Presentation of book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World” was held

On October 2, at the initiative of the Armenian Studies and Social Sciences Section of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS) and with the support of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, the sessions hall of the Presidency of the NAS RA hosted the presentation of Hranush Hakobyan’s monograph entitled “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World”. The book was recommended for publication by the academic council of the History Institute of the NAS RA. The subject-matter of the study is the process of development of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership, as well as the results and perspectives. For the first time, an attempt is being made to examine the concept of “Diaspora” in the changing world and present in general the origin and formation of the Armenian Diaspora, the stages of development throughout history, as well as the current state and features of the Armenian Diaspora.

The event was attended by RA Minister of Culture Armen Amiryan; President of the NAS RA Radik Martirosyan; Head of the Department of Foreign Relations and Protocol of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Poland Edgar Ghazaryan, as well as state, public and political figures, scholars, analysts and experts.

President of the NAS RA Radik Martirosyan expressed his greetings to the attendees.

In his opening remarks, academician-secretary of the Armenian Studies and Social Sciences Section of the NAS RA Yuri Suvaryan said the following: “In this book of encyclopedic significance, allow me to first and foremost set aside the section entitled “History and Current Description of the Armenian Diaspora” in which the author, with academic commentaries, presents the term ‘diaspora’ in general, distinguishes between the stages of formation of the Armenian Diaspora and gives a general picture, touching upon not only the history, but also the educational, scientific and cultural heritages of the Diaspora, the current state of the Diaspora, the pan-Armenian and professional organizations, centers for Armenian studies, the media, museums and libraries in the Diaspora and the historical and cultural heritage of the Diaspora. The author also identifies the key issues of Armenian identity and touches upon Armenia’s state policy on the Armenia-Diaspora partnership,” Yuri Suvaryan stated.

His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan gave his blessing to the gathered and stated the following: “This monumental monograph serves as further evidence of the one-nation-one Homeland unity, and allow me to congratulate all of us on the release of this book.”

Emphasizing the scientific and practical significance of the book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World”, Director of the History Institute of the NAS RA, academician Ashot Melkonyan emphasized the following: “There are many books of great academic value being released, but they are never accessible to the public at large in the practical sense. This monograph is one-of-a-kind in that it is of great academic, practical, cognitive and historiographical significance. The author presents the history of every Armenian community in a special way, highlighting the radical differences among them. The Armenian Church abroad is presented entirely and generally. Indeed, the author is gifted with the great ability to understand the intricate Diaspora. The book attaches importance to the issues of national concern, starting from the process of recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and ending with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. After the Armenian Diaspora Encyclopedia, this is a scientific-analytical book from which one can not only receive a tremendous amount of information, but also understand the current results and predict the future.”

Setting aside the book’s contribution to contemporary historiography, social sciences and Diaspora studies, President of AGBU Armenia, member of the AGBU Central Board Vasken Yacoubian particularly valued Hranush Hakobyan’s reflection on the history and development of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership, as well as the results and the perspectives. “The grave issues related to the Diaspora are presented academically. The book features encyclopedic materials and tables showing statistics. Taking into consideration the integrative significance of the book for Armenian communities and Diaspora Armenian organizations, I would like to inform you that the Armenian General Benevolent Union is ready to sponsor the English translation of this book,” Vasken Yacoubian stated.

President of the Armenian Center of Toronto, Chairman of S. Tehleryan Committee Hagop Janbazian also gave a speech devoted to the book.

Head of Department of the Institute of History of the NAS RA, corresponding member of the NAS RA Albert Kharatyan emphasized the academic, public and pan-national value of the book. Dean of the Faculty of History at Yerevan State University Edik Minasyan attached importance to the fact that the book can serve as a textbook and expressed gratitude for the book’s release on behalf of students pursuing their studies in Diaspora studies and the Faculty of History.

Director of “Armenpress” Armenian News Agency Aram Ananyan valued the book in the context of understanding, appreciating and analyzing the current trends. “We are living in an era of uncertainties, and add to that the flows of migration, the identity crisis, the civic and political instability and the challenges of the century. In this sense, the book gives the answers to many questions and indicates a certain roadmap for many uncertainties. That map is not only of serious academic significance, but is also similar to a political manifesto showing how the Armenia-Diaspora partnership must grow. However, for me, as a media representative, what is particularly interesting is how the author addresses the issues related to pan-Armenian media.”

Ananyan’s speech was followed by speeches by Rector of Gavar State University Ruzanna Hakobyan; Editor of Iran’s Alik Armenian Daily Derenik Melikian; Vice-President of the Union of Armenians of Russia and the World Armenian Congress Vladimir Aghayan and Dean of the Faculty of Journalism at Yerevan State University Naghash Martirosyan.

The presentation ended with a speech by author of the monograph “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World” Hranush Hakobyan, who expressed gratitude to the pan-Armenian organizations and ecclesiastical institutions and Armenian embassies in various countries through which several statistical data were specified. The author also expressed gratitude to the scholars who had given their critiques, made their recommendations and expressed their opinions. “The Armenian State must achieve the adoption of a UN declaration on the Diaspora and the development of a convention on the Diaspora since the rights and commitments of the Diaspora, the supranational, domestic, bilateral relations, the relations within the Diaspora and the relations between Armenia and the Diaspora have become a subject in international law, but there has yet to be an evaluation,” Hranush Hakobyan stated, emphasizing the fact that the scientific thought of Armenia and the Diaspora needs to be served first and foremost for the deepening and expansion of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership.

His Holiness, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All East pays historic visit to Romania

On September 26, at the invitation of Alexandrion Foundation, Romania received His Holiness, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All East. At Otopen International Airport, His Holiness was greeted by Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Romania, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Tatev Hakobyan and Vicar, Fr. Priest Grigor Holka, reported the press divan of the Armenian Diocese of Romania to Hayern Aysor.

On the same day, His Holiness Tatev attended a ceremony during which His Holiness Ignatius II, Patriarch was awarded with the Konstantin Brinkoveanu Special Award by the Alexandrion Foundation.

The Armenian Apostolic and Syriac Orthodox Sister Churches have the same views on Christianity and a sacred tradition, the heritage of patriarchs and rituals, common saints, and even today, these two Churches are enhancing their relations that have a long history.

On October 1, His Holiness Ignatius II and his accompanying bishops participated in the Holy Mass served in the Holy Archangels Mother Cathedral of the Prelacy of the Armenian Diocese of Romania. The celebrant was His Grace, Fr. Bishop Tatev Hakobyan who, in his speech, stressed once again the fact that the Armenian and Syriac Churches are apostolic and based on apostolicism and that there is friendship and cooperation between the two ancient churches. His Holiness also expressed his concern about the current tense and military situation in Syria and the Middle East and prayed to God for peace.

After the Holy Mass, Patriarch Ignatius served a Holy Mass in the Armenian Church. In his speech, he expressed gratitude to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Romania, His Grace, Fr. Bishop Tatev Hakobyan for the cordial and fraternal reception and the continuity of the close relations and cooperation, asking for the intercession for the 1.5 million Armenian martyrs.

The visit of His Holiness Ignatius II, Patriarch to Romania was historic in several regards. Firstly, this was the first visit of the leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church to Romania. Secondly, a Syriac Holy Mass is being served in the territory of Romania and in Aramean in an Armenian Church-in the language that Jesus Christ spoke.

Among the attendees of the Holy Masses were Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia Hamlet Gasparyan; President of the Union of Armenians of Romania Varujan Vosganian; representatives of the clergy of the two churches; guests and members of the local Armenian community. After the Holy Masses, the attendees participated in a reception hosted in the hall of the Armenian Prelacy.

Event devoted to Battle of Musaler held in Germany for the first time (photos, video)

For the first time ever, the Armenian community of Germany celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of Musaler with an event that featured performances of Armenian songs and dances, songs played on the traditional Armenian zurna and dhol and serving of Armenian harisa.

The Tovmasyan family, which is the only Armenian family residing in the city of Leer of Lower Saxony (Germany), in association with the communities of Ostfrisland, Emsland and Lauenburg, organized an event devoted to the Battle of Musaler. It should be mentioned that the event was held in the park adjacent to the cross-stone eternalizing the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide placed in 2015. On this special occasion, the authorities of Leer permitted the placement of the Armenian tricolor flag on the façade of the municipality. The event was heralded with a ‘car march’ (instead of license plates, nearly 20 drivers placed the inscriptions “Musa Ler” and “Armenia” on their cars, waved Armenian tricolor flags and toured the city, after which the event began in the park near the cross-stone, reported the event’s organizers to Hayern Aysor.

Among the participants of the event were not only the Armenians from all parts of Germany, but also German state officials whom the Armenian community greeted with salt and bread and to the sounds of Armenian music performed on the Armenian zurna and dhol. In the beginning, the history of the Battle of Musaler was presented in German and Armenian, and representatives of various communities of Germany expressed greetings to the attendees, attaching importance to the positive impact of such events on the development of the Armenian community in Germany. “The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide in the world during which the Turks tried to massacre an entire nation. Let us note that Franz Werfel’s book “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” was prohibited in Nazi Germany since Nazi Germany was trying to do everything it could to conceal the truth. Today, this book is very popular in Germany. Moreover, Leer is hosting an event devoted to this battle. I thank Albert Tovmasyan, who is the father of the only Armenian family living in Leer and who opened our eyes with this event,” one of the attendees said.

“Mr. Tovmasyan is rightfully considered the ambassador of the cultural life and unity of the Armenians and Germans in our region,” said special guest of the event, President of the Christian-Jewish Unified Labor Organization, former mayor Keller, who had permitted the placement of the cross-stone. In closing, he added the following words in Armenian: “Harisa, we all want to taste harisa”. After the speeches, spiritual pastor of central and northern Germany, Fr. Priest Gnel Gabrielyan blessed the harisa and heralded the launch of the main event.

Former mayor of Leer Wolfgang Keller; Armenologist, journalist and prose writer Jochen Mangelsen and President of the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions Uve Viarda were among the first who tried the harisa made with the special recipe of the Armenians of Musaler. The event featured performances of traditional Armenian songs and dances, and Armenian children, who have never been to Armenia, recited excerpts from the famous poems of Armenian writers. Besides the harisa, the attendees also tasted a cake that was devoted to the topic and was made by an Armenian chef from Vilem Safen.

Istanbul-Armenian songwriter Mazhak Toshikian visits RA Ministry of Diaspora

On October 2, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received Istanbul-Armenian songwriter Mazhak Toshikian and opera singer Boghos Yeghiazar.

The Minister greeted the guests, attached importance to the songwriter’s contribution to the preservation of Armenian songs and the dissemination of Armenian culture in the Diaspora and asked about the talented songwriter’s new plans and ideas.

Mazhak Toshikian expressed gratitude for the kind words and stated that he is working on a new musical composition based on Gevorg Emin’s poem “Parets Sasoon” (Sasun Danced), which he plans on choreographing in Turkey after presenting it in Armenia. “I want to make Armenian songs and dances popular in Turkey at the academic level,” the songwriter added.

Talented Istanbul-Armenian songwriter Mazhak Toshikian was awarded with the Gold Commemorative Medal of the Ministry of Diaspora for his services provided to Armenia and the Diaspora and for his notable contributions to the preservation of the Armenian identity.

Consultation held at RA Ministry of Diaspora

On October 2, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan held a consultation with Deputy Ministers Serzh Srapionyan and Vahagn Melikyan and the heads of departments and divisions at the RA Ministry of Diaspora.

The heads of departments and divisions presented the completed activities, recapped the results of the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference, pinpointed the upcoming programs and events and made new proposals.

The Minister congratulated the staff on the 9th anniversary of the Ministry of Diaspora and particularly stated the following: “First and foremost, I would like to express gratitude to the President of the Republic of Armenia by whose decree the Ministry was established and by whose decree we managed to celebrate the 9th anniversary with honor. I thank you all.”

The Minister attached importance to proper organizing and wide coverage of the upcoming events.

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

Armine Minasian: “This visit to the Homeland is fruitful since I am participating in the conference and will be presenting my books in autumnal Yerevan”

During the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility” at Karen Demirtchyan Sport and Concert Complex in Yerevan, Armenian intellectuals, national, cultural and political figures from around the world gave speeches in which they discussed various issues devoted to Armenia’s development, the current foreign challenges facing Armenia, further development of the Armenia-Diaspora partnership, enhancement of the collective potential of the nation and army, the role of culture in the preservation of the Armenian identity, the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the economic cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora and other issues. Out of the participants, I managed to interview member of the ARS in New Julfa, member (later chairwoman) of Hamazkayin Armenian Education and Cultural Society, journalist, pedagogue, famous makeup artist in the USA, poet and wonderful intellectual Armine Minasian, who is Iranian-Armenian and lives in New York and is preparing to present her two books “On the Paths of My Homeland” and “Paths of Love” in Armenia. The interview was for Hayern Aysor.

Karine Avagyan: Armine, you are on the paths to the homeland once again. This is the title of your book of poems. Let’s start our conversation with your impressions of and expectations from the conference.

Armine Minasian: I am very glad that this conference was organized. What I am most concerned about is the preservation of Armenian culture in the Diaspora and the current state of young Armenians in the Diaspora. The new generation does not participate in many national and cultural events since the young people don’t want to become engaged in any organization. The role of the Armenian Church and organizations is very important abroad because Armenians can’t preserve culture alone. If you don’t join an organization, you can’t carry out acts for national preservation. I also expect to see the paths for solutions to these issues. The topic of my speech is related to preservation of the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, linguistic issues and culture…I am also concerned about the numerous signs and billboards written in English in Armenia and the titles of English-language TV shows aired on Armenian TV channels. Armenians in Armenia and in the Diaspora need to preserve the Armenian language and maintain its purity. Throughout my life, the most important thing has been to serve for Armenian language and literature and the Homeland. This visit to the Homeland is fruitful since I am participating in the conference and will be presenting my books in the autumnal Yerevan.

Karine Avagyan: During our first interview for Hayern Aysor, we mainly discussed your career, your community service for Hamazkayin and primarily the career of your father, famous Iranian-Armenian bibliographer, meritorious scientific worker of the repository of the Holy Savior Monastery of New Julfa, teacher, writer and painter Levon Minasian. Today I would like to place emphasis on the topics of your two books. Please, tell us what made you write these books.

Armine Minasian: Recently, before the conference, other members of the ARS and I paid a visit to Artsakh to participate in the opening of a Soseh Kindergarten in Stepanakert. On the way to Stepanakert, I would admire the wheat fields and the unmatched views of the nature, and that is exactly when I wrote the poem featured on the first page of my book. Those wheat fields reminded me of the wheat fields in my native Khoygyan village of Peria and the sparrows picking at the wheat grains.

Karine Avagyan: How long did it take you to write the book?

Armine Minasian: The book features not only old poems, but also new poems devoted to patriotism. I compiled all of them in one book. They are poems devoted to the journey to the Homeland and poems that express my love for my Homeland. The book is edited by Director of the Museum of Art and Literature Karo Vardanyan. One of the authors of the preface is writer, publicist Grigor Janikyan, and the preface of my other book entitled “Paths of Love” is by literary critic Felix Bakhchinyan.

Karine Avagyan: You preferred to hold the first presentation of your books in the Homeland. What about New York?

Armine Minasian: Yes, I preferred to present them in my Homeland first. It is a pride for me. I might also hold a presentation in New York. Next year, I plan on integrating my articles published in various newspapers devoted to our community’s activities.

Karine Avagyan: Armine, you are also busy with community service. Tell us about that.

Armine Minasian: I perform the job with pleasure. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society New York Chapter. All proceeds from the anniversary events ($15,000) went to the border guards of Artsakh in order to procure medical equipment that will suspend the flow of blood (3,000 devices have been allocated to soldiers). However, as co-founder of Artsakh’s Fund for Wounded Soldiers Razmik Arzumanyan said, it is necessary to do more, and this effort needs to be ongoing. Dr. Hrant Margaryan and his wife, Janet Margaryan went to Artsakh and transferred the equipment. With this, the ARS responded to the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement launched by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. During one of the events of the ARS, Dr. Hrant Margaryan said the following: “There is one major objective for all Armenians today, and that is Artsakh. Artsakh is the guarantee of a bright future for the Armenian nation.” Indeed, we must look towards Armenia and Artsakh. The welfare of the Homeland is our welfare.

Karine Avagyan: Thank you, dear Armine. May God help you carry out all of your patriotic acts! May all your books be devoted to the Homeland, be in the language of the Homeland and in the colors of the Homeland!

 Karine Avagyan

 

 

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