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Articles and reports in Azad-Hye: December 2009 2009-12-31

Hrach Kalsahakian prepared the following reports and articles in Azad-Hye in December 2009. Click the link for each article.

Seto Baghdassarian: Armenians are embracing the karaoke concept

Songwriter, composer, arranger, guitar and keyboard player Seto Baghdassarian has been to the UAE several times during Armenian ball events.

He has accompanied many Armenian singers (like Addis Harmandian, Harout Pamboukdjian, Karnig Sarkissian, Rayissa Megerditchian, Nune Yessayan, Martin Yorgants, Yorgy Minassian, Antoine Bezdjian, Vicken Dischekenian, Hratch Gaidzagian, Garo Gaboudagian, Shake Baghdassarian, Joseph Krikorian, Manoug Minassian, Norair Kazandjian...) in the Middle East, Europe, Australia and America.

Recently his name was associated with promoting karaoke music.

Hrach Kalsahakian had the following interview with him.

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Wishes for a better 2010 for Iraqi Armenians

A top UN envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert issued Christmas and the New Year wishes to all Iraqi and in particularly Iraqi Christians.  

In his statement released on the Christmas Eve, Melkert, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), highly valued the role of the Christians in Iraq: "Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities are not only an integral part of Iraqi society, but they are a critical component in shaping the future of the country,” he commented.

He also refered to the historical contribution of the Iraqi Christians in maintaining the country's unique social fabric and preserving national unity.

Hrach Kalsahakian writes about the situation of Iraqi Armenians, wishing them all the best in 2010.

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Varouj restaurant in Bourj Hammoud

Hrach Kalsahakian refers to an article about Varouj Restaurant in Bourj Hammoud, adding information about other Armenian eating locations in the Beirut. 

Seth Sherwood signed an interesting article in the travel section of "The New York Times" (27 December 2009), in which he introduced some of the most popular and trendy restaurants in Beirut.

Lebanese cuisine is a well known and established Middle Eastern cuisine, with a strong presence in almost all big cities in the world, escpecially in the Middle East, Gulf Region and Europe.    

The article featured five restaurants: Abd el Wahab, Varouj, Walimt Wardeh, Istambouli and Le Chef.

Varouj Restaurant is an Armenian-owned restaurant in the Bourj Hammoud neighborhood.

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Armenian church excavation work continues in Tarnovo

Hrach Kalsahakian explores the news about a newly excavated Armenian church in Bulgaria. 

Excavation work is being continued in a location believed to be the site of a medieval Armenian church in the city of Veliko Tarnovo, 240 kilometres in the northeast of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

The city with about 70 thousand inhabitants is the administrative centre of the Veliko Tarnovo Province. It is often referred as the "City of the Tsars", as it has been the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and the location where the first Bulgarian constitution was ratified in 1879. 

A city with unique architecture and picturesque location on Yantra River, Veliko Tarnovo has been a cosmopolitan city with many merchants belonging to different ethnicities and religions living in special neighborhoods. Considerable Armenian, Catholic and Jewish population has been living there besides the dominant Bulgarian population.

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War of words on Indian Armenian topics

Indian Armenian topics had always been in the center of Hrach Kalsahakian's attention. With this article he gives details about two personalities (a researcher and a church representative) who disagreed on the details related to the community's past and present.

Hermineh Adamyan, a graduate of Pedagogical State University in Armenia (Department of History), specialist in teaching World History has been in India since June 2009 in a one-year assignment as Armenian History teacher in the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy in Kolkata, (Calcutta). 

Few weeks after residing in Kolkata, Adamyan posted several articles in the website of the Investigative Journalists of Armenia (www.hetq.am), where she wrote about here first impressions in India. She was particularly uncomfortable seeing people living in poor conditions. "I thought to myself - My God, how can anyone possibly live like this? This stifling street would lead us to Mirza Ghalib Street where the Armenian College, our home and workplace for the next year, is located", she commented.

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A pilgrimage to Armenian Cilicia

Father Karekin Bedourian and friends made a pilgrimage to historical Cilicia. Hrach Kalsahakian translated the article into English and enriching it with additional information and details.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Adana Massacres.

A pilgrimage to the Medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and the surrounding areas.

Years, decades and a centuries may pass, but Armenian wounds will not be healed, unless justice is done.

In the summer of 2009 and on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Adana Massacres (1909) a group of pilgrims headed to Cilicia and the surrounding areas. The pilgrimage was organized by Father Karekin Bedourian and administered by Vartan Sarmazian

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Armenian Schools Committee formed after disagreement

Hrach Kalsahakian refers to Vartkes Mahdessian's letter and efforts to form the Armenian Schools Committee in Cyprus.

The Armenian Nareg Schools in Cyprus are the only educational establishments that teach Armenian language in Cyprus after the closure of Melkonian Educational Institute in 2005.

Nareg schools are available in Nicosia, Larnaka and Limassol (see photo album below about Nareg Limassol).  

At the end of the 5 year term of the current Armenian Schools Committee, the Armenian Representative in the Cypriot House of Representative Vartkes Mahdessian contacted individuals of experience in the field of education and brought together a balanced team to undertake the mission of resolving the existing problems. The team looked capable of bringing about the long-awaited changes in the educational system in the Nareg schools. Mahdessian recommended individuals from all factions of the society, a policy far from previous practices.

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Roupen Hovsepian celebrates his 70th anniversary with a visit to Aleppo

At the end of a tour that covered Syria and Lebanon, renown Armenian intellectual and writer Roupen Hovsepian (Ruben Hovsepyan) met with the members of Hamazkayin (Armenian Cultural and Educational Association) in Aleppo on 06 December 2009 and shared with them his thoughts and concerns. The meeting took place in Levon Shant community hall in the "Villat" area and was organized on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the thinker's birthday.
 
Prose writer Hovsepian presented the stance of the Armenian intelligentsia regarding the Armenian - Turkish protocols, signed last October. Another topic was the position of the Armenian intellectuals regarding the relations between the two countries (Armenia and Turkey). 

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Armenia and UAE sign agreement to combat human trafficking

Hrach Kalsahakian reports on the visit of the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to Yerevan. 

Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Yerevan. 

On 05 December 2009, Dr. Gargash met Armen Gevorgyan, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister (photo below), who welcomed the distinguished guest and his delegation, stressing the importance of exchanging visits between officials from both sides, along with the cooperation between the private sector businesses in the two countries.

This was the third high ranking visit of UAE official to Armenia this year. In March 2009, Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, UAE Foreign Trade Minister paid a three day visit to Armenia, while in June 2009, UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan made a stop in Yerevan, at the end of his grand diplomatic tour of Europe that covered 12 countries.

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Nazik Avdalyan world champion in weightlifting

Nazik Avdalyan (69 kg) lifted 119 kg in the snatch and 147 kg in the clean and jerk, with a total of 266 kg, winning the small gold in both categories and thus the big gold medal in her weight category at World Weightlifting Championships 2009 in Goyang, South Korea.

She became the world champion. This was the first gold medal for Armenia in any game following the 2008 Olympic Games.

Avdalyan said that she could feel the support of her people and this helped her maintain herself calm and concentrate on her part.

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Kevork Sioufi: A new journey in the path of Armenian music

In the 1960-70s, Middle East Armenian societies in Beirut and Aleppo witnessed the rise of several performers, who introduced a new wave in the Diaspora Armenian musical traditions. 

Names like Maxim Panossian, Manuel Menengichian, Adis Harmandian, Paul Baghdadlian, George Tutunjian, and others managed to overthrow the dominance of Turkish songs, which were still listened by the Turkish speaking generations and introduced Armenian songs. 

Since then many new performers appeared in both Beirut and Aleppo and kept this tradition alive.

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