1- Could you describe the present situation of the Cypriot Armenian Community?
The Cypriot Armenian Community is one of the oldest Diaspora Armenian communities. Armenians have settled in
The number of Armenians in
Although the Community is small in numbers, nevertheless it is considered to be a very active one. Armenian traditional political parties, cultural and sports unions, etc. run their usual activities. There are Armenian clubs in the major cities. There are two monthly publications: ?Artsakank? (Echo) and ?Azad Tsayn? (Free Voice). The Prelacy publishes ?Keghart? information bulletin. The well known Armenian program is aired on Cyprus Radio daily for a limited time.
2- We would like to know about the difficulties that Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI) has faced until its recent closure. After months of the misfortunate decision how is the situation assessed now?
Unfortunately, despite the pan-Armenian outcry, the AGBU?s (Armenian General Benevolent Union) leadership proceeded in executing its treacherous decision resulting in the closure of this historical institute of education and science. This year, for the first time the school bell of the MEI did not ring. No students were accepted to the empty classrooms. As a consequence not only the Cypriot Armenians, but also Armenians from many other Communities in Diaspora were deprived from this vital source of light and knowledge. The Institute served young Armenian generations from abroad who were staying in the boarding school.
Our Community is facing more troubles now. The wave of assimilation is threatening in a direct way, especially now that the parents are obliged to send their children to foreign schools where no Armenian secondary education is provided. Even the Cypriot circles have expressed their concern and anxiety on the same issue. The Parliament of Cyprus described the step taken by AGBU as an ?act of hostility?. Moreover, the Government suggested financial assistance for the survival of MEI.
While the Central Administration of AGBU and its closer circles appeared in the controversial position of staging the closure of an Armenian school, the Melkonian Alumni Associations worldwide launched intense struggle to save their beloved school. The situation was complicated when the other guarantor of the MEI, the Patriarchate of the Armenians of Constantinople (
It is worth mentioning here that the Hunchak party, in
3- It is an opportunity to know more about the presence and activities of the Social Democrat Hunchak Party in the
As a historical and well-rooted structure, the Social Democrat Hunchak Party actively functions in many locations where noticeable Armenian population exists. The Party, along with its parallel organizations, such as Armenian Athletic Organization (H.M.M.) and ?Nor Serount (New Generation) Cultural Union?, enjoys substantial presence in major Armenian Communities in the Middle East (from
The Hunchak Party in
In 2005 the Cyprus Hunchak Unit was set up, reviving the traditions of the ?Nor Seround Cultural Union? and the ?Armenian Athletic Union / H.M.M.?. Indeed, this could be considered as the newest event in the Cypriot Armenian Community.
There are many Hunchak followers in other countries, where organizational structure unfortunately does not exist.
The 18th Congress of the Hunchak Party, which was recently convened in the coastal city of
The Party greeted the Government of Cyprus for the granted hospitality and expressed its support to a just and integrated solution of the Cypriot Issue, against the Turkish illegal occupation.
4- How can we characterize the attitude of the
It is best characterized as caring and noble. The Armenian Community is one of three officially recognized minorities in the country (besides the Maronites and the Latins), having thus the complete right to preserve its language and culture. The Cypriot Armenians feels in this country as a free, complete and integrated citizens, with the same obligations and rights as other citizens. Within the House of the Representatives of Cyprus, the Armenian Community elects, in a democratic way, a Representative for a five years term. The Government provides great help to the three Armenian elementary schools, supports the Church and encourages cultural and athletic activities. In fact the Government is concerned in preserving the national character of the Armenian Community. For example, in the case of the Melkonian Educational Institute, the Government and the people of
?Armenia-Cyprus Friendship Committee? enhances the friendship and cultural interaction between the two nations, creating more opportunities for mutual acknowledgment and appreciation, especially that the Armenian-Greek relationship has historical roots and many correlations.