Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó to visit Armenia soon



YEREVAN, MAY 31, ARMENPRESS. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Péter Szijjártó is expected to visit Armenia soon, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said during a meeting with Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén in Yerevan on May 31.

Pashinyan added that the planned visit attests to the mutual desire for bringing the bilateral partnership to a new level.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 30-05-23




YEREVAN, 30 MAY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 30 May, USD exchange rate up by 0.35 drams to 386.52 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.11 drams to 414.89 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate down by 0.04 drams to 4.78 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 3.72 drams to 480.41 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price up by 21.92 drams to 24206.37 drams. Silver price up by 0.26 drams to 287.62 drams.

PM Pashinyan receives the newly elected members of the Central Board of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party




YEREVAN, MAY 30, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan received the newly elected members of the Central Board of the Central Board of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party-Ramgavar, headed by Michael Kharapian, the chairman of the Central Board of the Party, ARMENPRESS was informed from the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister congratulated on the holding of the 29th Congress of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the election of the new governing body of the party and wished them effective party work. Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the decision to hold the Congress of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party in Yerevan and commended the activities of the Ramgavar party, which has a great role in Armenia and the Diaspora. The Prime Minister expressed belief that the cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party will continue in the near future.

Michael Kharapian added that the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party expresses its support to the Government for solving the problems and challenges in the Motherland.

At the meeting, reference was made to the activities of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, the fight against corruption, the economic development of Armenia and other issues.

Dutch contractor to conduct feasibility study of Gyumri Dry Port and Industrial Estate project



YEREVAN, MAY 30, ARMENPRESS. A Dutch company has been awarded the contract for the technical-economic study of the project on building a Dry Port and an Industrial Estate in Gyumri, Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan said on May 30.

The Dutch company that has won the tender is tasked to determine whether investments in the project would be justified.

“Preliminary technical-economic studies show this to be an attractive investment. The interest generated around the possible project and the fact that specialized firms are researching the document package and issuing a positive response allow us to assume that the process will proceed successfully, but let’s not get ahead of time,” Kerobyan said during parliamentary hearings on the budget report.

EBRD to hold its 2024 Annual Meeting in Yerevan




YEREVAN, MAY 25, ARMENPRESS. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and government of Armenia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which lays the foundations for the 2024 EBRD Annual Meeting to take place in Yerevan on 14-16 May 2024.

The event will be the EBRD’s 33rd Annual Meeting and is the most important event in the Bank’s calendar. A central part is the meeting of the Board of Governors, the Bank’s highest decision-making body, assessing the Bank’s performance and setting future strategic directions, the EBRD announced in a press release.

The conference also includes the Business Forum, a gathering of business representatives, investors, government officials and media who engage in panel discussions and networking events. In addition, the Annual Meeting comprises a civil society programme, a donors’ meeting and other auxiliary events.

The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the responsibilities regarding the organisation, planning and delivery of the Annual Meeting. Both parties expressed their commitment to a successful event, which is expected to attract up to 2,000 participants to Armenia.  

EBRD Secretary General Kazuhiko Koguchi said at the signing in Samarkand: “We are very pleased to sign this agreement today and we hope for a successful cooperation with the Armenian authorities. Preparations are already underway and we are confident that the event in May will be a big success for guests and the host.”

Vahe Hovhannisyan, Minister of Finance of Armenia and EBRD Governor, commented: “We are delighted to host the Annual Meeting of the EBRD in Armenia in 2024. It will give us the opportunity to showcase our country to a wider audience and attract investments of unprecedented significance.”

The EBRD is one of the leading institutional investors in Armenia. Since the beginning of its operations in the country, it has invested around €2 billion across 206 projects, supporting private sector development and the energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and financial sectors.

AW: Photographs are the Last Witnesses: Project SAVE Archives

Special Issue: Genocide Education for the 21st Century
The Armenian Weekly, April 2023

1. A photograph is many things. It’s a snapshot of a moment and an echo of a memory. In older photographs, it’s both what’s in the photo and the materiality of the photo itself–a valuable, often uncanny object in its own right. Photographs can document and amplify historical events. They can also explore notions of beauty, mystery, time and mortality. Photographs are so visceral and direct that they can elicit empathy and connections among people who might otherwise not understand or know one another’s stories. A powerful photograph will usually do all of the above. 

In communities that have been historically oppressed and scattered, photographs have a vital added function–they are witnesses. And that has been the driving force behind Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, to save and share the dynamic narrative of the Armenian world through photographs and the stories they tell so that they won’t be forgotten.

Founded in 1975, Project SAVE is the largest archive in the world solely dedicated to photographs of the Armenian global experience. Its collections contain over 80,000 hardcopy, original photographs spanning over 160 years and several continents.

Today, the visual image has become a dominant, ubiquitous global language due to intense technological and cultural changes to the point where we take photographs for granted. But in the late 1960s, Project SAVE’s founder Ruth Thomasian instinctively understood the universal impact and importance of photographs, especially when she noticed that in the Armenian world there was little to no focus on preserving and documenting them. Without realizing it, she would become one of the most unique, pioneering individuals in the field of Armenian cultural work. 

Decades later, Project SAVE has become one of the important photography archives in North America.

Palanjian family of Erzinga. This extended Palanjian family had another almost identical photograph taken in 1914–the same matriarch, name not known, sitting in the same photo studio chair in Yerzinga, Historic Armenia, with the same backdrop and carpets. The date of this image is approximated as 1903 by using the age of Shooshanig Palanjian, the young girl at the right with the bow in her hair. Shooshanig had attended Euphrates College in Kharpert, Historic Armenia from 1912 to 1913, but was unable to return as the outbreak of war and the plight of Armenians worsened. Only she survived the Genocide of 1915. Photographer unknown. (Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Courtesy of Araxie Derderian)

2. It’s 1903 and fourteen members of the Palanjian family have gathered in a photo studio in Yerzinga to have a portrait taken. Sitting for a photograph at that time is still mostly for the privileged, so they’re dressed impeccably, like any middle to upper class Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The children and grandchildren are gathered around the matriarch who lovingly holds the infant on her lap. Three of the children grip wildflowers casually in their tiny hands. Two of the girls have big white bows in their hair. Shooshanig, the younger one, sits on the edge of a chair by her mother, feet dangling. Years later, she’s the only one who would survive the Genocide. But for now, as the photograph is snapped, the warmth and bond between them all is evident in their eyes and demeanor. They are full of hope.

Satenig and Ardashes Megerdichian, Tokyo Japan, 1918. Sister and brother escaped the Genocide in Van and made their way to the United States going east through Russia, Siberia, Manchuria, Japan, Seattle and finally, Boston. Before leaving for America, Satenig and Arshag posed for the camera in traditional Japanese kimonos as a souvenir of their time in the country. (Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Courtesy of Kay Danielian Megerdichian)

3. It’s 1918 in Tokyo, Japan. A sister and brother are 5,035 miles away from their home in Van–a home and family no longer there. After escaping from the Genocide, they’ve clung to each other for dear life, somehow stumbling east through Siberia and Manchuria before finding themselves in Tokyo, where they decide to pose for a photo in traditional Japanese garb. Why? Perhaps they’re trying to make sense of a world that isn’t recognizable anymore. Perhaps they need proof that they’re still real and alive. They stare awkwardly past the camera as if to say, We can’t believe any of this this either, and we are scared.

Before the trivialization of photography in the digital age, it was often a ritual of wonderment. The camera was a cutting-edge miracle of modernity. It took time to set up and take one photograph. Nothing was taken for granted, from how the subjects were dressed, to the backdrop, to how people were posed. The taking of a photograph was an event. And the physical photo itself then could be an object of comfort or elucidation, giving people pummeled by massive changes something to hold onto and say, That was us, we were there, and maybe our story matters. 

For Satenig and Ardashes Megerdichian, their story progressed from Tokyo to Seattle and finally to Boston. And that photograph traveled with them as a living relic, to remind them of what was, what wasn’t and what could have been. 

They are gone now, but that photograph lives on at Project SAVE, which means Satenig and Ardashes live on. The survivors of the Genocide and thousands of Armenian immigrants before that and after that are gone, so it’s even more valuable and impactful that they continue to exist in the tens of thousands of photographs in Project SAVE’s collections. They and their stories would be forgotten without the immense photographic evidence painstakingly gathered and cared for in this one organization. 

4. I had never known about Vasken and Berjouhie Ekizian. They were siblings who lived somewhere in the Ottoman Empire with their family. Luckily, their parents could afford to have a portrait taken. So there’s a striking photo from 1910 with little Vasken and Berjouhie dressed beautifully, each one holding a toy in their hands. The photographer thought to stand Berjouhie on a chair to be at the same height as her brother. She places her tiny hand lovingly and confidently on her brother’s shoulder. They look at the camera. Both will be killed in the Genocide a few years later.

Siblings Vasken and Berjouhie Ekizian, c. 1910-1914. Both were later killed in the Genocide. Photographer Unknown. (Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Courtesy of Mary Tooroonjian McDaniel and Alice Tooroonjian Sangster)

But because the photograph survived and is now at Project SAVE, their spirits and relevance can stay alive. We know they existed, mattered, and were part of a vibrant, extensive and historic Armenian community in historic Armenia (much of present day Turkey) because of this one photograph. Imagine if it too did not exist.

Like the Ekizians, the stories from before, during and right after the Armenian Genocide are often fragmented and difficult to piece together into a cohesive narrative, and for good reason. Moving pictures, photographic technology and audio recording were not as ubiquitous as they became by the time of the Holocaust. And the geo-political position of the Ottoman Empire in relation to other world powers, especially in the near apocalyptic chaos of World War I, made it difficult for the Genocide to gain the focus it deserved. There’s also the still stunning fact that the word genocide did not exist at the time (it didn’t exist until Raphael Lemkin coined it in 1944). 

So, beyond the catastrophe unleashed on Ottoman Armenians at a time when there wasn’t the technology to more extensively document it nor the geopolitical will to stop it, there was also no way to talk about it because it was an event that hadn’t been experienced before quite in that manner and on that scale. Consequently, the diaspora has been collectively stuck in the ripple effect of that trauma. And at times, this has negatively impacted the diaspora’s ability to plan and think about a future that’s more imaginative, free of victimhood and centered on where it lives rather than a romanticized faraway country that has its own government, citizens, interests and realities. 

Photographs can be a grounding force that helps recalibrate one’s perspective. Even when we initially don’t recognize the people in photographs, we recognize ourselves somehow. It’s a familiarity and sense of connection that only photographs can ignite. Strangers become familiar and the past seeps into the present so that we can better understand who we are, where we are and what we want to happen next. 

5. It’s the 1920s. Three teenagers become friends in an orphanage in Torino, Italy. The orphanage is run by the Mekhitarists (another important but fragile diasporan entity). Their villages decimated and their families gone, the orphans become one another’s family. Somehow, it’s luckily decided by the administrators to have photographs taken. For whatever reason, these three friends are chosen as the subjects. They’re dressed in crisp white shirts and their hair is shiny and combed. Without knowing the context, one might think they’re the usual close school friends and not orphans who’ve survived a massive historical trauma. The girl in the middle leans her head gently towards the one on the left. They both give a look that’s almost typical of a teenager, aloof and cool (or trying to be). The girl on the right clasps her hands on the middle one’s shoulder and rests her head while smiling at the camera. She has a watch or bracelet on her delicate wrist.

Orphans of the Armenian Genocide Mekhitarist (Armenian Roman Catholic) Orphanage, Torino, Italy, mid-1920s. Photographer Unknown. (Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Courtesy of Adrina Boyajian Tutunjian)

We don’t know their names or where they ended up after this photograph. But because this photograph is safe and sound at Project SAVE, we know that they existed. We can preserve and share their part in the broader, diverse story of that period.  

Nevart Chalikian with her first husband Garabed Zakarian on a beach. Exact location and date unknown, c. late 1920s-early 1930s. Photographer Unknown. (Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Courtesy of Nevart Hadji Bedrosian Chalikian)

The years right after the Genocide were profoundly bittersweet. Those who survived had to pick up the pieces and continue somehow. And part of being able to survive is finding a way to have hope again. It was those people who laid the foundations for the dynamic and vibrant communities in the diaspora around the world. People like Garabed Zakarian and Nevart Chalikian, Genocide survivors who found themselves on a beach in the United States around fifteen years after losing everything. They sit for a photograph with poise and warmth, two broken people transforming themselves into Americans.

Most of the people in the photographs at Project SAVE are in the process of becoming. In addition to being Armenian, they are becoming Syrian, French, American, Egyptian, Argentinian, Canadian, Lebanese, Greek, Polish, British, Cuban, Bulgarian–they are becoming a part of the fabric of their new home countries. In this way, the immense photographic archive at Project SAVE is also a unique visual record of the countless countries that Armenians have called home, where they reclaimed hope.

6. Over one hundred years after the Genocide, there are forces yet again that want to erase or lie about the existence of Armenians. Project SAVE continues to make sure they don’t succeed. For nearly 50 years, it has cataloged over 80,000 photographs that provide direct and clear evidence of the rich and expansive culture and history of Armenians over the past 160 years. But there needs to be renewed investment so that organizations like Project SAVE can grow into their true potential to have more sustainable and long-term impact on a larger scale; otherwise we’re just talking to ourselves and preaching to the choir. 

Three teenagers in Torino look out at us from the past. Small children and elderly parents in Yerzinga look out at us. Brothers and sisters, friends and strangers look out at us. They look at us from Tokyo, the United States, the Ottoman Empire, from everywhere Armenians have had vibrant, complicated, sad, beautiful lives, no matter how short or long. They all live on at Project SAVE Photograph Archives. They look out at us from photographs and ask, What’s the plan to reimagine, rejuvenate and properly invest in diaspora organizations that we helped build and that have given so much to the Armenian community and beyond? 

Organizations like Project SAVE will not exist forever without larger investments and connecting to the wider world. Those who came before us did their best to create vibrant communities even though they could have easily folded under the weight of grief and the struggles of immigrant life. Many of them now exist in the photographs at Project SAVE. They are witnesses to what was and what is. What happens next is up to you and me.

A former editor of the Armenian Weekly, Arto Vaun, Ph.D. is a musician, poet and the executive director of Project Save Armenian Photograph Archives. Previously, he was assistant professor and chair of the English and Communications bachelor of arts program at the American University of Armenia (AUA), where he also founded and directed the Center for Creative Writing. He studied English literature, creative writing and Armenian studies at UMass Boston, Harvard University and Glasgow University. He holds a Ph.D. in creative writing from Huddersfield University. As a poet and musician, he has published and performed widely. Vaun has utilized photography not only in his academic career but also in his art.

PODCASTS The 30-year genocide: When Turkey destroyed its Christians

Greece – May 19 2023
On May 19 we commemorate the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus, a chapter of a broader genocide perpetrated by the Turkish state in the early 20th century against its Christian inhabitants that resulted in the deaths of more than 2.5 million Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Professor Dror Ze’evi, the co-author of the book “The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924,” joins Thanos Davelis to look into how Turkey’s Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian communities disappeared as a result of a staggered campaign of genocide. 

Listen to the podcast at  

Foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan to meet in Moscow on Friday

Al-Arabiya, UAE
May 17 2023

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are set to meet in Moscow on Friday for talks on resolving a decades-long territorial dispute, Russia said.

The meeting follows several rounds of talks led by the European Union and United States.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Brussels and Washington’s increased diplomatic engagement in the Caucasus has irked traditional regional power-broker Russia.

A meeting involving the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan “will take place in Moscow on May 19,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

Before the trilateral talks the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, are expected to discuss a draft peace treaty, she said.

Baku and Yerevan fought two wars — in 2020 and in the 1990s — for control of Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Six weeks of hostilities in autumn 2020 ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

Yerevan has grown increasingly frustrated over what it calls Moscow’s failure to protect Armenia in the face of military threat from Azerbaijan.

With Russia bogged down in Ukraine and unwilling to strain ties with Azerbaijan’s key ally Turkey, the United States and European Union have sought to steer the talks.

On Sunday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels for a new round of talks hosted by European Council President Charles Michel.

Another meeting between Pashinyan and Aliyev was set for June 1 in Moldova and is expected to involve French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Rocket from Gaza kills Armenian woman in Israel

Armenia –

PanARMENIAN.Net - A member of the Armenian community in Israel was killed when a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building in the central Israeli city of Rehovot, Artyom Chernamorian, the president of Nairi Union of Israeli-Armenians of Petah Tikva, said on social media Friday, May 12.

80-year-old pensioner Inga Abrahamyan was killed by the rocket explosion in her 3-story house. Her husband, meanwhile, was among 12 people who were injured in the blast.

Chernamorian said that since 2008, the Armenian community had had no victims in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

According to a report from the BBC, it was the first fatality in Israel since it began an operation against PIJ on Tuesday morning with a series of air strikes that killed another three of the group's commanders.

ECHR rejects request for provisional measures against Armenia because jailed Azeri soldiers’ rights are duly guaranteed




YEREVAN, MAY 11, ARMENPRESS. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected an application filed by the families of the two Azerbaijani soldiers who are currently jailed in Armenia seeking provisional measures against Armenia.

The family members of the two Azeri servicemen claimed that their relatives are being ill-treated in Armenian detention. However, the Armenian government presented evidence to the ECHR that the rights of the Azeri servicemen envisaged under the convention are guaranteed in Armenia.

The ECHR rejected the request for provisional measures based on the Armenian government’s presented stance, the Office of the Representative of Armenia for International Legal Affairs said in a press release.