Nicosia: House opposes Melkonian shut down

Cyprus Mail
March 27 2004

House opposes Melkonian shut down
By Staff Reporter

THE PLENUM yesterday unanimously opposed the Armenian General
Benevolent Union’s (AGBU) decision to shut down the Melkonian
Educational Institute (MEI) and urged the government to declare the
school a historical site.

The deputies said the 78-year-old Armenian school was as much part of
Cyprus’ cultural and historical heritage as the Armenians’. They
added it was their duty to `undertake the necessary initiative to
prevent the fait accompli its New York handlers are trying to

The vote comes after the AGBU recently announced its plans to close
down the school in June next year, claiming it no longer fulfilled
the duties it had been set up to carry out.

The Armenian community in Cyprus has claimed financial interests are
behind the school’s closure as preliminary estimates suggest the land
is worth £40 million.

The House of Representatives said the school was an important
educational and cultural institution that helped education and
cultivate young Armenians, as well as reinforcing their identity. The
deputies added that thought should have been given and action taken
on how to support the school rather than shut it down.

The plenum unanimously condemned the AGBU decision and called on the
government to declare the school building and its surroundings an
environment of historical and cultural importance, thus thwarting any
plans for its development.