The everyday hum of life around the world has come to a standstill. Nothing like this has happened before, at least not in our lifetimes.
Hamazkayin is adapting its activities to the circumstances and has quickly changed its mode of operation while remaining committed to its principles and vision, continuing its mission.
In the educational arena, in the early days of the pandemic, Hamazkayin schools—beginning with our Jemarans—moved to online instruction. The teacher-student connection is ongoing. With the unstinting support and dedication of the administration, faculty, and staff of our schools, we are able to confront this challenge successfully. We are, of course, well aware that new computer methods cannot fully replace the classroom experience; we try to achieve the best results within the limitations imposed by the circumstances. On this occasion, we thank the staff of our schools. The dedication they display is reminiscent of the dedication of Hamazkayin’s founding generation. Indeed, this year is the 90th anniversary of the Jemaran founded by Levon Shant, Nigol Aghpalian, and their comrades; we are happy to see the heirs to these titans follow loyally in their footsteps. The same can be said of Hamazkayin’s various regional educational and arts institutions.
This year is the fortieth anniversary of the Jemaran in Marseille. In the midst of this upheaval, thanks to the efforts of the trustees, the facilities of the bilingual school became vested in Hamazkayin. The trustees are now preparing a plan to expand the school’s capacity. In the future the Jemaran will be able to admit a larger number of students, addressing the growing demand in the region.
The Hamazkayin internet platform h-pem has been active for a year now, seeking to connect non-Armenian speaking young Armenians and non-Armenians to Armenian culture in its various manifestations. During this time of isolation, h-pem is also adapting. The staff have reached out to specialists and artists in various areas to prepare video clips for the platform. The platform is also trying to keep people’s spirits up with this content, mixing pleasure with benefit through culture.
Hamazkayin’s children’s “Lala and Ara” program is using its social media to allow Armenian children to see and hear from each other. At the same time, it is adding educational content prepared by pedagogues. The first e-book featuring Lala and Ara was just released.
Meanwhile, Hamazkayin chapters around the world are using their online presence to slake our people’s thirst for culture, presenting high-quality performances and presentations. Hamazkayin’s office in Armenia regularly puts Armenian films online; the Artsakh and Javakheti offices try to keep people connected with online showings and competitions.
Hamazkayin’s book distributors in Lebanon likewise organized a children’s drawing contest and a program to take books to people for no charge so they have something to read. The e-library is available to the whole world and has new material available.
All of this continues thanks to the ongoing support of Hamazkayin’s volunteers and those who believe in the maintenance, dissemination, and development of Armenian culture.
As the examples above show, Hamazkayin continues to operate through some of the most challenging circumstances it has faced in its decades of existence. In this time of physical distancing, we have not become isolated and atomized. On the contrary, we are more connected than ever. We remain active and strong, capable of overcoming all the obstacles in our path.
Hamazkayin Central Executive Board Office
Beirut, April 17, 2020