COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Armenia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.6 Other relevant issues

Pan-Armenian cultural cooperation and networking

Pan-Armenian cultural cooperation involves cultural and professional contacts between the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, and countries of the Armenian Diaspora. One of the priority directions of Armenia's cultural policy is the preservation and development of relations with the Diaspora, which is carried out through cultural unions, NGOs and centres operating for the Diaspora. Armenian cultural centres function in Italy, France, Austria, the USA, Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Jerusalem, Iran and in other places. The Mkhitarists Order in Vienna and Venice, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the "Hamazgayin" Educational-Cultural Union, the Tekeyan Cultural Union, the Cafesjyan Foundation, the Armenian Relief Fund, the Haigazian University of Beirut, as well as many other foundations, are involved in the preservation of Armenian culture. To promote Armenia-Diaspora relations, performances of Armenian ensembles, individual performers, and art exhibitions are organised abroad under state sponsorship.

Aimed at further broadening of Armenia-Diaspora relations, the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia was established in 2008. Since its establishment, the Ministry of Diaspora has conceived and implemented a number of programmes in the cultural sphere. They include projects aimed at studying and preservation of cultural heritage in countries of the Armenian Diaspora, building pan-Armenian cultural networks and conducting pan-Armenian cultural events. The Ministry continued previous joint efforts of ministries in development and implementation of educational programmes, directed at the preservation of Armenian culture: teaching of the Armenian language and literature and Armenian culture. The biennial "One Nation, One Culture" Festival, previously conducted under the aegis of the President, and so far involving nearly 5 000 Armenians from 12 countries, has turned out to become one of the biggest initiatives of the newly created Ministry. Another programme, "Ari tun" (Come home), has been launched since 2009. Within the programme's framework hundreds of representatives of the Armenian Diaspora youth have already visited Armenia to learn about the country's traditions, culture, and public and daily life. One of the aims of the programme is to establish strong cultural ties between the Diaspora and the Homeland. 

Creation of pan-Armenian cultural and professional networks is an important step towards significant enlargement of the Armenian cultural and intellectual resources and better cultural integration of Armenia with countries of the European Union. For example, the pan-Armenian professional network of architects has played a significant role in the preparation and promotion of the Armenian exhibition at Shanghai Expo 2010. Recently, a competition on the Armenian computer fonts "Granshan" was held. Since 2011, the Ministry of Culture supports active involvement of artists and cultural activists of the Armenian Diaspora in the cultural life in Armenia. Thus, many representatives of the Diaspora have participated in different cultural events in Armenia. Four books by Diaspora writers were published in Armenia during 2011.

Some programmes of the Ministries of Culture and the Diaspora are aimed at establishment of better intercultural dialogue between Armenians of Armenia and Armenians of the Diaspora through forums, discussions, festivals, etc.

Yerevan – World Book Capital City programme

Based on the positive experience of World Book and Copyright Day, launched in 1996, UNESCO initiated the concept of World Book Capital City and established the yearly nomination of the Book Capital City. For a period of April 2012 to April 2013 Yerevan was declared a World Book Capital City. It was chosen for the quality and variety of its programme, but also to celebrate the 500-th anniversary of Armenian printing. The programme included a variety of public events and initiatives related to books, book printing, copyright issues, reading and promotion of national and international literary traditions and modern literature. A number of festivals, exhibitions (ArtBook expo, e.g.), concerts, conferences, joint projects (Book Platform project) have been conducted during this period. A special website has been created to represent the developments of the program: http://www.yerevan2012.org/index.php?lang=en.

The programme entailed a number of local initiatives related to book production and promotion of reading. In particular, numerous activities on renovation of book fund and promotion of reading were conducted in local libraries.   


Chapter published: 22-05-2015

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