Wiesbaden Musician Renews Ties to Armenia

WIESBADEN, Germany – On Sunday, September 17, solo clarinetist Heiner Rekeszus performed in a farewell concert in Wiesbaden, before going into retirement. The 65-year-old musician was co-founder of the Chamber Music Association of the Hessen State Orchestra in Wiesbaden, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.Read Further...

‘My Way’ Is Helping Children with Autism in Armenia

It was not the atmosphere we expected to find in a center for youngsters with autism: laughter rang out of one room where children were busily painting, while piano music sounded in another room, where two young lads were performing a duet. Playing from memory without scores, they were fully concentrated, absorbed in producing the strong rhythms. When one of the lads played a solo piece, his companion grabbed the hands of a woman (who turned out to be his mother) and swept her up in dancing across the floor. In another room, a child hovered over his notebook, carefully writing out exercise sentences in Armenian under the watchful eyes of his teacher. In other small rooms, the same one-on-one combination of specialist and student was to be seen: whether in speech therapy or physical therapy. The scenes depicted youngsters concentrated on tasks that they were carrying out in their own fashion, with serenity, or delight or outright joy. The meaning of the center’s slogan — “I am different, I am one of you” — was immediately apparent.

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Poland Welcomes Promising Armenian Vocalist

“Incredible Lusine Arakelyan gave a great New Year’s concert at the Warsaw concert hall in front of 1,200 guests. Her beautiful voice and great musical experience are unforgettable. The audience gave her several standing ovations. The orchestra conductor also praised her voice and performance.” This is how singer and music critic Kristina Sulzichka put it in a review of the event.Read Further...

Music for the Republican Army

If last year Armenians celebrated the silver anniversary of independence, the year 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Army of the Republic of Armenia. And to kick off a series of cultural celebrations, two Armenian associations in Germany organized a concert on January 28 in Frankfurt featuring guitarist and singer-songwriter Ruben Hakhvedyan. The renowned musician from Yerevan was joined on the stage by cellist Levon Arakelyan and accordionist Gevorg Movsisyan.Read Further...

State Prize Awarded to ‘Aghet’ Director

Films are not only for entertainment, but may have the power to change political reality. This is certainly the case with “Aghet” by director Eric Friedler. First released in 2010 and widely covered on German television, the documentary on the Armenian Genocide paved the way for the Genocide recognition resolution passed by the Bundestag (Parliament) on June 2, 2016. For Green Party leader and parliamentarian Cem Özdemir, who delivered the laudation at a ceremony awarding Friedler the State Prize of the Republic of Armenia in Berlin on December 14, the director was “a very central forerunner” on the way to the resolution.Read Further...

Art Inspires Artists

If you have ever visited any of the world’s greatest art museums, like the Uffizi in Florence, the Pergamon in Berlin or the National Museum in Cairo, you have probably encountered young art students squatting on the floor or leaning against a pillar, with sketchpad and pencil in hand. Rapt in total concentration, they are carefully reproducing in their own strokes the contours of a Raphael Madonna, or the regal profile of an Assyrian leader or a floral motif on papyrus. Read Further...

Portraits of the Artists as Young Men

WIESBADEN, Germany — That the fine arts are alive and well in Armenia is displayed in an exciting exhibition of works by young Armenians that has opened in Wiesbaden, Germany. The show, entitled “Melody of Color: Armenian Art,” held its vernissage on November 25, and will run for a month. Not only will 65 art works be on exhibit during that time, but several workshops will also be held, to help youngsters venture into the magic world of art. Four of the six exhibiting artists have travelled to Germany for the occasion and have shared their experiences with a large number of visitors.Read Further...

Politics, Polemics and Reading Pleasure in Frankfurt

For an author, a visit to the annual Frankfurt Book Fair can be a humbling experience. When you enter the massive fairgrounds, where over 7,000 exhibitors (among them your own publishers) from one hundred countries have come to put on proud display their latest productions — about 400,000 (!) new titles — it tends to put things into proportion, so to speak, and you ask yourself what, if any, place your own modest achievements might find in this immense literary universe. If you happen to be working on a new book, the challenge is overwhelming.
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Friendship Between the Rhine and the Arax

Germans celebrated national unity on October 3, not only in Dresden but also in Yerevan. Most appropriately at the center of the festivities was the presentation of a new publication detailing the history of German-Armenian relations. Entitled Between the Rhine and the Arax: 900 Years of German-Armenian Relations, the volume published by TIGRAN METS in Yerevan, is the Armenian translation of a work issued in German in 1988, by Enno Meyer and Ara J. Berkian. Lisa Berkian-Abrahamian fulfilled her late husband’s desire by translating it into Armenian.Read Further...

Jailed Writer, Linguist Nisanyan Receives Saroyan Medal from Armenian Diaspora Ministry

On September 23, the Cezayir complex in Istanbul hosted the ceremony awarding Istanbul-based Armenian intellectual, philologist, writer and publicist Sevan Nisanyan’s family the William Saroyan Medal of the Diaspora Ministry. Renowned political, public and cultural figures were invited, including Turkish lawmaker Selina Dogan with her husband Erdal Dogan, President of “Anadolu Kültür” foundation Osman Kavala, Ufuk Uras, Armenian representative of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Arsen Avagyan.  The event was moderated by journalist Hrant Gasparian.Read Further...

Little Singers, Great Promise

What better way to celebrate 25 years of independence? The Armenian Ambassador to Germany Ashot Smbatyan chose to focus on the achievements of the present and the hopes for the future, by inviting guests to a concert of the Little Singers of Armenia. Performing in the Berlin Philharmonic hall, a group of 40 youngsters, mainly girls, under the direction of founder and conductor Tigran Hekekyan, presented a program of works illustrating the entire span of centuries of Armenian music, as well as pieces from the international repertoire.
Starting, appropriately, with Glorious Light by Mesrop Mashtots from the fifth century, and two pieces by Komitas, the choir sang both sacred and secular music, from David Halajian, Vahram Sargsyan, Tatul Altunyan and Robert Petrosyan, to David MacIntyre, Claude Debussy, Sergey Pleshak, Richard Adler/Jerry Ross and Joe Garland. A beloved German folk song, performed impeccably in the original, enchanted the listeners.Read Further...

A Special Light Shines through Art

When artist Hakob Hovhannisyan returned to Armenia in 2008, after having lived and worked for years in St. Petersburg, he started looking for a place near his native Gumri to set up his studio. Among the many locations he surveyed was Gusanagyugh, a small village about 20 kilometers outside Gumri.Read Further...

Armenians Celebrate to Help Artsakh Victims

For Nathanial Ullmann, a journalist for the largest regional newspaper in Germany, the response of participants at a concert in Bochum on July 8 showed just “how different German and Armenian culture are.” He explained: “Whereas Germans at an elevated cultural event sit there in silent wonder, Armenians sing, dance and clap in happy enthusiasm.” And that is the case, even if the occasion might be a sad one.Read Further...

The Challenge of Peace

Much has been made of the official Turkish reaction to statements made by Pope Francis during his visit to Armenia June 24-26. That hysterical response was as predictable as it was tasteless. One might take due note, but then move on.Read Further...

Erdogan Overplays His Hand

There are good reasons to believe that on June 2, the German Bundestag (Parliament) will vote up a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The government coalition parties, Christian Democratic Union and Christian Socialist Union (CDU-CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD), plus the Green party, have agreed on a unified text, after intense debate and repeated postponements.Read Further...

Of Politics and the Pope

Pope Francis is preparing to visit first Armenia, then Azerbaijan and Georgia. With this visit, he is trying to bring peace and hope to a region that has been recently beset by troubles. He will visit Armenia June 24-26, and in the autumn, go to Georgia and Azerbaijan. According to the program released by the Vatican press office on May 13, the Pontiff’s visit will be apostolic, but will also include political talks. Read Further...

Sharing the Gift of Music

Students at the Anahit Tsitsikyan Music School in Yerevan celebrated the donation of new instruments in the most appropriate fashion possible: by playing them in concert for a capacity audience of friends and family. On April 25, guests gathered in the recital hall, which had been fully renovated in 2014, by the US Embassy’s organization Helping Hands and the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia. Read Further...

Traces of Germany in Armenian History and Culture

What do we know about the footprints left since the Middle Ages in Armenia, footprints made by German emperors, bishops, researchers, artists, farmers and mountain climbers? This is the question that Armenian historian Azat Ordukhanyan delved into during a discussion with German author Heide Rieck on March12 in the Bochum University. Read Further...

Armenia and Germany Renew a Thousand-Year-Old Friendship

For centuries Germany and Armenia have maintained friendly relations, but there are probably only a handful of individuals, whether in Berlin or Yerevan, who have any inkling of this fact. For broader layers of the two populations, it is virtually unknown. But thanks to the initiative of Armenians and their German friends in the city of Bochum, the exciting history of this close relationship is being brought to light. Read Further...

Of Summer Doldrums, Scoops and Spoofs

One hot day in late July I received emails from two friends — one is Armenian and the other Italian — both alerting me to a curious letter circulating widely on the Internet. It had to do with the protests against electricity price hikes in Armenia, and coverage hinted that these might signal the start of a “colored revolution” in the country, aimed at toppling the government. Read Further...

German-Armenian Forum Launched in Berlin

BERLIN – MAY 28, 2015— Ten years ago the Bundestag (Parliament) passed a resolution on the Armenian issue, but that focused on facilitating an Armenian-Turkish dialogue. The recent events in Berlin marking the centenary of the genocide constituted a breakthrough in the same direction, as reported in the Mirror-Spectator.Read Further...

Teachers, Businessmen, Robots and Youth
United to Rebuild Armenian IT

YEREVAN — Karen Vardanyan has an ambitious vision for Armenia’s future. If his program continues to garner success, the country will become a leader in the field of complex engineering solutions, not only in software but also in related fields. Thus far, the project has captured the imagination of hundreds of Armenian youngsters and enjoys the support of private industry and some governmental agencies.Read Further...

Armenians Make a Strong Showing at Frankfurt Bookfair

FRANKFURT, Germany — Frankfurt plays host to the most important and the oldest book fair in the world. This year 7,400 exhibitors from more than 100 countries joined to present their most recent publications and other cultural products.Read Further...

1914-2014: 100 Years of the German-Armenian Society

POTSDAM, Germany — Johannes Lepsius is known for his work as a pastor and humanitarian who intervened on behalf of the Ottoman Armenians in the late 19th century. When the Genocide began he returned to Constantinople from Berlin and tried in vain to dissuade the Young Turk leaders from their extermination project. His report on the systematic elimination of the Armenians through murder and deportation raised the alarm in Germany.
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Discovering Hayastan Through the Eyes of Children

WATERTOWN and YEREVAN — For too long the term “diaspora” designated both the identity and homeland for many Armenians. The post-World War I republic was short-lived and Soviet Armenia, especially during the Cold War, was a remote reality, both geographically and politically. Since 1991, that has happily changed, and Armenians worldwide can look at the Republic of Armenia as their “other half.” Armenian Ambassador to Germany Armen Martirosyan has said of these two pillars, “Our unity is the source of our strength and our diversity is the source of our resilience.”Read Further...

Gutenberg Museum Displays Armenian Book Treasures

MAINZ, Germany — The relationship of Armenians to their language is very special, actually unique. To my knowledge, Armenia is the only country that offers the foreign visitor a monument composed of giant letters of the alphabet, standing as stone sculptures in a vast field outside Yerevan. And Mesrob Mashtots (360-440), the genius who invented the alphabet as a perfect phonetic system in the year 405 AD, is not only honored as a great intellectual but is revered as a canonized saint. Read Further...

Komitas Honored in Berlin

BERLIN — Every Armenian knows (or should know) Komitas Vardapet. He was the great musicologist, musician and composer who literally founded modern classical Armenian music and whose songs, dances and liturgical works play a prominent role in our musical culture. But perhaps fewer people know about the influence of Germany on his work. On September 5 in Berlin, a gathering of scientists, politicians and artists convened to honor Komitas, unveiling a bronze commemorative plaque at the Humboldt University, which was the composer’s alma mater.Read Further...

Turks Join Armenians in Germany to Honor Genocide Victims

It is not usually the case that the guest speaker at a commemoration event for the victims of the 1915 genocide against the Armenians is Turkish, at least not in Germany. But in Hamburg, it is becoming somewhat of a tradition, since Toros Sarian first broke the ice two years ago. Sarian, who issues a multilingual online publication ArmenienInfo.net (HayastanInfo.net), is co-founder of the Initiative for Remembrance of the 1915 Genocide, which organized a gathering in the St. Petri church on April 21st. In recent years, he has invited not only Germans of Turkish origin to speak, but has consciously engaged representatives of other communities. Thus, this year, flanking keynote speaker Cem Özdemir, National Chairman of the Green Party whose family comes from Turkey, was Ali Ertam Toprak, Chairman of the Alevi Community in Germany and Secretary of the Alevi Communities in Europe, and a spokeswoman for the Turkish-Kurdish Initiative for Democratic Rights and Freedom.Read Further...

Can Germany Mediate Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation

In 2005, the German Bundestag passed a resolution calling on the German government to facilitate a process of Armenian-Turkish understanding and reconciliation. Now, six years later, scholars and civil society activists are asking: what has been achieved since then? This was the subject of a one-day seminar on “The Armenian Genocide and German Public Opinion” on September 22, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation at its Berlin headquarters. Read Further...

„Die Steine werden aufschreien“

   Mitte Juni kam es bei einer Ausstellung der UNESCO in Paris zu einem Skandal. Die Ausstellung zeigte Bilder traditioneller Steinkreuze der armenischen Kirchenkunst, bekannt als Khachkars. Die einzigartigen Skulpturen und Reliefs waren im November 2010 in die repräsentative Liste des unantastbaren Kulturerbes der Menschheit aufgenommen worden. (1) Die Ausstellung stand unter der Schirmherrschaft des Kultusministeriums der armenischen Republik und war in Anwesenheit zahlreicher Diplomaten, Künstler, Historiker und Kirchenvertretern eröffnet worden. Sie hätte eine Anerkennung und Wertschätzung der Khachkar-Tradition werden können, wenn nicht die UNESCO in letzter Minute die Ortsnamen unter den Fotografien gelöscht hätte, wo sich die Khachkars befinden.Read Further...

“The Stones Will Cry Out”


   A scandal erupted in mid-June and marred an exhibit in Paris at UNESCO which featured traditional stone crosses from Armenian church architecture known as Khachkars. These unique sculptures and reliefs had been included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2010. The exhibit, co-sponsored by the Republic of Armenia’s Culture Ministry and inaugurated in the presence of numerous diplomats, artists, historians, and clergy, would have celebrated a magnificent tribute to the Khachkar tradition had it not been for the fact that at the last minute UNESCO erased all mention of where the stone crosses featured in photographs were to be found.Read Further...

The Armenian Genocide:
Hopes for Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation

Bookreview – In the Land of Blood and Tears: Experiences in Mesopotamia During the World War (1914-1918) by Jakob Künzler. Arlington, Massachusetts, 2007. Translated from the 1999 German edition.Read Further...

The Historical Reconciliation of Armenians and Turks

Germany, the same nation allied in World War I with the Young Turk regime which sought to exterminate the Armenian population, is emerging today as the stage on which the two formerly adversary communities are extending their hands in dialogue aimed at understanding and reconciliation.Read Further...

Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement Puts Ideologies to the Test

When Armenian and Turkish Foreign Ministers Nalbandian and Davutoglu signed the protocols on reestablishing diplomatic relations on October 10 in Zurich, one would have thought that that event would mark the beginning of a new era in the troubled, if not tormented, history of the two countries. Instead, the protocols became the hottest new potato being tossed back and forth in the arena of politics in the Caucasus. Opinions, editorials, and in some cases, just plain gripes vied for attention in the pages of the Armenian and Turkish press, not only at home but especially in the Armenian Diaspora. Read Further...

“Football Diplomacy”: Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement

Before the end of the year, if all goes according to plan, Armenia and Turkey, after having reestablished normal diplomatic relations, will reopen their common border. This is not only good news for the two parties, but could set a precedent for dealing with similar log-jammed situations in other parts of the world. But, if the formal steps toward mutual recognition are to lead to reconciliation, it will require more than a settlement of outstanding political and territorial disputes. Read Further...

Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Is Possible – and Necessary!

The visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan on September 6 will be remembered as a historic event, even if concrete results are not to be expected immediately. Read Further...

Armenia’s Struggle for Independence

When Armenia declared independence on September 21, 1991, diaspora Armenians joined hands across oceans with their 4 million compatriots in the former Soviet republic, to celebrate. Certainly, mainly bottles of excellent Armenian cognac were emptied. Finally, the Soviet occupation had ended, and a perspective had opened up for an independent, sovereign Armenia, to join in collaborative economic relations with its neighbors, to develop the enormous potentials of the country in the context of regional economic expansion.Read Further...