The newly appointed Ambassador of Israel to Armenia presents credentials to President Vahagn Khachaturyan

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 18:07,

YEREVAN, JUNE 29, ARMENPRESS. On June 29, the newly appointed Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Armenia Joel Lion (residence in Jerusalem) presented his credentials to President Vahagn Khachaturyan.

As ARMENPRESS was informed from the press service of the President’s Office, the President of Armenia congratulated the Ambassador, wishing him success in his responsible mission.

Ambassador Joel Lion noted that he will make maximum efforts for expanding and deepening the Armenian-Israeli cooperation.

The sides stressed that there is a great potential for expanding the cooperation between the two countries; it is necessary to take steps to give qualitatively new content to the bilateral agenda.

The Double Edge of Livestreaming in Our Communities

Rev. Samuel Ajemian delivering his sermon at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, January 30, 2022 (Photo: Tamar Kanarian)

As the cloud of the COVID pandemic slowly and stubbornly fades from our daily lives, our communities are returning to public events. It is similar to a community reappearing after a storm that drove everyone indoors and forced an unnatural state of isolation. The pandemic forced us to explore new ways of working, eating, socializing and communicating. The aftermath of COVID is analogous to a tide receding or a swamp draining and the discovery of what remains in the absence of the water. Humans have an instinct for survival that has been a hallmark for centuries. The threats to our survival, whether natural or man induced, have always given birth to new branches that adjust to these obstacles. It is called the continuum of our civilization. During this most recent viral challenge, we were forced to abandon many of our natural behaviors – socialization and communication. The advancement of technology played a major role in providing alternatives in order to continue some semblance of our economy and social relations. There is nothing that replaces the quality of face-to-face contact, but in its absence, tools were available that enabled much needed interfacing. New words were quickly added to our daily vocabulary such as “Zoom” and “streaming” that became important methods of maintaining some semblance of normalcy.

The Armenian community in the United States and elsewhere was, of course, severely hampered in its mission of providing spiritual, educational and social services to the general population. Almost overnight, traditional gatherings that we often took for granted, such as bazaars, badarak, Sunday School and cultural events were canceled for a period of time and slowly reappeared with significant constraints. Social distancing, vaccines, masks and other protocols, unheard of a year earlier, became a daily practice in order to restart what had been shuttered. Our communities have slowly returned to a likeness of the previous state as we learn to live with COVID in our society.

As the tide recedes, many of the protocols and alternatives have been retired as public buildings and cultural centers reopen. My wife and I have personally witnessed the cancellation of a Broadway show, attending with masks and vaccination cards, masks only and now a relatively unconstrained activity. In our communities, it has been challenging to find a protocol that the populace is comfortable with since our communities are diverse in age and views. Our institutions have done an admirable job of following local and state guidelines to return to public events and celebrate badarak. In a situation as complex as COVID, there will always be a variety of opinions as to whether our policies were overly restrictive or lenient. At the end of the day, individuals make their own decisions based on their comfort levels and the slow return of our infrastructure reflects that struggle. 

What has remained in our churches and many organizations is the ability to “livestream” the event on Facebook or some other platform. When the pandemic emerged in early spring 2020, the use of streaming technology was a lifesaver to provide programming to a community that had been suddenly cut off from a conditioned routine. I will offer two such examples. The ability to livestream badarak on a social platform allowed the church to engage the faithful, albeit virtually, and to minimize the number of live individuals (essentially the priest, altar servers and choir). As we learned more about how to contain the virus, certain protocols were introduced, such as distancing, masks and controlling Holy Communion, to allow the return of the faithful. In a relatively short period of time, virtually all parishes in the region began offering livestreaming of the badarak with in-person protocols. The use of this technology was tremendously beneficial, not only for the continuity of providing a spiritual outlet, but also for providing access to the badarak for those unable to participate. Imagine the joy for those who cannot get to a church to be able to hear the sweet hymns and participate in praising our Lord according to the traditions of the Armenian church. The one area that cannot be fulfilled with virtual attendance is the receiving of the Holy Eucharist. There have been opportunities, however, when the priest will subsequently visit to offer communion to the individuals. Of course, with the introduction of any technology, there is the risk that it will be used in unintended ways. During the peak of COVID, the majority of those attending badarak used the virtual method. As a return to in-person services began, many did not return either out of fear or general convenience. We have to keep in mind that everyone’s comfort level with this virus operates at different levels. Unfortunately during the pandemic, we got very used to being at home for everything. People who had hardly heard of Netflix became routine “binge watchers.” Using our computer to attend badarak was the only option and for many has become a habit that’s hard to break. The church has struggled with this in my view. On the one hand, a great service is being provided to those previously removed. In fact, on any given Sunday morning, you can pick a number of churches “to attend.” This week, I’ll “go” to the cathedral in New York and next week my home parish…all from my living room.

When the mobile phone was introduced, it began as a wonderful option for emergencies and other necessary communication. It has evolved into an extended appendage for most people who cannot function without instantaneous responses to the latest text. A valid question to ask is whether the livestreaming is also constraining in-person attendance while opening other doors. A paradox? This is a very serious question that requires the leadership of the church to analyze and perhaps introduce some adjustments to keep it focused on the benefit.

Another example in our community is live programming. When the pandemic hit, livestreaming was expanded by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) as the singular method of providing programming on Armenian Studies. Prior to the virus, there had been limited use of the technology. Its application exploded during the most constrained days of COVID and revealed some interesting results. With live programming no longer held at NAASR’s Vartan Gregorian Building in Belmont, lecturers and panelists could participate from their homes, thus reducing expenses and simplifying the administrative process. Additionally, those attending could register from virtually anywhere in the world where internet access was available. As a result, the number of programs and participation significantly increased. As a result of feedback mechanisms, there seemed to be no appreciable reduction in quality or attendee satisfaction. This has been attributed to the improvement in internet quality, functionality of the Zoom platform (seminar format, Q&A function, etc.) and ability to literally maintain all the experiences of an in-person function except face-to-face contact. This process contributed to an explosion in the programming offering, new collaborative options and an exciting use of resources from around the globe (including Armenia, Artsakh and Europe). The new NAASR building remained closed while this programming expansion took place. In April, the center reopened to programming and other public activities. At this point, it is referred to as “hybrid,” in that both in-person and livestreaming are offered. The question remains as to what the impact is of livestreaming events for people who are able to attend at the center. There is no doubt that the expansive benefits are clear as new audiences are receiving the benefit of the technology. Will the in-person attendance return to pre-pandemic levels in addition to the geographically diverse audience? That would be a clear win for the technology and the incremental benefit for the mission of Armenian studies. We will see in the coming academic year as hybrid programming is fully implemented.

It is a tribute to the resilience of our communities that they responded and adapted in such a manner. Armenians are very traditional, and change is difficult. But, we are also survivalists who have an instinct for adapting when threatened. There is no playbook for the COVID or post-COVID period. We are feeling the effects of reaction as we see supply chain shortages and staffing issues across the board in our nation. Those who anticipate correctly emerge stronger from this debacle. It is critically important for our communities to return to a robust state with in-person participation. It is equally important to embrace the improvements we have discovered during these dark days. We have found ways to reach new audiences. It is up to us to maintain the gains while recovering what we have lost. We have discussed in this column new educational methods to link the home and Sundays with technology. Now would be an opportune time to take what we have learned into new programs that address our pre-COVID challenges (which are still there). If we choose to, we can almost view the post-COVID window as resetting the clock to address new ideas as our infrastructure was frozen for a period. This is not a time for us to breathe a sigh of relief that this is over, and we can return to the old ways. To varying degrees, the old ways are gone. The “new” normal is here. 

The challenge for our community leaders is to accept the new opportunities created by technology while retaining the traditional audiences. Difficult times always reveal silver linings if we look hard enough. Our alternative methods of functioning gave us the ability to reach new segments of our scattered nation. This is a blessing that should not be lost by simply returning to pre-COVID norms. These discoveries will strengthen our communities. It is a double edge dilemma, but incremental gains come with the need for creativity. Technology should not be used as a means to make us less interactive or less communal. It is a tool for improving communication where obstacles such as distance and physical limits have prevented access. This must be emphasized so we don’t become a community of remote participants. It should not be an “either or.” We should embrace this as a challenge and advocate for growth and prosperity.

Columnist
Stepan was raised in the Armenian community of Indian Orchard, MA at the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Executive and the Eastern Prelacy Executive Council, he also served many years as a delegate to the Eastern Diocesan Assembly. Currently , he serves as a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired executive in the computer storage industry and resides in the Boston area with his wife Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer teacher of Armenian history and contemporary issues to the young generation and adults at schools, camps and churches. His interests include the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports and reading.


Diplomatic school of Armenia praised reforms in Kazakhstan

 

YEREVAN. KAZINFORM – Ambassador of Kazakhstan Bolat Imanbayev met with the Rector of the Diplomatic School of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Vahe Gabrielyan, during which issues of developing bilateral cooperation in the field of training and advanced training of diplomatic personnel were discussed, Kazinform has learned from the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry. 

The Ambassador informed about the focal points of the State-to-the-Nation Address of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev «New Kazakhstan: the path of renewal and modernization», aimed at large-scale political and socio-economic transformation of the country, as well as the results of the nationwide referendum on amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, held on June 5, 2022. Having highly appreciated the initiatives of the Head of State, Gabrielyan noted the consistent course of the leadership of the Republic of Kazakhstan in carrying out reforms and building a New Kazakhstan in the face of modern global challenges. 

During the conversation, the possibilities of establishing contacts between the diplomatic institutions of the two countries were also considered. Having congratulated on the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic service of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Gabrielyan drew attention to the high-level achievements of Kazakhstani diplomacy. He also said that this year Armenia and Kazakhstan are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the Armenian side is ready to further deepen cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats, including in the humanitarian and educational sphere.


Decision of Civil Contract: Ishkhan Saghatelyan to be dismissed from post of Deputy Speaker of Armenian Parliament

ARMINFO
Armenia –
Alina Hovhannisyan

ArmInfo. Ishkhan Saghatelyan will be dismissed from the post of Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament. This was stated by secretary of the Civil Contract  faction Artur Hovhannisyan, referring to the results of the meeting  of the Civil Contract, during which the corresponding decision was  made.  In addition, Vahe Hakobyan, chairman of the Standing  Parliamentary Commission on Economic Affairs, will also leave his  post.

According to him, the basis of such a decision is the non-fulfillment  of their official duties by the latter.  Speaking specifically about  Ishkhan Saghatelyan, the Secretary of the Civil Contract noted: "The  public saw that de facto Ishkhan Saghatelyan had never been the  Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, and therefore we made such a  decision," Hovhannisyan said.

Armenian PM’s spouse attends event marking 35th anniversary of foundation of Parsamian College in Nice, France

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 14:52,

YEREVAN, JUNE 27, ARMENPRESS. On June 26 Anna Hakobyan, the spouse of the Armenian prime minister, was hosted at the Parsamian cultural complex in Nice on the sidelines of her visit in France. She was accompanied by High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs of Armenia Zareh Sinanyan, Anna Hakobyan’s Office said.

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The PM’s spouse toured the college, got acquainted with the history of the foundation of school, the key events and traditions.

The Parsamian College is celebrating this year the 35th anniversary of its foundation. 85 students study in the College now. The school has maintained the entire component of the Armenian language.

Anna Hakobyan had a meeting with the executives of the College, the representatives of the community, and members of Parliament. The exchange of views was followed by an event marking the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the College.

The leadership of the College thanked Anna Hakobyan for accepting the invitation to participate in the event, highlighting the importance of her visit both for the College and the Armenian community of Nice.

In his remarks Member of Parliament Éric Ciotti said his close ties with the Armenian community have a history of decades. He expressed hope that the Armenian-French ties will further intensify thanks to the current leadership of Armenia. “In 2018 we were closely following the events in Armenia. What the Armenian people did led by Mr. Pashinyan was a major step of democracy”, he said.

In her turn Anna Hakobyan said that the Armenian community of France with its rich history and heritage, high reputation within the French society, is one of the most important communities of the Diaspora.

“When I received the invitation on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the Parsamian College, I couldn’t reject it because any topic connected with education is familiar and close to me. Parsamian College is really unique: being a French public school, it keeps the entire component of Armenian education while teaching, starting from Armenian language up to Armenian culture, song, dance and theater”, Anna Hakobyan said.

She highlighted the fact that the first congress of Armenian schools of Diaspora was held in the Parsamian College.

“Let us once again express our gratitude to the founder philanthropists of the school – Thoros, Lucy and Suzanne Parsamian. Let there be many such significant jubilees in the Armenian community of Côte d'Azur, let Armenian topics always remain on agenda and be discussed in the native language”, Anna Hakobyan said, expressing hope that their next meeting will take place in Yerevan.

Chinese tourist: Policeman sexually assaulted me in Yerevan

NEWS.am
Armenia –

Chinese Lei Manna, who came to Armenia as a tourist in early June, claims that she was recently sexually assaulted by a police officer in Yerevan.

"In Yerevan, the policeman touched my body, and I found myself in an awkward situation. The incident took place on 2 June, that day I applied to the police because the hotel did not return my money. When the police arrived, I was standing near the hotel. One of them touched my chest with his hand and squeezed it, then put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I will protect you, I will be with you." And when we were in the car, where there were two other policemen and an interpreter beside us, he hugged me and said, "You are beautiful." I think I was sexually assaulted. I felt very bad because that man touched me," the Chinese tourist told NEWS.am.

Lei Manna tried to report the incident to the police, but the police refused to accept the report, saying that there were no elements of a crime in the incident. The Chinese woman told us the name of the policeman, which we do not publish. "The police told me that it was nothing and they could not process my application, but for me, it is not. A police officer on duty in China has no right to touch a woman's body. They can hold hand or touch hair, but not the chest. The policeman would be held responsible for that in China. "

Armenia presents its information technology adavnces at Orion summit in Yerevan



  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Orion technology summit in Armenia

“Armenia has a great potential for success in the field of information technology”, both the organizers of the Orion Summit technology conference and its participants declared one after another.

The founders and representatives of foreign tech giants have arrived to participate in the summit.

The event is organized by the Orion Worldwide Innovations Center for Startup Growth and Connected Ecosystems.


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Orion Summit is held for the first time. The goal of the technology summit is to support Armenian startups and to give them the opportunity meet the world’s largest tech companies.

During the conference, the most relevant topics for the development of the IT sector, and the techno sector were discussed. The participants of the summit paid special attention to the possibilities of creating future Armenian Unicorn companies (private start-up companies, the value of which exceeds $ 1 billion in 10 years from the moment of their creation). The directions of “development of the fast-growing Armenian market” and the launch of the “Digital Julfa Network” were also discussed.

The Digital Julfa Network initiative, as conceived by its authors, should unite the technological, commercial and cultural potential of Armenia, and help strengthen Armenia’s intellectual position in the world.

“The 300-year-old network of Armenian merchants in New Julfa was a powerful trade route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. Now, as an evolution of world-class innovation, we are creating the Digital Julfa Network, which will bring together the technological, financial, business, legal and cultural potential of Armenia,” said Emma Arakelyan, Director and Founder of Orion Worldwide Innovations.

Representatives of both Armenian and leading foreign companies Adobe, SADA, Embodied, cognaize, Scylla, Grand Thornton, Startup Lithuania spoke during the discussions.

As a possible impetus for the rapid development of Armenian startups, the possibility of “mergers and acquisitions” was discussed.

The aim of the organizers and partners of the summit is to achieve global growth through mergers and acquisitions, promote the growth of Armenia’s GDP, and create a model of success for other emerging markets.

About 2,500 companies are registered in the Armenian startup system. The summit participants believe that in the event of a merger and enlargement, they will be able to become more competitive in the international market.

Over the past 2.5 years, the number of electric cars in Armenia has increased significantly. However, experts believe that the government could do more to encourage people to buy them

According to the Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry of Armenia, Orion Summit is an initiative that really contributes to the development of the information technology sector.

David Sahakyan stressed that the summit has become a platform both for clarifying the problems of the sphere and for a joint search for solutions with international partners. In addition, he said, the event was a good occasion for the department to inform about its programs for the development of the sphere.

In particular, the ministry organizes courses on cybersecurity, blockchain, engineering, artificial intelligence, and technological entrepreneurship.

“We are positioning Armenia based not on today’s needs, but on the basis of future needs”, David Sahakyan stressed.

Orion Worldwide Innovations was founded in 2017 in the USA, and is engaged in the growth and development of startups. With offices in New York and Yerevan, Orion works with organizations around the world, including investor networks.

In 2023, the Orion summit will be held in New York and then in Frankfurt.

https://jam-news.net/armenia-presents-its-information-technology-adavnces-at-orion-summit-in-yerevan/

Asbarez: Opposition Leader Resigns from Parliament

Artur Vanetsyan


Armenia’s former national security chief-turned opposition leader Artur Vanetsyan on Tuesday announced that he is resigning his seat in parliament and is leaving the “I Have Honor” alliance, which he led since the group was elected to parliament last year.

Vanetsyan’s Homeland Party and the Republican Party of Armenia led by former president Serzh Sarkisian formed the small “I Have Honor” alliance, which together with the largest parliamentary opposition faction, the Armenia Alliance, has been holding protests calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

“Today, in the manner prescribed by law, I have submitted a petition to resign from my parliamentary mandate. (…). The reason is obvious: the RA citizen had voted for us to stop the destructive activities of these authorities and to bring the country out of the disaster. However, in my opinion, this parliament has ceased to be an effective platform for achieving the goal,” said Vanetsyan in an announcement he publicized on Tuesday.

“The Board of the Homeland Party has made a decision to continue [its] activities outside the parliament. By the decision of the party, the ‘With Honor’ bloc we formed with the [former ruling] RPA party [hereby] de jure and de facto ceases to exist,” added Vanetsyan.

Before the “Resistance” Movement began its more than month-long street protests, Vanetsyan began a sit in Yerevan in protest of the government’s policies toward Armenia and Artsakh. His one-man protest was overshadowed by the thousands of protesters who marched onto the streets in support of the opposition movement.

Last month, as the “Resistance” Movement protests were taking place on daily basis, Vanetsyan was observed on plane leaving Armenia.

Per Armenia’s Constitution, Vanetsyan has seven days to withdraw his resignation. If such a request is not submitted or articulated his resignation will go into effect.

Iran is there for all its friends in tough times, president tells senior Armenian MP

Panorama
Armenia – June 16 2022

Iran stands with all its friends in hard times, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said hosting an Armenian parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Alen Simonyan on Thursday.

“We are there for all our friends in tough times. On our happy days everybody can be next to everybody, but the real companionship and friendship are displayed during the hardships,” the Armenian National Assembly quoted his as saying.

Raisi attached importance to the cooperation of the legislative bodies in strengthening of the current warm relations between Armenia and Iran.

The officials referred to the bilateral economic relations and the implementation of the joint infrastructure projects.

The Armenian side highly values the mutual agreements in the spheres of energy and transport, the parliament speaker said.

“I should also note that in the context of the development of transport communications the establishment of the railway link between Armenia and Iran is among issues high on our agenda,” Simonyan noted.

He briefed the Iranian leader on the situation in the wake of the war unleashed against Artsakh by the Azerbaijani-Turkish tandem, the humanitarian problems and the issue of protection of the Armenian historical and cultural heritage fallen under Azerbaijan’s control. Alen underscored that Azerbaijani authorities destroy the valuable heritage, and Iran can serve as an example to Azerbaijan regarding the matter.

At the meeting, the consistent efforts made by Iran in establishing peace and stability in the region were highlighted.

Azerbaijan defense minister inspects construction of military facilities in Artsakh’s Karvachar and Kashatagh

News.am
Armenia –

The Azerbaijani defense minister inspected the military facilities under construction in the currently Azerbaijani-occupied Karvachar and Kashatagh regions of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

“The Minister of Defense Colonel General Zakir Hasanov and the leadership of the Ministry got acquainted with the work carried out at the military facilities being under construction in Kalbajar [(Karvachar)] and Lachin [(Kashatagh)],” the Azerbaijani defense ministry noted in a statement.

“It was reported that the construction of barracks and office premises, a bath and laundry complex, a medical point, and other infrastructure facilities, as well as their provision with modern equipment, are planned to organize military police service at a high level,” the statement added.

Then Hasanov inspected the logistics’ warehouses under construction.