Friday, 8 January 2010

AYB presents plan to re-open Melkonian‏

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GIBRAHAYER e-magazine - December 20 - At a discussion group organised by "Ayb" Educational Foundation, Father Mesrop Aramian - Chairman of the Board of Trustees - declared that the organisation had drafted a business plan to re-open the Melkonian Education Institute in Nicosia - Cyprus. Established in 1926 by the Melkonian Brothers, it was the only remaining boarding school, servicing students from the Armenian Diaspora until the AGBU decided to cut funding in 2005.
Father Aramian stated that the draft proposal has been sent to the AGBU in the hope that it will re-examine its decision to sell the school's real estate. The Board Chairman noted that the plan wasn't merely to reopen the school but to create a modern and highly developed education facility for Armenians the world over, using the old school as a basis. He said the location of Melkonian, in Cyprus, was geographically convenient from Armenia, Europe and Lebanon and enjoyed an ideal climate.
Another member of yesterday's panel, Raffi Mekhjian, Director of the Raffael Contini Trading Company, a Lebanese-Armenian venture based in Armenia stated that "The Diaspora lacks an educational academy. It once had Melkonian but now it's closed. The situation in the Diaspora is terrible. The crisis has affected us all and the school issue is at the forefront".
Commenting on the Melkonian legacy and its cultural importance, Father Aramian noted that he had recently visited Melkonian and was amazed at its size and scope. Reflecting on the school and its past glory, Father Aramian made reference to Krikor and Garabed Melkonian - prominent tobacco traders from Egypt - who liquidated their assets, established the Melkonian Fund and entrusted the management, not the ownership of the school to the AGBU. Both brothers are buried at the School grounds, at the open space between the two main buildings.
"The brothers built two small buildings for themselves and a huge educational institution. They are buried there. What will become of their graves? By closing the school, we have dealt a serious blow to a very important concept; that of bequeathing one's inheritance to the nation. These men bequeathed a large fortune so that the school would never want financially. Now, they have taken the decision to close the school and have spoon-fed the people on the idea of selling it off. They have convinced many that by selling the school there'll be money to open five new ones," Father Aramian lamented.
He said that it was unethical to build new schools rather than to save and reopen Melkonian with a rich 85 year-old tradition of educating some of the finest minds in the Diaspora and Armenia.
Of particular interest were his comments regarding the government of Cyprus' project in defence of endangered languages and that the program includes Western Armenian. This he stated signified that the European Union was ready to also invest in the operation of Melkonian in order that it continue teaching students Western Armenian.


The Armenian Nareg Schools in Cyprus are the only educational establishments that teach Armenian language in Cyprus after the closure of Melkonian Educational Institute in 2005.
Nareg schools are available in Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol (see photo album below about Nareg Limassol).
At the end of the 5 year term of the current Armenian Schools Committee, the Armenian Representative in the Cypriot House of Representative Vartkes Mahdessian contacted individuals of experience in the field of education and brought together a balanced team to undertake the mission of resolving the existing problems. The team looked capable of bringing about the long-awaited changes in the educational system in the Nareg schools. Mahdessian recommended individuals from all factions of the society, a policy far from previous practices.
The names were given to the Ministry of Education in order to get the final approval from the Council of Ministers. Before the final approval, some behind the scenes activities was noticed and five names were replaced, without consulting with the Armenian Representative.
Mahdessian was displeased with this development. In a press release issued on 16 December 2009 he states that caring for Nareg Schools has been his main concern. "One of the major reasons that led to my decision to announce my candidature for the post of Armenian Representative in the House of Representatives was my great desire to be in a position to help the Nareg Armenian schools", he says.
"After the necessary meetings at the highest level with Government officials and endeavouring not to complicate matters any further but find a remedy for the situation created, I eventually agreed with the appointments of Rita Kasbarian, Arto Arakelian and Nayiri (Der Arakelian) Merheje at the expense of Vart Alteparmakian, Anita (Boyadjian) Kazandjian and Haig Der Nishanian from my original list", he explains.
The final list submitted to the Council of Ministers is now as follows: Vartan Tashdjian (Chairman), Sebouh Tavitian, Yeran Kouyoumdjian, Asadour Devletian, Raffi Mahdessian, Nayiri (Der Arakelian) Merheje, Haro Kassapian, Masis Der Partogh, Rita Kasbarian, Arto Arakelian, Avedis Chouldjian.
Mahdessian, in an apparently distressed tone ends his press release with the following comment: "Without any further explanation, I invite all members of our community to derive their own conclusions".
Gibrahayer's editor Simon Aynedjian posted an editorial in the recent issue of the electronic magazine, in which he accuses the community's "old guard" of adopting "medieval practices" in the process of appointing the Schools Committee.
Aynedjian characterises the intervention as "mob-like" and for the purpose of the "settlement of old scores". He reminds the readers that the Gibrahayer magazine has pointed out, as early as 2005, to the problems facing Nareg Schools. According to him very few of the educational issues touched in the magazine have been addressed in the proper way.
The accumulated problems have led to decrease of the number of the students attending the Nareg Schools, although the number of Armenians in Cyprus was maintained high in general.
Aynedjian concludes with the following comment: "The Armenian community of Cyprus cannot afford another blow to the only remaining educational fortress", in a reference to the sad story of the closure of Melkonian Educational Institute and the attempts for selling the Melkonian property.
"Gibrahayer e-magazine will be watching you", warns Aynedjian.


GIBRAHAYER e-magazine - written by Paul Chaderdjian - images by Chris Aghazaryan ... Not only that, but as their ancestors had done, our musicians showed their confidence in holding on to their rich past, performing authentic Armenian music, but also showing off how well they embrace other cultures and how they mastered the classics while mastering the street music of a globalised world.
The lush red carpet was unrolled, the black and white limousines stretched back-to-back around an entire block, and there was even a helicopter reporter up above recording the images of the spectacle. Flash bulbs popped, applause and whistles were continuous, TV camera crews grabbed sound-bites, and paparazzi played their parts. On that night, we were all paparazzi and our culture makers were our kings, queens, princes, and princesses. Our kingdoms were alive, and they were back in the full regalia of the fashion makers in glossy fashion magazines.
Inside the Nokia were the beautiful people, the most glamorous people in the world – on that night. Donning their gowns and suits, the celebrants of Armenian pop culture smiled, exchanged air kisses, danced in the isles, snapped photos, and expressed their gratitude to each other and to God, the creator, who had given them their musical ears, their golden voices, and the charisma to hold strangers’ attention, even if it was for a mere three-and-a-half minutes at a time.
Gathered in one place for one night on Sunday were the offsprings of those who had survived the deserts of Syria and had gone on to survive the foreign lands where they had sought shelter. Applauding and smiling together were a people who had held on to their culture at any cost and were once again free to sing their songs with pride. They had persevered, taking a culture that was kept alive by word of mouth until the invention of recording devices, and they had brought this culture to the Internet age, which ensures Armenian culture will never die.
click here for the complete article. We strongly recommend you read it in its entirety

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GIBRAHAYER e-magazine

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by Samvel Sahakyan, PhD Head of Research ARMENBROK Investment Company

  • Stock market of Armenia is still low in the first two weeks of December 2009.
  • Armenian corporate bond market demonstrated extraordinary high activity during the first biweekly period of December 2009.
  • The foreign currency market of Armenia experienced a smooth downward trend of US dollar rate as against Armenian Dram.
  • In Jan-Sept 2009 Armenian banks and credit companies received USD 255.4mln in foreign investments and loans.
  • Armenia takes the 3rd place among CIS countries by growth of industrial production in October.
  • 0.1% growth of retail goods turnover in Armenia in Jan-Oct 2009.
  • Services provided to population up 4.9% over October 2009.
  • Big enterprises of Armenia will have to publish annual financial reporting.
  • Armenia ranked 7th in CIS by growth of consumer price index.
  • Gold in Armenia rises in price by 3%.
  • Armenian Central Bank preserves rate of refinancing at 5%.
  • Central bank of Armenia: Inflation in Armenia to make up 5.4% in 2009.

GIBRAHAYER e-magazineNEW SERVICE - With Cyprus Tickets, you can purchase your ticket online. It’s simple - choose the event you wish. Click on the relevant theatre. Click on your chosen seats. You will then register – this is a one time procedure. Pay & print your ticket.

Farewell 2009 - Editorial by Jean Ipdjian

GIBRAHAYER e-magazine Finally we are on the threshold of bidding farewell to 2009.
For us Armenians, 2009 was not a year, which we would remember with fondness, thanks to the unfortunate events, which have precipitated from the misguided actions of the government of Armenia. Namely, the process of normalisation of relations with our western neighbour and historical adversary Turkey. And the sad part of the whole business is that, efforts of establishing good-neighbourly relations with Turkey as such are not the problem.
The problem is the manner in which the government of Armenia has chosen or has been forced to conduct the process. We, Armenians, have major issues with Turkey. There is the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the matter of our historical lands which form part of eastern Turkey and where for years systematic work has been undertaken by Turkey to erase the historical fingerprints of its true owners, us Armenians, and last but not least, Artsakh. These issues are not confined to and nor are within the narrow concerns of the republic of Armenia and its population, but they concern and belong to the Armenian nation as a whole in its entirety, that is Armenia and the Diaspora. Therefore, they should have been the results of prior consultations with the nation through its organised representatives and establishments. The Armenian nation is not the Armenian government’s back garden where they can do whatever they want and whenever they want. The Armenian nation and the major issues affecting them belong to the whole. The Diasporans are not concerned about the policies of running the government, since it is the elected choice of the people of Armenia. Even though there as well there are a lot to be said. However, by signing the Protocols the President of Armenia and his government have overstepped their moral authority and obligations towards the nation. Probably we and the government will be saved and taken out of an unfortunate position by Turkey itself, because of that nation’s inexhaustible arrogance and extreme nationalism.
Coming closer to home, and by home I have in mind Cyprus, the episode with the Board of the Nareg Schools comes to remind us that reactionary forces lurk behind the scenes. For these people, the desire to stay in control, to further their aims of regaining the community’s leadership and representation and thus ensuring for themselves and their lackeys seats on different communal boards and other functions to warm their backsides is more important than the welfare of the community. Unfortunately, in this case, the government, and I want to believe so, inadvertently played to their tune. The Nareg Schools are one of the last bastions in our struggle to maintain and keep our national identity as a community. It is obvious that the church and the different organizations have difficulty in attracting our youth. The Melkonian Institute which by its existence alone helped in this cause, is no more. And this, exactly because of the actions of such people who tried to sabotage the efforts of the Representative in creating a working and functional Board. We hope that with the new year and with the help of the new Board the Nareg Schools will be able to prosper even more and be a magnet to all the children of the Armenian community in Cyprus.
Very soon, the Armenian community in Cyprus will wine, dine and dance to the tunes of Nune and Hovig during the annual Gala dinner of AYMA. I wish to all of you, who will be fortunate enough to find a place there, a great time and the best of evenings.
I hope Father Christmas and Gaghant Baboug will bring us health and happiness, success in our endeavours and wisdom to our leaders both in Cyprus, Armenia and the Diaspora. Also I hope that contrary to my beliefs 2010 will see the solution of the Cyprus Problem and our fair island will be reunited within a singular state and live happily ever after, if there is such a thing.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Shnorhavor Nor Dari and Sourp Dzenount to you all!
London 2009


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