The Armenian Island of Venice

The Armenian Island of Venice

The Armenian presence in Europe stretches from London to Larnaca, Lisbon to Lviv; the Armenian Catholic Mkhitarian Congregation is among the most impactful examples of that legacy and this year marks a three-century-long presence in one of Europe’s most iconic towns.

The vaporetto leaves from San Zaccaria to one of the most unique corners of Venice, a testament to the centuries of multi-cultural history of that magnificent city. The unique corner is really an island – Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni, or the Island of St. Lazarus of the Armenians. This year marks the 300th anniversary of that island becoming home to the Mkhitarian or Mechitarist Congregation.

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Media In Armenia: Fast Connections, Slow Change

The media in Armenia suffers from the same legacy as in much of the post-communist world. Although the Internet has shaken things up in the past few years, media independence is still in the making.

Media In Armenia: Fast Connections, Slow Change

As with most of the post-Soviet world, the Armenian press did not have much to go on in terms of a real journalistic tradition after the USSR collapsed. There may have been a lot of publications in the Armenian world-within the country and in the organized diaspora outside of it-but as far as the new Republic of Armenia was concerned, its journalists and broadcasters were coming out of decades of censorship when independence came in 1991. That legacy can be felt to this day, as numerous media outlets clearly toe the line of national policy, while others go to the other extreme of spreading scandals. Very few have the courage, the resources, and the professionalism to carry out objective and meaningful reporting. Continue reading

A ‘Close Creative Encounter’ between İstanbul and Yerevan

A ‘Close Creative Encounter’ between İstanbul and Yerevan

A creative format born in Japan that allows people to present and discuss ideas recently helped foster creative dialogue between two neighboring peoples who do not always see eye-to-eye: Turks and Armenians.

Pecha Kucha — Japanese for “chit-chat” — was conceived by two architects in Tokyo in 2003, originally as a means for young designers to showcase their work while giving them a chance to meet and network with one another. It has since grown immensely in popularity, with presenters from all artistic genres, and even academia, participating in regular franchised Pecha Kucha Nights in over 500 cities around the world.

Two of those cities are İstanbul and Yerevan. Organized with the support of USAID, the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and the Global Political Trends Centre at İstanbul Kültür University, the Yerevan Pecha Kucha franchisee — associated with Yerevan’s The Club, a well-known eatery that is not just a restaurant, but also a gallery and gathering space — worked together with the İstanbul franchisee, 34 Solo, a design consultancy, to put together what was described as “probably the first” inter-city, international Pecha Kucha Night, entitled “Close Creative Encounters.” Continue reading

A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan

A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan

There has been much talk of the LGBTI community in Armenia lately. A bar, widely considered to be a gathering spot for those who think and act differently than most in this country, was recently firebombed and vandalized. The violence was condemned in large part only by the LGBTI community and its supporters, until two ARF MPs acted on behalf of the assailants, posting bail for them pending trial. That gave way to greater attention and greater condemnation, particularly in the diaspora—including by several leaders and opinion-makers associated with the ARF.

Partly in response to that event, a conference on LGBTI tolerance issues took place in Armenia last week. It was poorly attended–perhaps by 20 or 30 people at most–though supported by European bodies and the UN. And on Mon., May 21, a rally in support of diversity and tolerance was planned on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, but also not too far on the calendar from the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is marked on May 17. Both events were spearheaded by an NGO known as PINK (“Public Information and Need of Knowledge”), alongside other civil society groups.

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Following the Remarkable Footsteps of Our Merchant Ancestors

Following the Remarkable Footsteps of Our Merchant Ancestors

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (A.W.)–Sebouh Aslanian, the recently appointed assistant professor and Richard Hovannisian Term Chair in modern Armenian history at UCLA, lectured at Harvard on Sept. 14 on the fascinating story of the Armenian merchants of New Julfa (Nor Jugha). Stretching across the Mediterranean, down through the Indian Ocean and all the way to the Pacific, encompassing the Middle East, the Russian Empire, India and Tibet, and the Far East, the Julfa Armenians commanded a vast and active network of trade in early modern times.

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Armenia completing a tramway to surpass Sandia Peak as world’s longest

Armenia completing a tramway to surpass Sandia Peak as world’s longest

Move over, Sandia Peak — the world’s longest aerial tramway will soon be inaugurated in Armenia.

The Tatev Aerial Tramway forms part of the Tatev Revival Project, an endeavor aimed at restoring a medieval monastery, reviving its monastic and scholarly tradition and promoting tourism in Armenia’s southern region. It is being undertaken by The National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia, a public-private partnership focusing on development in key sectors of the Armenian economy.

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Tanking Up on Music and Activism: Serj Tankian in Yerevan

Tanking Up on Music and Activism: Serj Tankian in Yerevan

YEREVAN (A.W.)—Some would call it a historical first, while others are already used to big names performing in Yerevan. However you would have it, Serj Tankian certainly created a stir in more than one way with his concert at Yerevan’s Hamalir (the Karen Demirchian Sports and Culture Complex) on Thurs., Aug. 12.

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Tanking Up on Music and Activism: Serj Tankian in Yerevan

YEREVAN—Some would call it a historical first, while others are already used to big names performing in Yerevan. However you would have it, Serj Tankian certainly created a stir in more than one way with his concert which took place at Yerevan’s Hamalir (The Karen Demirchian Sports and Culture Complex) on Thursday, August 12.

read the rest

Tanking Up on Music and Activism: Serj Tankian in Yerevan

YEREVAN-Some would call it a historical first, while others are already used to big names performing in Yerevan. However you would have it, Serj Tankian certainly created a stir in more than one way with his concert which took place at Yerevan’s Hamalir (The Karen Demirchian Sports and Culture Complex) on Thursday, August 12.

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UCLA event highlights Armenian heritage in Turkey

UCLA event highlights Armenian heritage in Turkey

Los Angeles – A one-day conference on the Armenian Communities of Asia Minor was held on Saturday, the 20th of March, 2010 at UCLA.

Organised by the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History, led by the indefatigable Richard Hovannisian, with the support of other departments at UCLA and the Southern California-based Organisation of Istanbul Armenians, the conference included ten papers and presentations on the Armenian presence in areas of Anatolia outside of Constantinople (Istanbul), and the more traditional and more often-cited Western Armenia and Cilicia homelands. Continue reading

Picture a corner in the Baltic at a corner in the Caucasus

Picture a corner in the Baltic at a corner in the Caucasus

YEREVAN – The inhabitants of Yerevan’s Kond district had a rather extraordinary time on July 4 with an open-air photo exhibit showcasing their own narrow streets and old homes, alongside a similar part of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Continue reading