Newsletter issue number 008 (October 2006)

Newsletter issue number 008 (October 2006)

Middle East Armenian Newsletter
Issue no. 8 05 October 2006

In this issue

Visit to the Embassy of Armenia in Cairo

Thoughts on the 3rd Armenia – Diaspora Conference (18-20 September 2006)

Al Jazeera interviews President Kocharian

Participation at International Food Festival in Doha, Qatar

Hraztan Zeitlian's Project for Saudi Arabia wins 2006 American Architecture Award

The Armenian language in Cyprus

Highest ranking Muslim cleric in Syria visits Armenia

'The Yacoubian Building' nominated for Oscar 2006

Life under threat in present-day Iraq


Visit to the Embassy of Armenia in Cairo
Ambassador Rouben Karapetian

The Embassy is located in a beautiful and spacious villa endowed with private garden in the Zamalek district, an affluent area where most embassies are located, relatively close to downtown Cairo. The site, originally belonged to Janik and Satenig Chaker and was bestowed in 1976 to the local AGBU by Satenig Chaker. It was eventually forwarded to the Armenian Foreign Ministry to serve as premises for the Embassy at a nominal rent. The Embassy of Armenia first was in an apartment in Dokki.

Artak Hovhannisian, a graduate of oriental studies from Yerevan, the Second Secretary of the Embassy welcomed us in the Embassy and gave a briefing about the location. Hovhannisian used to work in the Abu Dhabi Armenian Embassy (2001-2003).

Araxy Khatcherian-Deronian, a friend from the Egyptian Armenian community accompanied us in this visit.

The Embassy of Armenia in Egypt is the most important Armenian Embassy in the Arab World due to the weight that Egypt enjoys as a leading Arab country. The historical presence of the Armenians in Egypt, dating back to the Middle Ages, gives additional significance to the role of the Armenian diplomacy in this country.

Ambassador Dr. Rouben Karapetian welcomed us with a very sincere touch in his voice.

Read more …



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  • Thoughts on the 3rd Armenia – Diaspora Conference (18-20 September 2006)

  • Armenian Diaspor Conference Logo

    The 3rd Armenia ? Diaspora conference is over now and we can have a quick look at the subjects discussed during the Conference and the overall mood that prevailed during the days of this event.

    The thematic panel subjects at the Conference covered a range of topics, some marked with the usual enthusiastic and optimistic approach. Generally speaking, the audience did not feel bored.

    The overall attitude of the local press was somehow positive towards the participating Diasporan Armenians. During the 2nd Conference (2002) the critics dared calling the participants as ?tourists? or people without any agenda or priorities. This year the respect was obvious towards the participants, who proved to be more mature and objective towards their goals. The ability to distinguish the achievable from the idealistic is developing in the ranks of the Diasporan Armenians. The same applies to the Armenian authorities.

    The researches which were presented during the panel discussion helped to form a larger view about the fate of being Armenian. They helped to position our views on national issues within an international or global context, thus avoiding ethnocentric ideas and creating a platform for nation-wide acceptable policies.

    Reference was made to the specific psychological characteristics of each type of Diasporan Armenian (Middle Eastern, Western, non-Armenian speaker, etc.), the dangers of immigrating out of Armenia and the perennial issue of the dual citizenship. It has been customary for the hosting Armenian authorities to put the issue of the citizenship on the agenda for the purpose of pleasing the Diasporan Armenians by providing them with opportunity for national rhetoric, without realizing that the real people who will eventually make use of the dual citizenship status are the ex-citizens of the Republic of Armenia who are now embracing foreign citizenships in alarming numbers.

    Read the rest of the article …

  • Al Jazeera interviews President Kocharian


    On 17th September 2006, Qatari based ?Al Jazeera? channel broadcasted an interview with President Robert Kocharian, conducted by Zawer Shoj.

    Below are translated excerpts from the interview which covered several domestic and foreign topics.

    Shoj: Armenia is an independent country for the last 15 years. What are the most significant achievements and failures during the same period?

    Kocharian: One of our first tasks was to form a State of Law and Authority. The most important issue in front of us was to undergo effective and active changes and establish free market mechanism .. The collapse of Soviet Union had brought Armenia into a difficult situation .. We needed to create the basic components of an independent state such as governmental authority, Army, economy, etc. .. Armenia had to face the new reality and circumstances .. Statistical figures confirm that we have coped the transitional period with success.. Nagorno Karabagh remains as the most difficult task so far.

    Read additional parts of the interview …

  • Participation at International Food Festival in Doha, Qatar

  • International Food Festival in Doha

    The International Food Festival is an event held every year at the Cambridge International School in Doha, Qatar. It is an open day activity for all students, parents, teachers and visitors to taste free food prepared by representatives of different countries and cultures. The school itself has students from 60 nationalities, including few Armenians.

    On 23rd March 2006 Ankine Havanjian- Hagopian and her team of family members and friends volunteered to represent Armenia in the Food Festival. In the pictures you can see a group of Armenian youngsters who helped Ankine to carry the food and artwork to the school yard.

    As far as the Armenian cuisine is concerned, Ankine thought of making something different than the usual dolma and harissa, which are known dishes for the Arabs. So she made ich, zeytov sarma, gata and cooked mamounya right on the spot!

    Read more about the above Festival …

  • Hraztan Zeitlian's Project for Saudi Arabia wins 2006 American Architecture Award

  • Hraztan Zeitlian's Saudi Arabian Project

    “The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design” announced in September 2006 that STRUERE?s Hilal (Half Moon) project, a polemical competition entry for the architectural design of the Headquarters Building for the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious 2006 American Architecture Award. Hilal was chosen along with twenty two other entries from several hundred submissions to the Museum?s Award Program by US and international architecture firms. Other winners included such firms as Herzog & De Meuron, SOM, Michael Maltzan Architecture, etc.

    Why this project matters:

    In this post-9-11 age of the conflict of civilizations, this western project for an Islamic institution is an important critical engagement of Islamic culture in imagining a new emergent architecture for the 21st century. The project embodies the very type of much needed cultural engagement and dialogue that leads to mutual understanding and enrichment between cultures in lieu of conflict.

    Read more about why this project is important …

  • The Armenian language in Cyprus

  • Armenian Narek School in Nicosia, Cyprus

    On 27 September 2006 the Committee of Ministers (of the Council of Europe) adopted the recommendations with regard to the implementation of the “European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in Cyprus”.

    See the report here (PDF format)

    We would like to thank Simone Klinge (Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Council of Europe) and Pro Education for their efforts in this context.

    Read the text of the Recommendation and supplementary information …

  • Highest ranking Muslim cleric in Syria visits Armenia

  • Syrian Grand Mufti and the Armenian Catholicos

    In continuation of the unprecedented inter-faith and inter-religious dialogues and visitations during the pontificate of His Holiness Karekin II, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Badr Ad-Din Hassoun, the Mufti of Aleppo and spiritual leader of the Muslims of the Syrian Arab Republic, traveled to Armenia last month upon the invitation of the Catholicos of All Armenians. The visit of the Chief Mufti of Syria occurred less than one year following the visit of the Chief Rabbi of Israel to Holy Etchmiadzin as a guest of His Holiness.

    Sheikh Ad-Din Hassoun was accompanied by Sheikh Abdul Fattah Al Bizem, Mufti of Damascus; Mr. Basel Kas Nasrallan, Secretary for Christian and Islamic Relations for the Syrian Arab Republic; and Sheikh Muhammad Abir Hassoun. Also accompanying the high-ranking delegation was His Grace Bishop Armash Nalbandian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Damascus.

    Read a briefing of the historical visit to Etchmiadzin …

  • 'The Yacoubian Building' nominated for Oscar 2006

  • 'Poster

    “The Yacoubian Building” (”Omaret Yacoubian”) is an Egyptian movie that tracks the Egyptian society over the years through the tenants of a decaying residence.

    The apartment building was originally built in downtown Cairo in 1934 by a prominent Egyptian Armenian and during the first decades of its existence housed wealthy Pashas and foreign dignitaries. But after the Second World War the scene changed dramatically and the building started hosting poor workers and their families on the rooftop, mingling with the nouveau riche, thrill- seekers and ex-Pashas in the crumbling apartments. The building stands as a metaphor for contemporary Egypt. The actual building still stands at the address given in the novel: 34, Talaat Harb Street, although its true appearance differs from its description in the book.

    Read about the characters of the film …

  • Life under threat in present-day Iraq

  • Ara Ashjian in front of General Antranig statue in Yerevan

    Ara Ashjian is an Iraqi Armenian Civil Engineer who has wide-ranging interest in the Armenian history and politics. His articles reflect the daily plight of the Iraqi Armenians, who are facing uncertain future, in a country known nowadays to be the most violent in the Middle East.

    Yet Ashjian finds time and energy to contribute to several online groups and websites. Since the beginning of 2006 he launched his own blog where he posts his views on a variety of subjects; from the recognition of the Armenian Genocide to the presence of the Turkish troops in Lebanon; from everyday Diaspora problems to detailed travel notes taken during his recent trip to Armenia and Karabagh (April-May 2006).

    Read more about the experience of Ara Ashjian in Iraq …



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