenwahn Verlag Frankfurt am Main Publishing House in 2017.

Hayern Aysor: What sources did you use when you were writing the play “Mercedes”?

I listened to the stories of descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors living in Armenia and gathered rich materials for my play.

My late mother-in-law Naris Artsruni’s stories about her repatriate friends helped me a lot.  I compiled the stories and surprised her by presenting the book to her, and this is why I dedicated the book to her.

Hayern Aysor: Is it easy to be the wife of a musician?

Anush Aslibekyan: I would say it is a pleasure to be the wife of a musician, artist and noble intellectual. We collaborate and inspire each other. We have one point of contact in terms of our careers, and that point of contact is theater. Vahan Artsruni mainly writes the music for my plays. I must also say that we have two children, Anais and Andreas.

Hayern Aysor: How do you collaborate with Armenian communities of the Diaspora?

Anush Aslibekyan: Unlike my husband, who has had longstanding contacts with creators in the Diaspora, I established my contacts with the Armenian communities only after the performance of the above mentioned play devoted to Komitas. Unfortunately, there still hasn’t been an opportunity to present the other plays abroad. Whenever we receive an invitation to participate in an international theater festival in a particular country, only then do Armenian communities take advantage of the opportunity, contact us and offer us to perform. This is the biggest problem.

Hayern Aysor: Is Komitas’s music always a part of you?

Anush Aslibekyan: Of course. Not only his music, but also Komitas as a great patriot and a real artist is a part of me. It is astounding. He managed to crystallize Armenian culture, clean the sources and transmit them to us, the future generations, as an invaluable gift and treasure with his silent, incessant and goal-oriented activities. In general, all of Komitas’s songs are close to my heart.

Hayern Aysor:  You recently had a meeting with RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. What topics did you discuss?

Anush Aslibekyan: Since Armenian dramaturgy is not presented appropriately in the Diaspora, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan and I discussed issues on disseminating Armenian dramaturgy among Armenians around the world. The Minister expressed willingness to take adequate steps and collaborate. We need to make Armenian contemporary playwrights recognizable in Armenian communities of the Diaspora.

Hayern Aysor: You are involved in different fields of the arts. Which is the closest to your heart?

Anush Aslibekyan: In general, my sphere of activity includes theater and literature. I am a theater critic by profession, but literature is my soul, essence and lifestyle. I am a writer, regardless of the diversity of genres.

As far as theater is concerned, my critiques and literary articles have been published in the presses from time to time since 1998. Currently, I am working on an academic thesis entitled ““The Issue of Scenicism in the Plays of William Saroyan”. This is a topic that hasn’t been fully presented yet.

We Armenians know very little about William Saroyan. In our reality, Saroyan is examined as a prose writer, but not so much as a playwright. My goal is to conduct research and find the main basis that can make the plays scenic and guide readers and directors. It is accepted to consider that Saroyan is author of nearly 15 plays, but he has nearly 250 plays, most of which are not translated, and some are the originals.

Hayern Aysor: What do you have to say about contemporary writers?

Anush Aslibekyan: This is also a problem. I believe Armenian contemporary writers are not presented appropriately. Even today, there are wonderful writers who write glorious books, but we need to not only present them to our readers, but also translate their works for foreigners. It is time to include the works of Armenian contemporary writers in textbooks and organize regular meetings with them, restoring the past tradition.

The Internet also plays a major role in popularizing a writer. For instance, in 2014, literary critic Ani Pashayan created the Literature closed group on Facebook. Every day, users can read the works of contemporary writers, engage in debates over the arts and literature and freely participate in debates over the materials posted in the group. The goal of the group is to reveal and present new writers.

Hayern Aysor: What books are you reading now?

Anush Aslibekyan: At this moment, I recalled my desk, which is mainly stacked with professional books, books for a theater critic and books devoted to theories, as well as William Saroyan’s books (in relation to my thesis).

Once again, I must say that my favorite writer is William Saroyan with his wonderful plays and his novel “The Human Comedy”. In general, I have many preferences when it comes to literature. Among the other books that I am reading is the book of Komitas’s poems that was published by Vahan Artsruni and Aydin Morikyan.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan

University of Salzburg hosts conference devoted to Armenian studies

On May 12, the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Salzburg hosted a scientific conference entitled “Armenology Day” and held with the participation of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Austria. The conference was organized by the University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center (under the direction of Head of the Chair of Armenian Studies Jasmine Dum-Tragut and in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Austria, reported the press service of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Hayern Aysor.

The conference was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Austria and Armenia.

In his opening speech on behalf of the Rector of the University, Pro-Rector Fatma Fereira-Brizman expressed her greetings to the participants of the conference and presented the consistent policy of the University of Salzburg on Orthodox Christian Studies and particularly Armenian studies.

Afterwards, the representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia transmitted the message of RA Ambassador to Austria Arman Kirakossian in which the Ambassador expressed his gratitude to the administration of the University for paying special attention to Armenology and for hosting the conference at the University. The Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia had particularly set aside the great contribution that Professor Jasmine Dum-Tragut, who stands out with her active efforts in the field of Armenology, has made to the Armenology in Europe among the substantial scientific projects that have been carried out in the field of Armenology.

The conference featured speeches by scholars and researchers from various universities of Austria and other countries across Europe, as well as lecturers from the United States of America (University of Michigan), Australia (University of Sydney) and the Faculty of Oriental Studies commissioned by Yerevan State University through the EU Erasus+ Exchange Program of the University of Salzburg. In their speeches, they touched upon a broad range of topics related to Armenology.

After the discussions, Priest, Fr. Andreas Isakhanyan of the St. Hripsime Church in Vienna served an Armenian liturgy to the sounds of Armenian spiritual songs at the chapel of the Faculty of Catholic Theology.

The participants of the conference took part in a reception hosted on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Austria.

Poet Slavi Avik Harutyunyan presents Spanish version of book of poems entitled “Sky Without Birds” in Valencia

At the initiative of Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia, Karena Publishing House and FNAC Network of Bookstores, poet Slavi Avik Harutyunyan presented the Spanish version of his book of poems entitled “Sky Without Birds” in Valencia.

As reported Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia to Hayern Aysor, the author and the book were introduced by President of the Cultural Movement Organization of Mislata, recipient of the Best Friend of the Armenian People Award Salvador García de la Mota, who presented the author’s in-depth and philosophical thoughts, as well as his thoughts about the unwavering struggle of the Armenian people and his love that is as strong as the feeling of longing.

The poet’s speech was translated by member of Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia Movses Mkhitaryan.

The author talked about his career and particularly cited excerpts from the epic “Sasuntsi Davit” (Davit of Sasun). By making emphases, he also tried to attach importance to the role of a leader embodying the collective image of the Armenian people, especially today when all Armenians are in a panicking state of war.

Renowned Spanish-Armenian violinist Tatevik Khachatryan, as well as talented singers Edgar Abramyan, Anna Asoyan and Edgar Martirosyan performed during the presentation.

The author’s Armenian poems were presented by Vice-President of Ararat Armenian Association of Valencia Gaiane Ghazaryan.

Armenian children of London send letters to Armenian soldiers

Hayern Aysor presents the letter/postcards that students of the Armenian Saturday School in London have sent to soldiers of the Armenian Army.

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Armenian family and cultural center opens in Massachusetts

An Armenian family and cultural center has opened in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

There will also be an Armenian church, but the center will currently serve as a place for serving Holy Masses, an Armenian Sunday school and a platform for other events.

Among the attendees of the opening ceremony was Primate of the U.S. Eastern Diocese, Archbishop Khazhag Parsamian, reported eagletribune.com, according to news.am.

The opening ceremony was followed by a banquet attended by nearly 300 guests, including state officials. The special guest of the event was gymnast Houry Gebeshchyan, who represented Armenia at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Let us mention that the Massachusetts is the second State with the largest Armenian population after California.