AGBU Musical Armenia Program (MAP), the newest of AGBU’s summer youth programs, celebrated its third birthday this summer. The third season of the program brought 12 talented Diaspora-Armenian musicians from the USA, Canada, Cyprus, Great Britain, Syria, Russia and Uruguay. The three-week program included individual master classes given by the most renowned professionals, lectures by well-known professors, various cultural events and sightseeing. At the end of the program participants also performed during their own Gala Concert. Since its establishment, the Musical Armenia Program has hosted 30 talented Diaspora-Ar-menians some of whom have stayed on after the program or have returned to live and work in the Homeland. The 3rd Musical Armenia Program took place between July 14-August 4. This year’s participants played the violin, viola, kanon, flute, guitar, piano and vocals. Joint classes and individual master classes were given by such renowned artists as Armen Tutunjyan, Hakob Jaghatspanyan, Lilit Pipoyan, Tsovinar Hovhannisyan, Mher Navoyan, Bagrat Vardanyan, Alexander Kosem-yan, Arthur Shahnazaryan, Tovmas Poghosyan, Lusine Grigoryan, Arusyak Sahakyan, Aram Hovhannisyan, Arman Abrahamyan and Hayk Arsenyan. “This program is a real discovery. I have working with AGBU as part of this program for three years and have had the opportunity to meet many talented Armenian musicians. Some of them really need help and guidance, others are already established musicians, yet they participate in order to get that truly unique experience of learning Armenian music in Armenia. I am glad to be a part of this wonderful program. Culture is the best way to connect Diaspora-Armenian youth and the Homeland, as there is so much love in culture. Only art can bring people together and I truly get attached to each and every one of my students” said violinist Bagrat Vardanyan, pro-fessor at Yerevan State Conservatory. For three continuing weeks, participants of the program became a part of the cultural landscape of the Homeland. They attended concerts, met renowned musicians and artists, performed with their talented peers, participated in various events and went sightseeing. Program participants study in various conservatories and musical institutions around the world; however the best place to learn Armenian music is naturally Armenia.








Nestled in the picturesque hills of Lori, the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp opened its doors for the 7th consecutive year to 220 scouts from Lebanon, Syria, Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria and Armenia. Archbishop Sepouh Chuljyan, Primate of the Gugark Diocese, addressed the Scouts during the opening ceremony, “We should reflect and refresh our memories. In order to have a safe and secure present we must always look to the past. The scouts’ accomplishments, thanks to AGBU’s support, are what our forefathers wished but were tragically unable to realize. Our generation owes a debt of gratitude to the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. They longed to see this country, live and work here, but, unfortunately, they could not. Today, you, their grandchildren and great-grand-children are standing here instead of them.” A typical day for the scouts started with morning exercises and a flag-raising ceremony, followed by breakfast, cleaning of the tent and the surrounding area, hikes, lectures and games. In the evenings the scouts enjoyed their supper, singing and dancing around to the campfire and concluded the day with the flag-lowering ceremony. In addition to their regular, daily activities, the scouts also went sightseeing and visited various AGBU programs carried out in Armenia. “The AGBU Scout Camp, as well as the rest of AGBU’s youth programs, are not isolated projects. They, as a group, serve to enhance the experience of Armenia. The participants learn the principles of scouting and the overall atmosphere of the camp and their activities strengthens their ties to the Homeland”, mentioned AGBU Interim Director Hovig Eordekian. The annual gathering is a unique opportunity for Diaspora-Armenian youth to see their Homeland, its historical museums and places of interest, as well as connect with their peers from around the world. Unforgettable days spent under the open skies and the everyday challenges they face and overcome together serves to strengthen them as individuals and Scouts. They also put these experiences, strength and discipline toward volunteer community projects. During the program, scouts also visited Etchmiadzin, Geghard, Sevan, Haghpat, Goshavank and Lake Gosh, Tsitsernakabert and Matenadaran. Visits to AGBU Yerevan Office and AGBU Armenian Virtual College, as well as AGBU and Mother Holy See of Etchmiadzin Children’s Center were also organized. RA Minister of Diaspora Hranoush Hakobyan hosted the scouts at the RA Ministry of Diaspora. “We applaud the Armenian General Benevolent Union for coordinating this activity, as the youth living in the Diaspora should not only hear about the Homeland from abroad, they should visit and feel it for themselves. These projects are of great importance for establishing ties between the Diaspora youth and the Homeland. This is the most important thing for preserving their identity, keeping them closer to their roots and Homeland”,said the minister. Despite the similarities of the program, every year Antranik makes changes to their activities to ensure an interesting and unforgettable camp experience. Such an experience was offered to scouts this year in Gyumri, where they had the unique opportunity to be present at the ‘Kohar’ Ensemble rehearsals. An impressive day was spent at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, where the scouts met students and staff and saw the many innovative activities that the center carries out. At TUMO all volunteers have the unique opportunity to find something that they are interested in ranging from computer games, animation and computer graphics, music, robotics to web design. On July 15th, keeping his promise, the Mayor of Lori Artur Nalbandyan, visited the AGBU Antranik Scout Camp and spent several wonderful hours with the scouts. On July 20th, the camp was full to the brim, for the Scout Camp’s first session fire ceremony. As well as the scouts, the ceremony was attended by the AGBU Yerevan Summer Internship Program (YSIP) and Musical Armenia Program (MAP) participants, AGBU members and friends, Interim Director Hovig Eordekian, many parents and guests. The AGBU Yerevan Scouts brass band once again performed brilliantly during the ceremony. This was a great opportunity for Diaspora-Armenian youth from various countries and backgrounds to get to know each other and spend another memorable day in the Homeland. Arsen Antonyan, a member of the scout movement, now serving in the army in Artsakh was recently awarded the “Most Valued Soldier” award in his unit and received five-days off, which he, without hesitation, decided to spend at his favourite AGBU Antranik Scout Camp. 100 scouts from AGBU Armenia scout group participated in the second session of the scout camp. The fire-ceremony of the second session took place on July 27, during which a traditional Armenian harisa was served to the guests, marking the end of the 7th “Antranik” scout camp. From July 9 to August 1, about 220 scouts enjoyed Armenia, got to see its historical monuments and enhanced their knowledge of the Homeland and in general, lived and breathed Armenia. Over the past seven years 2,300 AGBU scouts from all over the world have participated in “Antranik” Scout Camp.



On July 5, 2014, the reopening ceremony of the Old Pontifical Residence took place at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, presided over by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The renovations to the historic building were made possible by a generous donation from AGBU president Mr. Berge Setrakian and Mrs. Vera Setrakian. Present at the opening ceremony were Hasmik Boghosian, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Armenia; Armen Muradian, Minister of Healthcare of the Republic of Armenia; Arthur Nazarian, Minister of Energy of Lebanon; members of the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; members of the Setrakian and Nazarian families and others.




On June 6th, a solemn ceremony dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Karabakh Chamber Orchestra (KCO) took place at the Stepanakert Culture and Youth Palace, which was followed by a festive concert. NKR National Assembly Chairman Ashot Ghoulyan, NKR Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Narine Aghabalyan delivered congratulatory speeches on the occasion of KCO’s 10th anniversary and highly praised the activities of the orchestra. ”Being one of the most authoritative projects of AGBU carried out in NKR, the KCO has a number of prominent artists among its musicians, who were born in Artsakh and today form an inseparable part of the orchestra”, said Ashot Ghoulyan. The Speaker of the Parliament presented Gevork Muradyan, KCO Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, with a medal dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the National Liberation War of Artsakh. As NKR Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Narine Aghabalyan mentioned in her speech, it would be impossible to imagine the cultural life of Artsakh without the Chamber Orchestra. She also highly appreciated the fruitful cooperation of AGBU with the NKR Government, extending gratitude to all those who initiated and supported the idea of forming an orchestra in Artsakh. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Orchestra, certificates and congratulatory messages were delivered by Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All-Armenians Karekin II, AGBU President Berge Setrakian, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, as well as various cultural establishments and institutions of Armenia.




“Jamanak” daily published in Istanbul, is the oldest Armenian daily newspaper in the world with an uninterrupted record of 106 years of publication. The newspaper, founded by renowned Turkish-Armenian writer and publicist Misak (Kasim) Kochounian, whose descendants have continued his work generation after generation, has recently marked is centennial milestone. A documentary called “The Time of Jamanak” presenting the history of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper has been produced by screenwriter Tigran Paskevichian and director Ara Shirinian as part of the centennial celebrations of the daily. The film was produced in four languages: Armenian, English, French and Turkish.On May 16, RA Culture Ministry and AGBU organized a joint screening of the film at AGBU Armenia. More than 150 historians, bibliographers, cultural figures, journalists and guests attended the event. Opening remarks were made by AGBU Armenia Interim Director Hovik Eordekian. “AGBU could not abstain from the jubilee celebrations of “Jamanak” daily, which has had a significant role in the chronology of Armenian publications”, said Eordekian and invited Tigran Paskevichian to briefly present the history behind the preparation of the film. Paskevichian also spoke about the role of the film in the preservation of the Armenian identity, language and media. Speeches continued after the screening of the hour-long film. Editor-in-Chief of Azg weekly Hakob Avetikian spoke about the past and the present of “Jamanak” both as a Diaspora-Armenian newspaper and as a Turkish-Armenian phenomenon.  

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