On Friday, December 7, 2012, within the framework of numerous events commemorating the 500th Anniversary of Armenian Printing and the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Press in Lebanon, Haigazian University honored the current Lebanese-Armenian printing and publishing houses, an event conducted under the patronage of the Minster of Industry, H.E. Vrej Sabounjian.
After the Lebanese national anthem, the event opened with the welcoming words of Dr. Antranig Dakessian, Director of the Armenian Diaspora Research Center. In the name of the 500th Anniversary organizing committee, Dakessian shared the importance of the Armenian printing and publishing houses in preserving the Armenian culture, identity and heritage. He noted that the oldest published book in Lebanon was in 1894, in both Armenian and Turkish with Armenian Alphabet.
Through a power point presentation, Dr. Armen Urneshlian, member of the organizing committee, traced the more than a century-long history of Armenian printing and publishing houses, noting that “currently 20 Armenian printing and publishing houses are operational in Lebanon,a number shrinked originally from140, around a century ago.” During his presentation, University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostain and Minister Sabounjian distributed appreciation plaques to representatives of those currently operating houses.
In his word, Minister Sabounjian expressed his ministry’s readiness to support the printing industry, as books are considered asvital agents in building righteous future generations, and pillars of healthy societies. In this respect, he encouraged the owners of the printing and publishing houses to improve and advance in their domain and production, and to issue even more publications on Armenian history, culture, philosophy, literature, art, etc… Sabounjian also gave the example of Hagop Meghabard, who, in 1512 printed the first Armenian book in Venice, Italy.
President Haidostian appreciated the efforts of the organizing committee for this unprecedented event, the extensive researchconducted in the field of printing and publishing houses. He finally highlighted the contribution the Armenian community has had on the local Lebanese printing industry.
At the end, the audience moved to the Mugar Hall and had the chance to watch a unique exhibition featuring rare Armenian books and manuscripts dating back to more than one century.