2016 “Diaspora” Summer School Program: The roads leading to Armenia…

During the Training Course for Teachers of Armenian Language and History and Organizers of Education (part of the “Diaspora” Summer School Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora), I met many teachers and had interesting conversations with them, and since I don’t have much experience, those conversations became lessons in life for me. Every time I pass by the classrooms where Diaspora Armenian teachers are taking their courses, I automatically stop and listen. I haven’t seen so much love, longing and warmth anywhere. I immediately remember our great teachers of Armenian history who educated and saved a nation, and these Diaspora Armenian teachers are appreciated for their job, which is very important today when we need to keep the Armenian Diaspora as far away from the challenges of the century as possible.

Each of the Diaspora Armenian teachers sets an example with his or her type. Yeranuhi Ghazaryan from Moscow is one of those teachers of this type and quality. My conversation with Mrs. Ghazaryan was one of the most impressive ones that I write long about. I will simply present some parts of our conversation.

I can’t live without my job

“Before moving to Moscow, I was teaching Armenian language and literature at School #10 in the city of Abovyan. I fall in love with my job the minute after I enter the classroom. I knew that I was called for teaching Armenian. It is a calling to which I have been loyal to this day. After leaving for Moscow, I worked for a year. It was the most difficult year of my life since I was far from the school, my calling and my students. I wanted to start working at Middle School #16/50 I Moscow. When my husband and I went to see the director, Ofelia Arakelyan, my husband simply asked the following: “If you don’t want to destroy a strong Armenian family, hire my wife. She is a good teacher and can’t live without her job. She will return to Armenia, to her school and to her students.” Yes, I can’t live without my job. Now, besides teaching at the middle school, I also teach at the “Hayordats Tun” Armenian School and “Aybik” Educational Complex in Moscow. In the evening, I come home feeling very satisfied with the fact that I gave and did what I am called for and what I am living for. Teaching Armenian is my life. My daughter often says I am someone to envy because I do my job with pleasure and get paid more or less. My real salary are my students, who are Armenian with all their heart. There are also students of different nationalities among them, and I am proud that I am teaching them Armenian, one of the greatest languages in the world. I am a lucky person.”

“Hayordats Tun” Armenian School: A temple of “Armenianness”

“As I already mentioned, I work at three schools in Moscow, but I am representing the “Hayordats Tun” Armenian School of Moscow during the “Diaspora” Summer School Program. I can also say a lot about my work at the other two schools, but allow me to touch more upon the past and present of “Hayordats Tun”. It is not merely a school. It is a center for spiritual upbringing that provides a Christian education. The school offers courses on Armenian language, literature, culture and history. We create an atmosphere that turns into a lifestyle. We lay the foundations and want our students to continue with those foundations throughout their lives.

“Hayordats Tun” Armenian School has achieved this height thanks to its dedicated and persistent staf members. First, I must mention leader of the Armenian Diocese of New Nakhichevan and Russia, Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan, whose merit is invaluable in the Armenian community. It is thanks to him that the “Hayordats Tun” exists and the Holy Glorification Church (Prelacy) is erected in central Moscow. Spiritual leader of “Hayordats Tun” Arakel Amiryan is also a unique person who can set an example for all of us. The director of “Hayordats Tun”, Hmayak Gevorgyan, is full of vigor and energy and always amazes and motivates us with his new thoughts and ideas. It is also thanks to these combined efforts that the number of students is growing day after day. Currently, there are 800 students, who are taught by the best professionals trying to achieve the desired outcome.

Progress can be seen in other spheres as well. The Haiasa and Vardavar Dance Groups perform Armenian national and ethnographic dances, Norahrash Vocal Ensemble and Lena Beglaryan’s choir help the children show their skills in singing. Our Armenian canon players have achieved great success. The list goes on. We can only feel touched and proud to hear a Russian student recite a poem in Armenian with an accent.”

Learning Armenian at 60

“I mainly have Russian-speaking and adult students. I have students of eight nationalities who learn Armenian for different purposes. They either want to learn our divine language or simply know it, or their beloved person is an Armenian and they want to know in which language their beloved person thinks in. I must set aside one of the most famous lawyers of Moscow, Alexander Arutunov. He is 60, and I take pride in the fact that he is my student. His father was Armenian, and his mother was Russian. As is often the case, in this case I also taught Armenian through Russian. However, two years ago, at the invitation of the Ministry of Diaspora, Arutunov participated in the Pan-Armenian Forum of Lawyers. During a conversation, Minister Hranush Hakobyan addressed him in Armenian, he didn’t understand, and as soon as he returned to Moscow, he decided to learn Armenian so that he could speak Armenian during his next meeting with the Minister. He attends lessons twice a week. He is very busy, but finds the time. He reads in Armenian so cordially and generously that very often we give him standing ovations.”

The foreigner in love with Armenia

“Tatiana Telegina was one of my students. This purely Russian girl has really fallen in love with Armenia. She has visited the country many times and has excellent knowledge of Armenian. She has even created a website where she posts pictures of sites and historic monuments of Armenia. She knows the history of every church by heart. She is not blood-related to any Armenian, but loves Armenia. She is perhaps one of those who feel the presence of all that is divine in Armenia. I am so happy that I helped him find the roads leading to Armenia.”

As an epilogue

“Each of our students has the feeling that his homeland is Armenia and the native language is Armenian. As a teacher, I can surely say that our task is to teach even one Armenian child. The older I get, the more I look towards Armenia, but I don’t consider my mission in Moscow accomplished. I am participating in the “Diaspora” Summer School Program so that I can go and apply my knowledge. My only concern is to be able to have textbooks to teach my Russian-speaking students. The “Diaspora” Summer School Program serves as a unique platform for new ideas and opportunities. During meetings, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan always sets aside and expresses gratitude to Diaspora Armenian teachers. Today, I would like to express my gratitude to her, the entire staff of the Ministry of Diaspora, Mrs. Sirvard Hambaryan and coordinator of the “Diaspora” Summer School Program Mher Hovhannisyan. Thanks to them, I have come to the homeland for a month, and I hope to come and settle one day.”

Amalya Karapetyan

Source: Hayern Aysor

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