The Central Executive Board of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society held its first plenary meeting of its 2018–22 term on September 8, 9, and 10, 2018, in Yerevan.
More Young Members Engaged in North America, Middle East
First on the agenda was a review of each region’s recent activities; the board was pleased to note the steady growth of the network of newly formed organizational units, as well as an increase in the number of young members, especially in the three North American regions. Those three regions and the regional executives in the Middle East are active and lively. The Regional Executive Board for Syria has also been revitalized. The European and South American regions, however, continue to face challenges requiring additional organizational efforts and attention. Revitalizing those regions will be high on the Central Executive Board’s agenda during its four-year term.
On this note, the meeting was informed of programs underway or planned for the next few months to mark Hamazkayin’s 90th anniversary in the various regions. This series of celebrations was launched with great fanfare on September 9 with a celebration at Yerevan’s Sundukyan National Academic Theater.
The board then considered, one by one, the resolutions of Hamazkayin’s Eighth General Assembly, which had taken place in Yerevan in May and form a road map for the society’s activities over the next four years.
An Ongoing Commitment to Armenian Schools
Under educational matters, the meeting examined the administrative and academic issues of the educational establishments working under the auspices of the Central Executive Board. The board evaluated the matter of Armenian education and the work of the principals of the M. & H. Arslanian Djemaran in Beirut, the Hamazkayin Djemaran in Marseilles, and the Arshak and Sophie Galstaun Djemaran in Sydney. The board noted with satisfaction the completion of the new Raffi and Anelga Arslanian Nursery building in Beirut and the fact that the school would start accepting children in September. The board paid especial attention to the activities of the École Hamaskaïne-Tarkmantchatz in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, and decided to continue its commitment to the institution.
Educating the Educators
Reflecting on the program to prepare future Armenian-language teachers for Armenian schools in the diaspora, the board decided to increase publicity efforts for Yerevan State University master’s program in Armenian studies, which is being implemented in conjunction with Hamazkayin. This program is already bearing fruit; young teachers with master’s degrees from this program are already working in diaspora Armenian schools.
On the same note, the board decided to increase publicity for the master’s program for school administrators.
The meeting looked at other Hamazkayin institutions separately. The annual reports of the Vahe Setian Press, the Hamazkayin Publishing House, and the Lucy Tutunjian Art Gallery were examined. The board found that these programs must be modernized. For example, an online library should be developed; the quality of the publications should be raised; and the gallery should have the means to refresh its collection. Reflecting on Pakin, the meeting was pleased to note that the editor and editorial board have drawn a considerable number of younger writers to the magazine.
Cultural Life in Artsakh and Javakheti
The board examined the work of the organization’s Beirut, Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakheti offices. The focus was on the newly established offices; the board wished to expand the activities of the Hamazkayin Artsakh and Javakheti offices, so that they might create new opportunities for Hamazkayin to contribute to the development of cultural life in those two regions.
The board was pleased with the success of the “Lala and Ara” children’s games and decided to expand that program and to accelerate the development of new electronic games and the production of “Lala and Ara” products.
Youth-Oriented Programs and a New Online Platform
A new platform for young people on the Internet, “H-Pem,” is under development. The board examined the report on this project and the next steps to quickly roll out this platform to the youth. The board emphasized that this platform was essential to the society’s mission of keeping new generations—who are subject to cultural decay in the diaspora—inside the sphere of Armenian culture.
The meeting touched upon the society’s three programs devised to keep young Armenians in communion with their Armenian identity and culture: the Student Gathering (“Forum”) in Armenia; the ArtLinks youth network in North America, and the newly formed YouthLinks in Europe. The board concluded that the annual growth in the number of participants is evidence of the success of the programs, and that all three programs successfully connect Armenian youth with Armenia, Armenian culture, and Armenian identity. The board thus decided to spare no effort or means to ensure the continued success of these programs.
On public relations and outreach, the board found it important to increase Hamazkayin’s publicity efforts. The board made decisions to ensure that the public will be informed, on an ongoing basis, of the society’s work.
A Visit to the New Diaspora Minister
At the meeting’s end, all the members of the Central Executive Board paid a visit to the Armenia’s Diaspora Minister Mkhitar Hayrapetyan. The newly appointed minister spoke of his ministry’s approach to relations with Armenian communities worldwide and said new resources were being allocated to support Armenian education in the diaspora. The chairperson of the Central Executive Board, in turn, congratulated the minister on his appointment and spoke of the society’s educational and youth-oriented programs. The participants had a beneficial exchange of thoughts on the possibility of future cooperation between the ministry and Hamazkayin.
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society
Central Executive Board
Beirut, September 12, 2018