Filmmaker Journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva Kicks off Tour w/AGBU France

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Award-Winning Filmmaker and Journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva Kicks off
International Tour with AGBU France

Screenings of Groundbreaking Documentary “Wounds of Karabakh” Attract

For millions around the world, news and images of the Nagorno Karabakh
war with Azerbaijan are forever burned in memory. The Bulgarian
reporter Tsvetana Paskaleva’s dispatches from the frontlines of the
1988-1994 conflict not only helped propel it into the international
spotlight, but have earned her numerous awards and were developed into
her seven groundbreaking documentaries. The films, entitled
collectively “Wounds of Karabakh,” received renewed attention over the
past few weeks during a series of events organized and sponsored by
AGBU France, which kicked off Paskaleva’s international tour.

Paskaleva’s work has long been utilized to open the eyes of world
leaders to the atrocities suffered by the Armenian community in
Karabakh. From 1993-1994, “Wounds of Karabakh” was screened before
Amnesty International, the Parliament of Canada, the United Nations
and the United States Congress, among other government bodies and
organizations. On Thursday, November 29, 2012, the French Senate was
added to that list. At the invitation of French Senator Philippe
Kaltenbach, who heads the France-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary
Friendship Group, a delegation of Armenian parliamentary leaders met
with French representatives in Luxembourg Palace. There, they viewed
the film and participated in a roundtable discussion on peace and
dialogue in Nagorno Karabakh. In the days that followed, dozens more
elected officials and community leaders gathered at AGBU centers
across the country.

On Friday, November 30, 2012, AGBU Valence hosted a screening that
drew guests from both near and far, including the Mayor of Valence
Alain Maurice, the Mayor of the Armenian city of Idjevan Varuzhan
Nersisyan, and AGBU Valence Chair Jean Jacques Vartanian. Since AGBU
Valence adopted Idjevan as a sister city over two years ago, the two
have joined forces to promote cultural and sustainable development
initiatives internationally, and Mr. Nersisyan’s presence demonstrated
that their relationship remains strong. The following day she headed
to Marseille for a showing of the film that was co-organized by the
local AGBU chapter and the Coordination Council of Armenian
Organizations of France (CCAF). AGBU Lyon also partnered with the
CCAF, as well as with Radio Armenia, for their screening, which was
held on Monday, December 3, 2012, and attracted over 70 attendees,
among them AGBU Lyon Chair Michel Sandjian.

At each stop on her AGBU tour, Paskaleva, who was joined by her
producer Zara Nazarian, recounted what first prompted her to visit
Karabakh, the violence she witnessed there, and ways she believes the
region can achieve peace and stability to move forward. In 1991, when
reports of mass deportations of Armenians living in the Karabakh
villages of Getashen, Martunashen and Shahumyan reached Moscow, where
Paskaleva was a PhD film student, she immediately packed her camera
and traveled into the heart of the conflict. What she thought would be
a short-term assignment turned into a three year engagement, as she
began reporting for major news outlets and became the only
international journalist on the ground continuously throughout the
Karabakh war. She filmed hundreds of hours of harrowing footage,
risking her life time and time again to ensure that the horrors of the
war did not go unreported. Her extraordinary acts of bravery were
recognized by a Medal for Courage from the Armenian Government in
1996, as well as with the rank of Karabakh Defense Army Colonel, which
she received in 1995 despite never bearing arms during the conflict.

Years later, though, Paskaleva says her work is not yet done. As she
commented during the AGBU France events, “Now is the time for
Armenians to win the last battle: the diplomatic battle…I initiated
this international tour to remind our politicians that the conflict is
still painfully unresolved and that they bear the responsibility to
bring sustainable peace to Karabakh so we may finally put the past
behind us.” At each of the screenings organized by AGBU France, policy
makers were already responding to Paskaleva’s appeal, gathering to
discuss the status of Nagorno Karabakh and ways to create a brighter
future in the region. As Tsvetana Paskaleva’s international tour
continues, she is sure to continue to inspire the political will to
more toward positive change.

Established in 1906, AGBU () is the world’s largest
non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU
preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through
educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the
lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world.

For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please

From: Baghdasarian

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