Hrach Kalsahakian prepared the following reports and articles in Azad-Hye in November 2009. Click the link for each article.
Armenia Fund raises about 16 million dollars for Karabakh
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund (Armenia Fund) announced that it has received about $16 million in donations pledges from Armenians around the world during the 12th version of its popular Armenian annual fundraising campaign.
The money will be used in a variety of social and economic infrastructure projects in the major Karabakh town of Shushi. The strategically positioned town overlooking Stepanakert sustained heavy damage during the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan. Two years ago the Government of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh declared the reconstruction of Shushi as a top priority. Though much of the town is still in ruins, the fundraising will provide Shushi with a chance for revival.
Armenian Church Saint Gevorg of Mughni collapsed in Tbilisi
Hrach Kalsahakian finds out more about the circumstances that led to the destruction of the church.
A major section of a 14th century Armenian church Saint Gevorg of Mughni, including the dome and a wall, collapsed on Abo Tbileli street, Sololaki District, in the old part of the Georgian capital Tbilisi on 19 November 2009. The incident occurred late at night.
The collapse came as a result of years of neglect by the Georgian authorities to repair the historic church. Under Georgian law, the Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Georgia has no legal status and thus all Armenian churches are placed under the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church.
The church which had been closed since the early 1990s was in a state of rapid deterioration. Recent rains further exacerbated the damage to the church. St. Gevorg of Mughni is one of the five churches for which St. Echmiadzin addressed a number of letters to the Georgian Patriarch and authorities to return it to the Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Georgia.
Turkey and Azerbaijan escalate pressure on Armenia
Hrach Kalsahakian refers to the protocols between Armenia and Turkey. He explains the pressures exercised by the Turkish and Azeri sides on Armenia in order to gain maximum political benefit.
Just hours before the 22 November 2009 meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev stated that his country will resort to settling the conflict of Karabakh by military means, in case the meeting fails to produce progress in the settlement.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian characterized the Azeri war-mongering statement as a "certain type of pressure", that would "create negative impression for the international community.”
In a joint statement issued by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France, USA) reference was made to "progress" in the meeting between the two presidents. The statement said: "During this meeting, the sixth such meeting this year, the two presidents engaged in a detailed and in-depth discussion of the most important unresolved points in the co-chairs' proposals. The talks, which lasted almost four hours, were constructive. In some areas, progress was made. At the same time, some issues still remain open".
Catholicos Aram meets with leaders of three Armenian traditional parties
The recent political developments in Armenia - Turkey relations and the signing of the two Protocols aiming at the possible normalization of the relations (if the Protocols were ratified by the Parliaments of both countries in the coming period), led to intensive consultations between the leading Armenian parties and other establishments in the Diaspora.
The opposition against the signing of the Protocols was clearly expressed by the traditional Armenian parties and their followers during President Serzh Sargsyan's tour to several cities with large Diaspora population, immediately before their signing. The hastily arranged tour did not yield the expected results and many in the Diaspora remained skeptical about the process of developing normal relations with Turkey prior to the recognition of the Genocide. Although the Armenian officials insist there are no preconditions in the signed Protocols, the continuous announcements made by Turkish officials do not enhance this viewpoint.
Information security seminar in Noravank Foundation
Hrach Kalsahakian has visited in the past Noravank Foundation in Yerevan, Armenia and has been introduced to the work done by this research center. Below he describes one of the seminars dedicated to an important topic: information securty.
The Autumn 2009 seminar on Information Security started at Noravank Foundation on 10 November 2009.
After the welcoming speech made by the Foundation’s Director Gagik Harutyunyan (see photo), the topics of the first session were discussed.
The 45 participants included representatives of public administration, educational and public institutions, analytical centers and other organizations interested in the subject, in addition to university students.
Gagik Harutyunyan presented two topics: “National Ideology and Information Security”, “Information Security Problems in the Armenian Reality”.
Setrak Sarkissian: Middle East leading drummer receives award
On November 6, 2009 during a reception at the Gulbenkian Hall in the Cilicia Museum (Antelias, Lebanon), His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia, awarded Setrak Sarkissian with the St. Mesrob Mashdotz medal in the presence of Lebanese and Armenian politicians, men and women of art and literature.
In his opening word, poet Sarkis Giragossian reflected on the 50 years of prolific life of the celebrated artist.
Writer and poet Henri Zogheib praised the work and dedication of Setrak Sarkissian. He said Sarkissian is like a ship that knows how to keep the direction and to sail in a balanced motion. He gave a briefing about Sarkissian's different musical phases and activities with musical personalities in the Arab World.
Winter tourism promoted in Armenia
As an expert in tourism, Hrach Kalsahakian pays special attention to the development of tourism in Armenia. For this purpose the below report carries some of his thoughts on the subject.
Mekhak Apresyan, head of the Tourism and Regional Development Department of the Ministry of Economy of Armenia, expressed optimism about winter tourism in Armenia especially in well-known resorts at Tsakhkadzor and Jermuk (in Kotayk and Vayots Dzor Provinces, respectively).
According to his statement, the above two locations are fully geared to welcome local and foreign tourists, provided that the required snowfall is maintained. Last year the average snowfall was not enough to achieve the needed results, but meteorologist forecast the coming winter to be snowy.
Besides the alpine skiing routes in Tsakhkadzor and Jermuk, tourists will have the option to go to normal skiing routes available in Gyumri (Shirak Province). The Ministry is encouraging the citizens to experience internal tourism and visit the beautiful locations inside Armenia. A Winter Festival will be held in Jermuk.
President Serzh Sargsyan in Kuwait
Hrach Kalsahakian reports on the visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to the State of Kuwait.
On 03 November 2009, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan arrived on a two-day state visit to the State of Kuwait.
Sargsyan was accompanied with a delegation of several ministers: Edward Nalbandian (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Tigran Davtian (Minister of Finance), Hranush Hakopian (Minister of Diaspora Affairs), Hasmik Pogossian (Minister of Culture) and Armen Ashotian (Minister of Education and Science). Other members of the delegation included Vahan Hovannissian (Chairman of the Armenia-Kuwait parliamentary friendship group), Arsen Ghazarian (Chairman of the Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs), and Martin Sarkissian (Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
This was the first visit of an Armenian President to Kuwait since Armenia's independence.
At the international airport of Kuwait, the President of Armenia was welcomed by the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Crown Prince of Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and other members of the country's leadership.