Antelias: The Pan-Diaspora Conference in Antelias concludes its work

Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]

PO Box 70 317


ANTELIAS, LEBANON – Initiated by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and
organized by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia an International
Conference on Armenian education was held in the Armenian Theological
Seminary, in Bikfaya, Lebanon from 5-7 August 2004. The theme of the
Conference was “The Armenian Education in the Diaspora”. About one
hundred people from different parts of the world, from communities
living in different political, cultural and religious contexts came
together to focus their attention on issues pertaining to the
Armenian-Christian formation today in a new world setting.

In his opening address His Holiness Aram I identified the concerns and
challenges facing the Armenian Christian education in the context of
pluralistic societies. He addressed a number of critical issues, and then
posed two questions. What does it mean to be Armenian Christian? How should
we form the Armenian Christian for tomorrow? His Holiness underscored the
crucial importance of re-evaluating and renewing our educational
methodologies, strategies and programs by making them more relevant and
reliable. At the end of his address His Holiness proposed that Armenia and
Diaspora together engage in a process of developing a Pan-Armenian
educational policy with particular emphasis on the worldwide Armenian

The agenda of the conference included the following topics: The actual state
of education in different continents where Armenian communities live; the
implications of globalization to education; the role of the church in
Armenian Christian formation; the family as an important educational
instrument; the impact of pluralistic societies on Armenian Education; the
use and misuse of technology in education; the role of the textbooks and the
extra curricula activities; human resources: formation and training; the
contribution of the Saturday schools, Sunday schools and children’s camps to
education; the importance of new community schools for the Armenian
communities established in the West.

The conference addressed these and a number of related matters through
papers, panel discussions and hearings. The active participation of young
educators and women provided new perspectives and dynamism to the
discussion. They challenged the traditional views and approaches and
constantly reminded that in a new world context a renewed perception and
vision of education are imperative. They echoed the challenge of His
Holiness that in the present world of globalization and communication and in
a context of new societies, our education must become more responsive and

His Holiness personally attended all the sessions and at the end of each
session he highlighted the emerging concerns and views.

The conference, which was an unprecedented event in the contemporary
Armenian history, summarized its findings in a declaration where a
particular emphasis was laid on the importance of translating the
Conference’s reflection into action.

In his closing remarks His Holiness Aram I identified three words which
should occupy a central place in our educational work: “relevance, coherence
and integrity”. He said “We are living in different contexts. We must,
therefore, develop different educational procedures and strategies. We are
citizens of different countries, yet we are Armenians and part of the
globalized world. We have our own convictions, values and norms, but we are
living in a new environment. Hence, it is vitally important that we develop
the kind of educational policy that provides integrity, relevance and
coherence to our educational work, at the same time preserving our distinct
Armenian Christian identity. This is a great challenge before us and we must
take it seriously and responsibly”, said His Holiness.


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The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the history and
the mission of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.