On November 26, ART staff visited AAC Shirak Diocese Gyumri Social-Educational center where, in the frames of “Response to COVID-19” project, humanitarian aid was distributed. The main aim of the project is to provide vulnerable people, affected by COVID-19, with humanitarian aid. In this particular area the project also aimed to support 171 displaced people from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
It was planned to reach 600 people in the initial phase of the project, however, due to the savings from the purchase of products, it was possible to buy additional 70 food and 204 sanitary packages.
The distribution was organized following all the COVID-19 spread prevention rules (floor markings, protection masks, hand sanitizing, temperature scanning, social distance).
One of the aid recipient displaced families shared their story.The family left Gyumri 25 years ago and started life overcoming a lot of difficulties in Karvachar (now handed to Azerbaijan) and a few days ago they burnt their house to the ground not to leave it to Azerbaijanis.
The other lady told in tears she had seen her house in Berdzor in Azeris’ videos. They do not even think about returning back to Nagorno-Karabakh because they have no security guarantee.
The World Council of Churches has issued a statement, which reads:
“The executive committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting by video conference on 9-13 November 2020, is gathered at a pivotal and acutely painful moment for the people of the land of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and for all Armenian people, following the announcement of an agreement between the leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia to bring an end to six weeks of intense armed conflict. We make an appeal for an end to the bloodshed and destruction this conflict has brought.
We join with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in praying for wisdom, unity and calm. We grieve with all those who have suffered terrible losses not only in the renewed fighting since 27 September, but throughout the long history of the struggle for self-determination in the region, entrenching antagonism more deeply with each precious life lost.
We stand in solidarity with the Armenian communities that are threatened by the renewal of the genocide against their people, particularly in light of the egregious comments made by Turkish President Erdogan vowing to “fulfil this mission, which our grandfathers have carried out for centuries, in the Caucasus region” and in light of Turkey’s role in the current conflict. The WCC condemns any such threats, explicit or implicit, and the actions of those who have insinuated themselves in the conflict and exacerbated its violence, including by supplying internationally-banned weapons, sending mercenaries and jihadists from Syria and elsewhere, and seeking to turn it into a religious conflict. The WCC condemns the use of chemical weapons and cluster munitions, the targeting of civilians, hospitals and public infrastructure, and all other war crimes, beheadings, torture and other atrocities witnessed in the past weeks.
Furthermore, we appeal for respect for the holy sites and cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, though the repeated shelling of the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi on 8 October and the numerous reports being received of other more recent desecrations indicate a different reality. We urge UNESCO to take all possible and appropriate measures to protect these sites.
We call urgently upon all members of the international community to join in supporting efforts for the protection of such holy sites, for the return in safety and dignity of all refugees and displaced people, for protection of the Armenian people from the threat of genocide, for a lasting peace founded on justice and human rights for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh and the wider region, and to refrain from instigating or encouraging antagonism, conflict and injustice.
We lift up and accompany the continuing ministry and witness of the churches of the region, and pray that the church leaders may be given strength and wisdom to guide their people through this crisis”.
The surprise offensive of Stepanakert on Sunday morning September 27 escalated quickly into a large-scale war unmercifully leaving thousands soldiers and civilians killed both sides, a tragedy with a high human cost and uncertain future. It is the third internationally brokered humanitarian ceasefire that was broken soon after coming into effect earlier today. While the human tragedy unfolds in front of the civilized world, the international community remains powerless to halt the deadliest fighting and humanitarian catastrophe in the region. For Armenians this battle is seen as nothing less than a broader struggle for survival against Turkey-sponsored Azerbaijani aggression.
Armenians worldwide and locally showed unprecedented level of mobilization and resilience. From different parts of the world we at the Armenia Round Table received letters of concerns, solidarity and offers for help, appreciation goes beyond the words. With the humanitarian support from our ecumenical partners we have been able to be in the emergency response field from early days on. Together with our priests and social workers from church related community development centers we did very basic assessment of needs and launched distribution of packages with food, household and hygiene supplies to houses and settlements where displaced from Nagorno Karabakh found safe shelter and warm welcome. As we are now often on travels to regions with delivery of humanitarian aid we come across many stories, which leave none untouched.
These days one can hardly pass any village without seeing a black ribbon. This type of ribbon is stretched over when there is a tragic loss of a young life. As we roam around cities and villages, which hosted people displaced from Nagorno Karabakh, we came across black ribbons, signs of interrupted lives, unlived because of the war.
The local priest accompanying us says that the most difficult is to home visit people devastated by loss of a family member, how shall a mourning parent find a meaning in the purpose of life?
Overwhelmed with pain and in deliberations over the value for human life in this severe fighting we arrived to our destination. Arkadi, host of a mother with five children, welcomed us into his modest half-renovated home. The atmosphere in the house was so warm and at ease that it was hard to distinguish between hosts and guests, they received people with glad and sincere hearts.
We were impressed by the level of cohesion and mutual support in communities. Locals shared their houses, food and clothes, as many fled with basics. We met single mothers taking care of their five-six children alone. None made a particular request, though needs were obvious.
With the challenges the uprooted people face, their dignity and remarkable capacity to endure hardships is astonishing and worthy of respect.
We are grateful to those who stand in solidarity with us. We call to stop the weapon of death and work for a fairer future.
WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation
World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca expressed deep concern about the violations of the humanitarian ceasefire agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 October.
“We urge all parties to the conflict to end all military actions immediately, to respect the ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow, and to engage in constructive dialogue aimed at protecting human lives and rights, preventing attacks on civilian infrastructure and places of worship, and achieving a sustainable peace,” said Sauca. “Among many other tragic impacts of the conflict already, we were shocked and dismayed by the attack on the Ghazanchetsots cathedral, in which civilians were sheltering at the time.”
Sauca continued: “We condemn any targeted attack on one another’s religious and cultural sites,” he said. “We pray and hope that religious leaders and institutions, together with decision makers, can join together in concerted efforts for an end to this conflict, for the protection of every human life, for the promotion of interreligious understanding and respect for each others’ communities and holy places, and in cooperation for peace, justice and human dignity.”
The 7th Fresco International Festival of Contemporary Art and Contemporary Films created a cultural holiday from August 22 to September 1, holding film screenings-discussions, concert programs և online meetings. The solemn opening ceremony of the festival took place on August 22 in the beautiful border town of Berd, with an open-air solo concert of the Berd dance ensemble. Then, on August 24, the Yerevan program started with an open-air screening of films. The Yerevan concert program was full: on August 28 the solo concert of the State Dance Ensemble of Armenia was held, on August 29 the first of a series of jubilee concerts dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Ruben Hakhverdyan within the framework of "Fresco", on August 30 Jivan Gasparyan and friends.
Out of more than 3,000 applications (85 countries) submitted to the festival this year, 63 films (23 countries) were selected. The competition program includes films whose messages are humanitarianism, patriotism, healthy lifestyle and other universal values.
The jury of the festival included 16 people:
1. Anastasia Robskaya (Ukraine)
2. Armin Ebrahimi (Iran)
3. Arnaldo Casali (Italy)
4. Beata Golenska (Italy)
5. Father Yevgeny Glazunov (Russia)
6. Father Hambardzum Danielyan (Armenia)
7. Father Marek Lis (Poland)
8. Irina Yagubyan (Armenia)
9. Karen Mnatsakanyan (Armenia)
10. Katya Malatesta (Italy)
11. Manya Ghazaryan (Armenia)
12. Nona Sisakyan (Belarus)
13. Simone Semprini (Italy)
14. Tamara Tsotsoria (Russia)
15. Ayvazyan (Great Britain)
16. Vladislav Robski (Ukraine)
The names of the award-winning films of the 7th Fresco International Festival of Contemporary Art and Concern Films are already known.
The winners of the animated films were announced
"The voice groaned", France, Atam Rasho, THE BEST MESSAGE - "FAITH".
"Recipe in Exile", USA, Chantal Kasarjyan, BEST MESSAGE - "FAMILY VALUES".
"Grandmother", Bulgaria, Rosa Kolchagova, BEST MESSAGE - "LOVE".
The winners of the feature films were announced
"Enemies", Georgia, Georgi Gachava, BEST MESSAGE - "PEACE".
"Nuts", Iran, Mohammadreza Haji Gholam, BEST MESSAGE - "FAITH".
"Dream Team", Russia, Philip Abrutin, Maxim Zikov, BEST MESSAGE - "SPORTS VALUES".
"Aniko", Armenia, Anna Harutyunyan, BEST MESSAGE - "FAMILY VALUES".
Short films were recognized as winners
"Exclusive day", France Cedric Spinasu, BEST MESSAGE - "FAMILY VALUES".
"Azad", Iran, Mirabas Khosravinejad, BEST MESSAGE - "HUMANITY".
"Salt and bread", Armenia, Russia, Bear-Knight Shermazanyan, BEST MESSAGE - "FORGIVENESS".
"Valenki", Russia, Anna Prudnikova, BEST MESSAGE - "HOPE".
"Extinguisher", Spain, Rodrigo Sopenya, Joanna Solnadok, BEST MESSAGE - "FAITH".
"Dear", Russia, Irina Bass, BEST MESSAGE - "FAMILY VALUES".
"Pipon և blind love", France, Hugo Le Gugliեղekek, BEST MESSAGE - "LOVE".
"Label", Macedonia, Georgi Unkovski, BEST MESSAGE - "FAMILY VALUES".
The winners of the documentaries were announced
"Queue list", Russia, Natalia Makhanko, BEST MESSAGE - "THE HERO OF OUR DAYS".
"Red fish - salmon", Russia, Dmitry Spilenok, Vladislav Grishin, BEST MESSAGE - "CLEAN PLANET".
"What will happen tomorrow", Russia, Anastasia Standke, BEST MESSAGE - "FAITH".
"Spinner", France, Didier Cross, BEST MESSAGE - "COURAGE".
"Litvyakov to man", Russia, Roman Pomerantsev, BEST MESSAGE - "LOVE".
Winners of a special award of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin have been announced
"The voice of sighing", France, Atam Rasho, THE BEST MESSAGE: "HOPE, FAITH, LOVE".
"Heavenly Joy", Russia, Natalia Fedchenko, BEST MESSAGE: "HOPE, FAITH, LOVE".
"The Monk", Russia, Dan Green, BEST MESSAGE - "CONFESSION".
It should be reminded that the festival is implemented with the main support of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, with the blessing of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, with the support of the WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation, in compliance with the rules of coronavirus prevention (COVID-19) in the Republic of Armenia.
Yenokavan school was full of smiles: the WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation handed 21 tablets to the schools of Yenokavan and Lusahovit villages of Tavush Region of Armenia. The project was being implemented for the second time. The tablets are intended for computer science classes of the schools. In case of returning to online education, ART will provide new tablets to needy students.
The director of Yenokavan school - Ashot Ghazaryan, teaching staff, parents and schoolchildren thanked the foundation for supporting education. Sergey Tairyan, director of Lusahovit school, also thanked the Round Table Foundation for including their school in the project.
During the event, the schoolchildren who has taken honorable places in the "Kangaroo" competition received their prizes.
The tablets were provided within the framework of cooperation between WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation and Fondation Armenia Fund.
The program "Production of Shulal Carpets in Tavush" was launched on May 1 within the framework of the Social Entrepreneurship Educational Program of the WCC Armenia Round Table Charitable Foundation. It is implemented by "TELIK" socio-cultural non-governmental organization with the support of the WCC Round Table Foundation. The goal of the project is to make traditional Armenian shulal carpets, which will contribute to the solution of the problem of socially insecure, unemployed women. The proceeds from the sale of carpets produced under the program will be used to purchase raw materials to continue carpet weaving and to include other women in the program.
Telik NGO produces shuly carpets that have long been forgotten, despite their beauty and durability. Carpets are products of high cultural value, made of environmentally friendly raw materials (wool և cotton). Natural wool rugs or carpets not only beautify the interior, but are especially necessary for people with dust allergies. Telik NGO has master classes, which have aroused a lot of interest both among tour operators and locals. This production restores this forgotten type of traditional Armenian carpet, solves the problem of employment of socially vulnerable, unemployed women, enables students to master the craft, as well as earn extra money. Thanks to the program, women will acquire new professional knowledge and skills, which will become the basis for finding a suitable job.
The Shulal Carpet Production in Tavush program is funded by the World Council of Churches Armenian Inter-Church Charitable Round Table Foundation's Social Entrepreneurship Education Program with the support of Brot für die Welt.
The "Swing Making in Ashtarak" program was launched within the framework of the WCC Armenia Round Table Social Entrepreneurship Education Program. It is implemented by the "St. Marianeh" social-educational center of the Aragatsotn Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The goal is to create 10 unique swing nets that are in demand in the market, and the proceeds from the sale will be used to teach macramé skills to 10 women in the community. 5 women, who know the technique of macramé fabric, took part in the preparation of the rocking nets.
The handmade swing nets are unique, they differ from each other in patterns, colors and their combination. Some stand out with warm և bright colors, while others have softer and more subtle colors. This variety is designed for buyers with different tastes and preferences. 6 swing nets are completely ready, the preparation of the other 4 is underway, the end is scheduled for the end of August.
There is already interest in the swing nets being made in the center. Some buyers have come and watched the process of making the pendulum nets, now they are waiting for their completion in order to get the pendulum netting they prefer. Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund two-month macrame skills training for 10 women in the community, including swing training. Thanks to the program, women will gain professional work experience, new skills, which will become the basis for finding a suitable job.
The "Making Swing Networks in Ashtarak" program is funded by the World Council of Churches Armenian Inter-Church Charitable Round Table "Social Entrepreneurship Education Program" program with the support of Brot für die Welt.
“Fresco” modern art and spiritual films festival this year is held with a special format. The launch was given in the city Berd of Tavush region, which borders with Azerbaijan. This year more than 3,000 applications from 85 countries have been submitted for participation in the festival. Selected 65 movies will be screened in the courtyard of Saint Anna Church of Yerevan. The films will be accompanied by discussions on women's rights, prevention of domestic violence, and other social issues.
"Berd" (Armenian traditional dance ensemble) in Berd (City in north-east of Armenia) ("Fortress" in Fortress). This year's “Fresco” modern art and spiritual films festival started with this symbolic initiative. Seventh time the festival invites to watch and discuss spiritual values, cultural taste, social and everyday various problem-solving films and events. This year the festival will last till September 1st.
Anna Karapetyan, Artistic Director of the Fresco Festival; "After the July events, we decided to start from border city Berd and to convey the cultural turmoil and enthusiasm to the residents of Tavush right in Berd (city)”.
Karen Gevorgyan, Artistic Director of "Berd" Dance Ensemble; "We have been keeping our gates strong for about 60 years, we do not allow foreign componencts to enter our ensemble's playlist. These mountains are like a strong fortress, I think the "Berd" dance ensemble is really symbolic in the city of Berd. And to be honest, you should have seen the courage of our dancers when they learned that they were coming to Berd".
Within the framework of the “Fresco” different films from 23 countries will be screened in Armenia. The festival is held with the blessing of His Holiness Garegin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, with the support of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, as well as the WCC Armenia Round Table Foundation. In his message, His Holiness especially emphasized the spiritual nature of the festival.
Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan, vicar (primate) of Tavush Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church on behalf of Catholicos Gagegin II ; "The festival is an important event. It unites young people to learn contemporary art with spiritual values, communicate with each other's culture and art, strengthen the spirit of friendship, and to promote cultural dialogue.
During the festival not only film screenings, thematic discussions with screenwriters, filmmakers and participants, but also other large-scale cultural events are planned. Concerts with the participation of the State Dance Ensemble of Armenia will take place, Ruben Hakhverdyan's (famous Armenian singer and songwriter) 70th birthday will be celebrated with a special concert, Jivan Gasparyan (famous Armenian musician, playing duduk, Armenian flute) and Friends' concert will also take place.