Czech MPs visit Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex

On October 4, the delegation led by President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Milan Stech visited Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex along with Chairman of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Vardan Bostanjyan.

The guests laid flowers near the eternal flame and respected the memory of the Holy Martyrs with a moment of silence. They also visited the Armenia Genocide Museum-Institute where they were introduced to the documents certifying the Armenian Genocide.

President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Milan Stech left a note in the registry.

Milan Stech stated that the Armenian nation has suffered many losses in the past and added that here, at Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex are the stories of the souls of numerous Armenians. “I wish Armenia never sees such a tragedy or genocide and is never pressured. The Armenians are a very friendly nation and deserve an independent and peaceful life,” the President of the Senate of the Czech Parliament said.

Arshak Poladyan releases book dedicated to 25th anniversary of establishment of Armenian-Syrian relations

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Syria, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Syria, Doctor of Historical Sciences Arshak Poladyan has released his book “Armenian-Syrian Relations: Historic Partnership” in Damascus. As reported the Department of Press, Information and Public Relations at the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Poladyan’s book sheds light on the Armenian-Syrian relations starting from the era of Tigran the Great (1st century BC). The book shows that, alongside the other factors, what also highly contributed to the spread of Armenians across historic Syria was the pilgrimage to Jerusalem where the Armenian community had started being formed back in the 4th century BC and later contributed to the formation of Armenian communities in the region and the growth of the role of Armenians in trade, economy, culture and religious life in Syria.

What served as an impetus for the participation of Armenians in the public and cultural life in historic Syria was the inclusion of Armenia within the composition of the Arab Khalifate in 640. This lasted nearly 250 years. Later, it continued to grow stronger during the rule of the Ottoman Turks when Armenia and historic Syria had been within the composition of the Ottoman Empire for more than four centuries. The author particularly emphasizes the participation of Arab-speaking Armenians in the Arab awakening (Nahda).

What had an essential impact on the spread of the Armenians in Syria were the massive assaults and repressions against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the 1890s. As the author writes, the Armenian community of Syria expanded more quantitatively and turned into a community in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. Dr. Poladyan highly appreciates the manifestations of generosity towards the Armenian deportees in the first half of the 20th century.

Touching upon the history of the Armenian community of Syria following the genocide, the author states that throughout more than a century, the Armenians, as full-fledged citizens of Syria, have participated in the country’s struggle for independence and in the development and construction of the army of the newly independent Syria. This is why the Armenians have always been respected and appreciated by the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic as a national and religious minority. Such an attitude of the Syrian government towards the Armenians served as fertile ground for the effective development of the official relations between Armenia and Syria following Armenia’s declaration of independence in 1991. Whereas Armenian-Syrian relations were mainly at the level of mutual contacts between the two nations in the past, the active interstate contacts between the Republic of Armenia and the Syrian Arab Republic began after the signing of the memorandum on the establishment of diplomatic relations on 6 March 1992, the author states.

Deputy of the People’s Council of Syria, renowned Syrian intellectual, recipient of the Medal of Gratitude, owner of Dar Al-Shark Publishing House and great friend of the Armenian nation Nabil Toome is attached to the book, which has been released with a beautiful cover.

Ambassador Arshak Poladyan’s book is also valuable in that the author has witnessed the origin of the diplomatic relations of Armenia with Syria and with the Arab World by being a part of Armenia’s diplomats for nearly a quarter of a century and by holding the office of Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Syria since 2007. He has witnessed and participated in all the major event s related to the relations between the two countries over the past 25 years. Thus, the book is not only of historical value, but also of documental value.

Armenia to celebrate Sparapet (Commander) Day for the first time ever

On October 7, Armenia will celebrate Sparapet (Commander) Day for the first time ever. The Youth Foundation of Armenia reports that several events will be held as part of the celebration to be held in Khndzoresk.

In particular, the event will be launched with performances by dhol and zurna players who will be standing along the length of the hanging bridge in Khndzoresk. The cadets of Khanperyants Military Aviation University and Sargsyan Military University will participate in and lead a march to the tomb of Mkhitar Sparapet (Commander Mkhitar) where they will make a military pledge and lay a wreath as a sign of respect.

The event will feature performances by Gagik Ginosyan’s Karin Armenian Traditional Song and Dance Ensemble. The members of the ensemble will teach Armenian military dances (kochari, yarkhushta, ververi) for those who wish to learn. A choir will perform psalms in the premises of St. Hripsime Armenian Church, and there will be an archery tournament.

Throughout the day, the attendees will be able to purchase eco-friendly and traditional dishes, pastries and drinks made by the local villagers. They will also witness performances by Arsen Grigoryan’s (Mro) ethnographic song ensemble, which will engage the attendees and turn the performance into a genuine national celebration.

The series of events will end with a gala concert that will feature performances by Shushan Petrosyan, the State Dance Ensemble, Gagik Ginosyan’s Karin Armenian Traditional Song and Dance Ensemble, Arsen Grigoryan (Mro) and the special military orchestra of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. There will also be screenings of films made for the gala concert. The celebration will end with a fireworks display.

Turkish figure says there are 37,055 crypto-Armenians in Turkey today

Gyoksel Gyulbey, president of the Turkish ASİMDER , which is known for its efforts against recognition of the Armenian Genocide and anti-Armenian moods, has touched upon the issue of crypto-Armenians residing in Turkey.

According to Ermenihaber, Gyulbey has stated that the Armenians who didn’t wish to leave their homes during “the displacement of the Armenians” (meaning the Armenian Genocide) were hidden under the names of Kurds, Alevis and Turks and that crypto-Armenians make up a large number in Turkey. As evidence, the Turkish figure also reminded the statement of former Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Aram Ateshian, according to whom Armenians make up 90 percent of the population of Tunceli.

According to the president of ASİMDER, based on various studies and estimates, there are currently 37,055 crypto-Armenian families living in Turkey.

“Thus, 1,000 Armenian families of Diyarbakir live under the name of Kurds, Assyrians or Alevis, while 3,655 – in Malatia, 1,000 – in Elazig, 2,000 – in Tunceli, 1,200 – in Siirt, 1,300 – in Yerznka (Erzinjan in Turkish), 2,000 in Sebastia (Sivas in Turkish) and 3,000 Armenian families in Kahramanmaras present themselves as Kurds or Alevis.

In Kesaria, there are 5,000 Armenian families who hide themselves as Turks; 4,000 in Van and 1,600 in Adiyaman are hidden as Kurds; 3,000 families in Shanliurfa present themselves as Arabs or Kurds; 1,500 Armenian families in Mardin present themselves as Arabs; 2,000 Armenian families in Adana are hidden as Kurds, Arabs or Alevis,” Gyulbey declared.

According to the anti-Armenian Turkish figure, there are many Armenians among the members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish and oppositional Democratic Party of Nations (HDP) and the Kurdish Labor Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization in Turkey.

Gyulbey also stated that his organization is following the crypto-Armenians very closely and wants state organizations to take relevant measures to identify and control them.

Third kindergarten in Berd city of Tavush Province capitally renovated and furnished through FAR

Today marked the official opening of the third kindergarten in the city of Berd of Tavush Province. Among the attendees were Director of Fund for Armenia Relief (FAR) Armenia Bagrat Sargsyan; Pastor of Berd, Fr. Priest Aram Mirzoyan and Mayor of Berd Harutyun Manucharyan, reported the news service of the FAR.

“This is a beautiful gift for our children and the entire personnel of the kindergarten since we were all waiting impatiently for this day to come,” director of the kindergarten Lusine Avalyan said as she expressed her gratitude to benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Mardigians and the leadership of the FAR.

The building of the third kindergarten in Berd, which had been in a poor condition for over 35 years, has been capitally renovated and partially furnished through the FAR and within the scope of the Overcoming Poverty in the Tavush Region Project.

The children’s rooms, diner and kitchen have been renovated and improved, the floor, doors, windows, administration section and other rooms have been completely changed during the nearly four-month construction. The kindergarten has been replenished with new equipment and has been partially furnished.

The FAR Overcoming Poverty in Tavush Region Project (OPTR) was launched in 2013, focusing highly on the educational, healthcare, social and economic development in the 16 communities of the Berd region of Tavush Province. The support and sponsor of the project is the Mardigian Family Foundation.

RA Ministry of Diaspora recaps 2017 “Ari Tun” Program

On October 4, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan chaired a consultation to recap the 2017 “Ari Tun” Progrm for homeland recognition at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. Among the participants of the consultation were Deputy Minister Serzh Srapionyan, Chief of Staff Firdus Zakaryan, Advisor to the Minister Stepan Petrosyan, Director of the “Homeland-Diaspora Center” SNCO Davit Shahbazyan and the heads of departments and divisions of the Ministry.

Issues related to the conduct of the 2017 “Ari Tun” Program were discussed and the issues arisen during all eight stages of the program were identified. Head of the Department of All-Armenian Programs Gagik Gyanjumyan presented the brief statistics regarding the participants, and the heads of subdivisions according to regions touched upon the participation of their respective regions.

Summing up the results of the consultation, Minister Hranush Hakobyan emphasized the importance of the program in terms of connecting young Diaspora Armenians to the homeland. She also attached importance to more effective organization of the Accelerated Armenian Language Course and the camping event and the participation of host families in the program. Touching upon the problems, the Minister pinpointed the paths for solutions to those problems.

At the end, the Minister gave assignments.

In 2017, the “Ari Tun” Program hosted 1,047 young Diaspora Armenians from 36 countries.

Diaspora Minister receives Armenian Trade Network Executive Board Chairman Hrach Gaspar and board member Vahram Pirjanian

On October 4, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received Chairman of the Executive Board of the Armenian Trade Network (ATN) Hrach Gaspar and board member Vahram Pirjanian.

Greeting the guests, Minister Hranush Hakobyan congratulated Hrach Gaspar on being elected chairman of the ATN Executive Board, wished him a prolific and fruitful service and voiced hope that he would make great contributions to the consolidation of those with potential, the creation of new chambers of commerce and industry in different countries and the engagement of those chambers in the efforts of the ATN.

The Minister expressed her satisfaction with the effective cooperation and highly appreciated the proper organizing of the 3rd ATN Business Forum held under the heading “Issues on the Development of Armenia” during the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference on 19 September. The Minister voiced hope that the organization’s active efforts would help Diaspora Armenian businessmen become more unified and make more investments in Armenia.

During the meeting, the sides touched upon the issues raised during the conference, that is, the issues related to Armenia’s economic development and the opportunities for promoting investments.

The actions to be taken for enlargement of the Armenian Trade Network, organizational issues and the mechanisms for engaging the existing chapters of various countries in the Network were discussed during the meeting.

The guests expressed gratitude for the cordial reception and stated that the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference served its goal and that the organizing of the 3rd ATN Business Forum during the conference conveyed special resonance to the event.

RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan receives group of Brazilian journalists

On October 4, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received a group of Brazilian journalists, including Vagner Caldeira, Ricardo Carvalo, Juliana Albukrek and Tatian Boffi.

The Minister cordially greeted the guests and expressed gratitude for visiting Armenia to provide coverage of the events dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in 2015 and for properly presenting the events in Brazil. The Minister of Diaspora highly appreciated the Brazilian government’s generous attitude towards the Armenian community and expressed her gratitude for the opportunities that the government has provided to the Armenians to integrate, grow, participate in the development of Brazil and establish Armenian structures and organizations.

Vagner Caldeira expressed gratitude for the cordial reception and stated that he and the journalists are visiting Armenia for the second time to write a book devoted to the notable Burmayan family of businessmen. “I think our visit in 2015 was effective since we made our small contribution to the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and the elimination of the consequences by disseminating objective information,” the Brazilian journalist stated.

The journalists asked about the activities of the Ministry of Diaspora, the programs under implementation, as well as the methods and directions through which the Ministry is able to enhance the Armenia-Diaspora partnership.

The Minister talked about the activities that are carried out with the Armenian communities established in 118 countries and stated that migration processes are raising a wave in the world, every 34th resident of which is a migrant, while 70,000,000 people in Europe and 86,000,00 in the United States of America don’t live in their respective homelands. The Minister mentioned that the Armenian Diaspora was primarily formed in the wake of the Armenian Genocide and that the outflow of Armenians from the Middle East and Armenia has helped preserve the communities on the verge of assimilation.

The Minister touched upon the strategic directions for the partnership between Armenia and the Diaspora and attached importance to the efforts for preservation of the Armenian identity, particularly the Ministry’s programs and initiatives aimed at helping young Diaspora Armenians get to know the homeland and communicating Armenian culture to them. The Minister mentioned that there are over 600 Armenian cultural centers and hundreds of choirs, dance groups, theater clubs and youth organizations around the world.

Hranush Hakobyan presented the pan-Armenian issues that consolidate Armenians and touched upon popular diplomacy, as well as the Armenians making contributions to world civilization and their pro-national efforts.

The sides touched upon the problems and achievements of the Armenian community of Brazil and attached importance to the role of the Burmayan family in organizing the community, preserving the Armenian identity and solving the problems of the community.

The Minister highly appreciated the efforts of Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Brazil Hilda-Tiruhi Burmayan and her late husband, Varujan Burmayan aimed at contributing to the homeland’s development, strengthening Armenian-Brazilian ties and consolidating the Armenians of Brazil, as well as the programs that they have carried out. “It is not by chance that Hilda-Tiruhi Burmayan has been awarded with the Movses  Khorenatsi Medal and the Commemorative Gold Medal of the Ministry of Diaspora,” the Minister of Diaspora stated and added the following: “I have been to Brazil three times and am extremely impressed. You Brazilians are as sentimental and hot-tempered as the Armenians. What attracted me was your architecture, music, dance and the unique multicultural atmosphere. I take pride in the fact that the Armenian community of Sao Paulo is consolidated around the Burmayans and that it is very dedicated to solving the issues of the community. This wonderful family is a family we Armenians can rely on in Brazil, and Varujan Burmayan has become a legend in terms of benevolence. I think their pro-national activities deserve to be documented, and I hope your book is released soon.”

At the end, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan addressed the Armenian community of Brazil with a video message.

Khatchig Dedeian: “The book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World” is a major documental source devoted to the Diaspora”

The 650-page book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World”, which was recently released by Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan, is more than an encyclopedia; it is a study of the issues of the Armenian Diaspora, a documental source that presents the development of the Armenian identity and Armenian political thought and serves as a tremendous database of data and statistics. It is the book by a skillful expert who is well aware of the changing and multi-layered Diaspora, its history, evolution, struggle, intricate issues and inner nuances up close. It is a book in which the complete and documented data are the fruit of unwavering efforts for compilation and a book that shows that the Minister of Diaspora knows “her flock” up close.

Hakobyan fairly puts her finger on the wound when she states that the Armenian Diaspora is gradually losing its identity and is rapidly assimilating amid globalization and the changing world, and so the key objective and the major challenge of the Diaspora is preservation of the Armenian identity. The author goes on to say that there is a need for radical review and reorganization of community life in the Diaspora. The main focus of the Minister is the major role that the Diaspora plays in the empowerment of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the survival and eternity of the Diaspora.

The author presents a tremendous field of partnership with Diaspora Armenian organizations, pinpointing the fields in which Armenia’s relevant organizations can make their contributions, including Armenology, journalism, media, museums, higher education, Genocide studies and more.

Amid the numerous difficulties facing the Diaspora, Armenian organizations can and are obliged to support and benefit from the great experience of Armenian communities, community organizations and individuals in the Diaspora and their tremendous potential with the perspective of empowering Armenia and collaborating with other countries and international structures and organizations.

The need for development of the multilateral relations with the Armenian Diaspora (enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia), the policy on preservation of the Armenian identity and partnership in the cultural, education, linguistic and other sectors is not only commendable, but also a requirement that implies commitment. Based on the needs of the Diaspora, the serious strategy developed for achievement of that goal can strengthen and raise the level of confidence between Armenia and the Diaspora. The support needs to be in two directions.

The Minister’s position is clear when she touches upon the difficulties and shortcomings of Armenian communities in the Diaspora. She pinpoints phenomena and makes recommendations, but does not go deep into the reasons and does not seek those who are responsible.

The author rightfully pinpoints the bitter and dire consequences that the Armenian Genocide left for the Diaspora Armenians having been deprived of their rights and having experienced the Genocide. The author also considers the importance of keeping the past and collective memory alive as a precondition for the system of national values for the new generations to preserve their Armenian identity. The struggle for claims, which Armenia’s state officials avoid and use the word-combination “elimination of consequences” instead, is one of the major impulses for the unity of the Armenian people, yet not the only one. “The Centennial of the Armenian Genocide served as the best opportunity to keep the collective and historical memory alive and transmit it to the new generations as a covenant and a contribution,” Mrs. Hakobyan affirms.

The book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World” comprehensively considers the historical and cultural values of the Diaspora, the issues of property and heritage of Armenian organizations and individuals, suggests becoming more involved in those issues and being zealous in order to make sure the wills of individuals and others are not appropriated by foreigners. Mrs. Hakobyan asks the following question: Who are the rightful owners of these wills? Who is the nation-successor, if not the national government – the Republic of Armenia? She also suggests recording national heritage and even the return of that heritage to the native land. This issue and the proposed approach are in need of serious consideration, taking into account their nuances.

Mrs. Hakobyan thoroughly considers the key components of the identity of an Armenian (the mother language, Armenian culture and scholastics, the church, family, morals and customs and historical memory) and stresses the relationship with the homeland and the power of the land for protection and preservation of the identity of Diaspora Armenians. The author is right when she draws parallels between the decline of the Western Armenian language and the risk of losing Eastern Armenian or the distortion of the language in the homeland – a phenomenon that binds the government of Armenia to mobilize all of its levers for the salvation of the two ramifications of the mother language. Unfortunately, the author has not pinpointed the issue of a unified orthography and the need to undertake that initiative that is so vital and can strengthen the unity of the two sectors of the Armenian nation.

At the same time, the author conducts an in-depth analysis on the place and role of the Armenian family, the major commitment of Armenian culture to preservation of the Armenian identity as a bridge between the past, present and future and the need to give Armenian names to Armenian children in order to help the child preserve his or her Armenian identity. She touches upon the decline in the number of Armenian-speaking Armenians, mixed marriages, the growth of the number of Armenian students attending foreign schools, the risk of that and the ineffective operation of national organizations in certain places. She stresses the cooperation of the three Armenian ecclesiastical structures in the spheres of culture, education, language and other spheres for preservation of the national image within the communities of the Diaspora.

The issues and considered topics are multilayered and feature the author’s emphases, as well as scientific, methodological and analytical approaches-something that makes the book more than complete and saturated. I have to admit that any attempt to analyze or present the book will be doomed to failure. Yours truly realized the difficulty of that attempt in advance.

Mrs. Hakobyan pinpoints the various spheres in which the potential of the Armenian Diaspora can be used to empower the homeland, the importance of that, the resources, the diverse layers of partnership between Armenia and the Diaspora, the necessity of that and compares the Greek, Jewish and Irish Diasporas, showing the experience they have, the use of lobby of the Diaspora for the empowerment of Armenia and Artsakh, and she sounds the alarm for the Armenian identity and gives a healthy diagnosis for reinforcement of the guarantees of the survival of Armenians.

Based on rich experience, her indications serve as a summary of the past and present of the Diaspora, including proposals for solutions that can be considered and also taken advantage of within the Armenian communities abroad. She has successfully classified the key issues and put the resources for the survival of the Diaspora into the spotlight.

In a special section, the author presents the tremendous financial investments and contributions that the Armenian Diaspora has made for the strengthening and prosperity of Armenia and Artsakh and the unforgettable role that that same Diaspora has played in the development of the homeland. The book recaps the picture of tremendous amount of investments made by Diaspora Armenian structures and individual – an effort that best expresses the size and volume of the assistance that has been provided over the past decades. The Armenian Diaspora plays a major role in nation-building. This book also affirms this truth, with its vast amount of data.

In the book, the author conducts an in-depth discussion on the issues of Armenian identity, the working style and activities of the Ministry of Diaspora,  the perspectives and future actions, the programs and fields promoting partnership with the Diaspora, the establishment of dual citizenship, the issue of forcefully Islamized Armenians, Turkey’s policy of denial and distortion of the Armenian Genocide, the blockade against Armenia, the inimical and offensive ambitions of Azerbaijan, the rising level of emigration, foreign and domestic challenges, the Armenia-Diaspora conferences and their important role from the perspective of the establishment of bridges and mutual understanding and the importance of the use of the entire potential of Armenians within communities and for the empowerment of Armenia and Artsakh as a key factor.

The book contains various statistics and the studies conducted by different individuals and organizations that make this book academically valuable and reliable. All the proposals and programs are the deep awareness of the issues and difficulties of Diaspora Armenians, as well as the experience. They are a combination of all the academic and scientific reports, analyses of lectures and conclusions that can be feasible in both the Diaspora and in any sphere of life of the Armenians.

The book “The Armenian Diaspora in the Changing World” is a great contribution to Diaspora studies, especially from the perspective of critical thinking. All this goes to show that, thanks to RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, we are dealing with a strong individual who has turned the Ministry into an institution with experience and a state mindset, and this book is the result of the past nine years of efforts and the vision. It deserves to be seriously studied in the Diaspora and especially in the homeland.

In closing, I would like for this weighty book to also be released in classical Armenian orthography and, why not, in Western Armenian.

KHATCHIG DEDEIAN

Head of Divan of Antelias

Suren Sherik: “The most important thing for me is the solution to issues raised and implementation of proposals made during the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference

Most of the participants of the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference are still in Armenia. Some of them are staying to participate in the events dedicated to the anniversary of Yerevan and to enjoy autumn in Yerevan. One of them, Dr. Suren Sherik from Alfortville, gave an interview to me, and I present it to Hayern Aysor’s readers.

Karine Avagyan: Welcome to the homeland! I know you had come to participate in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference. So, I would like to ask you to share your impressions.

Suren Sherik: I came to Armenia to not only participate in the conference, but also to enjoy the autumn in Yerevan and participate in the events dedicated to the city’s birthday. My wife, Margo and I usually visit Armenia every year, and we particularly select mid-September to early October because those months are the months of ‘golden’ autumn in Armenia. The conference was very well organized. A tremendous amount of work had been done, and for this I would like to express gratitude to the Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia and all the employees of the Ministry of Diaspora. For me, the most important thing is to solve the issues raised, consider the concerns and implement the proposals. It is necessary to take action. This is what I mainly expect from the conference. The important thing is the outcome.

Karine Avagyan: Mr. Sherik, do you think this conference will lead to any progress in Armenia’s development and further strengthening of bonds and cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora?

Suren Sherik: That is quite an interesting question. I will gladly and frankly answer that question because it is what I think about and is close to my heart. I don’t have great expectations from the conference. I only have hopes. I think it is necessary to stop giving speeches, take action, set certain time limits for the solutions to the issues raised and see the outcomes, as well as demand a list of the investments that are made. Of course, the conferences can’t help achieve immediate results.

Karine Avagyan: Regardless of the conference, as a patriotic Armenian, what do you think is important for Armenia’s development and the strengthening of bonds and cooperation between Armenia and the Diaspora at this moment?

Suren Sherik: I have an interesting question-are Armenia and the Diaspora really on the same path? I consider enhancement of closer collaboration between Armenia and the Diaspora a priority issue.

Karine Avagyan: Which of the speeches and several proposals was the closest to your heart?

Suren Sherik: I liked the speeches devoted to defense. I attach great importance to preservation of the Armenian identity, language and schools. It is necessary to have the top specialized Armenian language teachers in the Diaspora.

Karine Avagyan: Mr. Sherik, what is your profession and what do you currently do in France for the benefit of Armenians?

Suren Sherik: I am a chemical engineer by profession and am ranked an academician/doctor. I dropped out of the university and started pursuing a career in kauchuk production after specializing in the field. I was born in Istanbul. Forty years ago, my family and I migrated to France where I worked in the field of chemical science for 40 consecutive years, but I retired ten years ago and have been involved in cultural activities and community service ever since. I have prepared and continue to prepare series of shows on Radio AYB. My first series was entitled “The Old and the New”, followed by the series “What Do We Know?’. The third series was called “A Fable” during which I would present an Armenian fable, interpret it and elaborate on it. The fourth series was referred to as “Our Language”. For the past six months, I have been broadcasting another series entitled “Contemporary Western Armenian Literature”. These are all my shows.

Karine Avagyan: So, you prepare and host literary and artistic shows and recite poems, even though you are not a philologist or linguist. How is it that you have that gift?

Suren Sherik: I was obsessed with math and loved the exact sciences in school, but at the same time, I was in the world of literature with soul. I would always hold math books and a fiction book in my hand.

Karine Avagyan: The anniversary of Yerevan is just around the corner. What would you wish our old and eternal, yet young and rosy capital city that is about to mark its 3,000th anniversary?

Suren Sherik: I wish that the city looks nicer and cleaner and that urban development becomes close to what Tamanyan was dreaming about. I wish that the panorama of the city doesn’t change through the construction of in-style structures and buildings that show no features of conventional Armenian architecture and are no surprise for visiting tourists. May Yerevan be eternal!

Interview by Karine Avagyan

Armenian Sunday school of Almaty marking first anniversary

On October 1, 2016, the Armenian Sunday school of Almaty launched its activities through the efforts of President of Masis Armenian Organization of the Union of Armenians of Kazakhstan Ernest Varderesyan in the cozy building of Amure Concert/Entertainment Complex in Almaty. It seems as though one year is not enough to have your own style and to shape “history”, but in spite of that, in a short amount of time, the school in Almaty has not only managed to gather Armenian children, but has also become a unique center for the development and dissemination of Armenian culture and a center that organizes cultural events and celebrates the national holidays of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Armenia with splendor.

As reported Hayern Aysor, this year, at the initiative of Lusine Shahverdyan who, according to Varderesyan is a patriot and a person who is truly devoted to her job, hosted a summer school program. Currently, Lusine and the leadership of Masis Armenian Organization are planning on establishing a school/center for Armenian language teachers in Almaty and other drawing up other plans.

Those who know President of Masis Armenian Organization of the Union of Armenians of Kazakhstan Ernest Varderesyan and the members of the Organization’s executive board (Radik Mnatsakanyan, Sahak Salumyan, Rima Tsakanyan and Lusine Shahverdyan) are certain that all of their programs and projects are implemented soon enough.

We also congratulate the Armenians of Almaty on the first anniversary of the Armenian Sunday school and wish more success for the welfare of the Armenians.

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: “The ARS is there where there is a need for help”

Since 1910, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) has been one of the major organizations carrying out humanitarian programs. The social, healthcare, educational and other sector-specific programs of the ARS truly deserve appraisal.

The UK Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society is one of the torchbearers of that idea. In an interview with Hayern Aysor, the chairwoman Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan presents ARS UK’s activities and initiatives. Let us also mention that the ARS UK Chapter will be celebrating its 35th anniversary on October 7.

Hayern Aysor: Mrs. Martirosyan, what is the purpose of your visit to Armenia this time?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: I am here on a very important mission. Along with the representatives of the 17 Chapters of the ARS, I participated in the opening ceremony of the ARS Soseh Kindergarten in Stepanakert attended by President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan; Primate of the Artsakh Diocese, His Grace, Fr. Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan; Chairwoman of the ARS Central Committee Carolyn Shmavonian and other guests. The ARS Western USA Chapter also showed its direct participation in the construction of the kindergarten.

After the ceremony, we visited military units of Artsakh to meet with the brave soldiers to encourage and show them the tenderness of a mother. Seeing the boys’ patriotism and unbreakable spirit, I got very emotional and would constantly hug and talk to them. Later, my fellow members of the ARS and I visited the office of ARS Javakhk and toured Tbilisi.

Hayern Aysor: Was this your first time in Artsakh?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: Yes, and I am impressed by the cleanness in Stepanakert, the beautiful nature of Artsakh and the warmth and sincerity of the people. We visited all the historic and cultural sites, and I loved them. During our visits to churches, we lit candles for our soldiers to serve in peace.

Hayern Aysor: The support to Syrian-Armenians in dire situations caused by the Syrian war had become a primary issue of concern for pan-Armenian organizations. What did ARS UK do?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: In general, the ARS has shown active participation in the solution to the issues facing Syrian-Armenians through the provision of various kinds of assistance. As far as ARS UK is concerned, I must say that we have supported Syrian-Armenians who have settled in the UK. If necessary, the assistance will be ongoing.

The ARS is not limited to helping only the Armenians. We are there where there is a need for our support.

Hayern Aysor: I am aware that you participated in the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility”. Please, share your impressions.

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: First of all, it was a great pleasure to be in Armenia again and interact with Armenians from Armenia and the Diaspora. This was the third time I was participating in the Armenia-Diaspora Conference organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. I noticed that there were more participants this time. In terms of organization, everything was literately organized, starting from the young people’s volunteer work.

I think it was an effective conference. The only thing is that the issues raised and the proposals made need to be solved and implemented for the welfare of Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.

The speech by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan during the plenary session was very influential. She meticulously presented our future actions and the paths for partnership. I am impressed by the meeting with Armenian Member of the Turkish Parliament Garo Pailan and the speech by Executive Director of the Development Foundation of Armenia Armen Avak Avakian devoted to the current strategy on Armenia’s economy, the areas for reforms, the great potential for development and the shaping of a new image of the country. Basically, I think my participation was very important.

Hayern Aysor: Mrs. Martirosyan, please, answer my last question. What is the Armenia of your dreams?

Janet Martirosyan-Khachatryan: Armenia has all the preconditions for development and advancement. If we Armenians use our potential the right way, we can build our country through combined efforts. The Armenia of my dreams is an Armenia with a people who live the good life and with equal rights.

Interview by Gevorg Chichyan

The Armenian communities of the Diaspora serve as a bridge between the homeland and the countries that have hosted them

On October 3, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians received a group of pilgrims from Bulgaria at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The group was accompanied by Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Bulgaria, Rev. Fr. Archimandrite Isahak Poghosyan and President of AGBU Armenia Vasken Yacoubian. Among the members of the group were national figures, artists and Members of Parliament who are also in Armenia to participate in the exhibition of famous Bulgarian-Armenian painter Petik Petrosyan organized under the auspices of the Catholicos of All Armenians and through the combined efforts of the National Galleries of Sofia and Armenia, reported the Information System of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to Hayern Aysor.

During the meeting, the Supreme Patriarch recalled his pontifical visit to Bulgaria, emphasizing the fact that he had witnessed how the Armenians of Bulgaria are religiously active and their aspiration to consolidate around the Armenian Church and live with national values. With a feeling of satisfaction, His Holiness also stated that the Armenians of Bulgaria have been around in Bulgaria for a long time and have always participated in the country’s development and advancement with their potential.

His Holiness stated that the Armenian communities of the Diaspora serve as a major bridge for the establishment of close and friendly relations between Armenia and the countries that have hosted them.

Touching upon the exhibition showcasing the paintings by the late Petik Petrosyan, His Holiness expressed his appreciation to all the organizers, stressing the fact that the conduct of such cultural events only helps the two nations get to know each other.

The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed confidence that such visits also serve as an impetus for revitalization of church life and for further strengthening of Armenian-Bulgarian relations.

Among the attendees of the meeting was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of Armenia, Mrs. Maria Tsotsorkova-Kaymakchiyeva.

Akhaltskha hosts Science and Innovation International Festival-2017

On October 2, the amphitheater of Rabat Fortress in Akhaltskha hosted Science and Innovation International Festival-2017. Students of the Universities of Samtskhe-Javakhk and Telavi and representatives of different centers showed interesting experiments and interactive inventions. The festival began with the “Entertaining Science” exhibition, which was mainly targeted at school-age children.

“We are conducting physical and chemical experiments,” student of Telavi State University Mako Molishishvili said.

“We are participating in this festival for the first time. Such encounters are very important for everyone. We are conducting an analysis on how it is possible to differentiate between damaged and undamaged grains of bread. People of all ages are interested,” says one of the students of Samtskhe-Javakhk State University, according to akhaltskha.net.

Visitors could witness the process of conducting a criminal expert examination in one of the tents set up by Samtskhe-Javakhk State University.

This year marks the third year that the Science and Innovation Festival is being held in Georgia and organized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Unlike previous years, this year, the festival is being held in all the major cities of Georgia.

The festival was launched on September 24 and will end on October 8.

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