International Conference on Armenian Education held

Aug 10 2004


ANTELIAS, AUGUST 10, ARMENPRESS: 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 Diaspora.
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 attractive.
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

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress