Concluding Ceremony of the 500th Anniversary of Armenian Printing:
Launching “The Lebanese Armenian Book 1894-2012: A Bibliographic List”
Under the auspices of the culture ministers of both Lebanon and Republic of Armenia, Mr. Gaby Layoun and Mrs. Hasmig Boghosian the concluding event of the Haigazian University ceremonial evenings dedicated to the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing was held on Friday, March 22, 2013.
The Haigazian University Committee for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing held a series of events on that started on May 6, 2012. These included two exhibitions of Lebanese Armenian newspapers and publishing houses, an acknowledgment evening for Lebanese Armenian authors who had published books in 2010 and/or 2011, and a gratitude event dedicated to the current workforce of the Lebanese Armenian newspapers.
For this concluding event, the Committee had invited the director of the National Library of Armenia, Dr. Dikran Zarkarian as a key note speaker to the launching of the book called “The Lebanese Armenian Book 1894-2012: A Bibliographic list”, prepared by Dr. Antranik Dakessian and Dr. Armen Urneshlian.
After welcoming the audience, Ms Sonia Sislian, the chairperson of the Committee, in a retrospective power point presentation briefed the audience on the previous four events and highlighted the specific message of them each.
In his Letter of Appreciation, Culture Minister Gaby Layoun put the ceremony in its pan-Lebanese context and considered it a “thoroughly Lebanese national celebration”, wishing that the flame of serving to the Armenian letter is passed on from one generation to the other. Minister Layoun called on the Lebanese Armenian community and Haigazian University to continue serving Lebanon and wished them success in their endeavors. Minister Layoun’s letter was read by Mr. Michel De Chadarevian (advisor of the Minister of Culture).
Ambassador Ashod Kocharian read the letter of acknowledgment of the Culture Minister of the Republic of Armenia. In her letter, Minister Hasmig Boghosian highly appreciated the participation of Haigazian University and its contribution to the 500th anniversary pan-Armenian ceremonies which were held worldwide. She considered the volume a unique expression of respect to the Armenian book and literature, and to the centuries-old Armenian printing efforts. She expressed hope that such cultural events organized by Haigazian University would add thrust to the spiritual elevation of the Diaspora.
Dr. Dikran Zarkarian, considered the 500 year old track of Armenian printing a history of learning intertwined with love towards the Armenian language, the fatherland and faith. He added that the track reflected the inclination of the Armenians towards enlightenment and the spread of human values, respect towards education and the culture of other nations. Dr. Zarkarian stressed that the acquisition of national history in depth is an important means for self recognition and added that historic memory is best preserved in the book for centuries. Dr. Zarkarian asserted that “bibliography is a key to written cultural heritage” and as such he considered the new book “a foundational work of research” and congratulated both the authors of the book and Haigazian University. Mr. Zarkarian announced the establishment of a web bank in the National Library of Armenia and underlined its importance. He assured that this new book will be a part of that web bank and will serve as a source in providing material to it.
Eventually, Dr. Zarkarian announced that, considering the very important input Haigazian University is having in Armenian Culture, the National Library of Armenia has decided to bestow the University with its highest ranking medal of “Hagop Meghabard” and invited Rev. Dr. Haidostian to receive the honor.
Haigazian University students Alice Ipradjian, Varanta Yacoubian and Boghos Malian and Nanor Madjarian (on the piano) sang the song “Hayots Darer” under the supervision of Mrs. Roubina Artinian.
In his concluding word, Haigazian University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, noted that all ceremonies dedicated to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing have been satisfactory and inspirational to the Haigazian University and the Lebanese Armenian community. Both Armenian alphabet and those behind it were acknowledged. Through these events culture was under the spotlight and another opportunity was given to praise God. Rev. Haidostian considered the Armenian alphabet and Armenian books as life giving tools if they are worked on, offered and accepted wholeheartedly and with devotion. He considered the publication of this bibliographic book a starting point to research the books published by Armenian authors in other languages as well as the study of the Armenian book in the Middle East in general.
On another note, he suggested that Armenians should initiate a new work-track of translating and offering Armenian literature and culture to non-Armenians. Such an undertaking would enrich the universal library and world civilization”. In the end, Rev. Haidostian thanked all those who participated in these jubilee events, especially highlighting the authors of the book, Drs. Dakessian and Urneshlian. He thanked Dr. Zarkarian for his acceptance of the invitation and as a souvenir of this special occasion he presented a memento to Dr. Zarkarian.
The event came to its closure with cake cutting and a reception.
The audience was delighted with the free copies of the 460-page bibliography book distributed to all those present.