Shakeh Mangasarian: “I would like for all Armenians to stay true to the calling of a human being and be kind to each other in any case”

Through various programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, many Diaspora Armenian professionals take training courses in the Homeland, communicate with Armenian professionals from other countries, create bridges for cooperation, exchange experiences and draw up joint programs for the future, meaning the constantly updated and modified working format of the Ministry of Diaspora serves as a wonderful way of introducing and implementing innovative ideas and using those ideas in practice in the best way. This and other topics were the topics for Hayern Aysor’s interview with Director of Radio AYG of Dubai and journalist Shakeh Mangasarian.

Hayern Aysor: Dear Shakeh, you are in the homeland through the “Diaspora” Summer School Program, which is one of the major and successful programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora. What made this visit important and how?

Shakeh Mangasarian: To answer your question, I must say that I visit Armenia often, but I wouldn’t like to use the word “visit” because it seems strange to me. For me, Armenia is not a place to visit, but my home. Every time I am in Armenia, I don’t spare any effort to maintain my old contacts and establish new ones and always create bridges with the Homeland. The Homeland and the Diaspora are our wealth. The Diaspora is what must reinforce the Homeland. I admire such programs of the RA Ministry of Diaspora and am grateful to Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. Everyone came, sat down and listened to the lecturers who gave their lectures at a very high level. We learned and gained knowledge and experience. Nobody should say he knows everything. I don’t know everything. I need to learn every day. This must be the motto for everyone. When a person says he knows everything, he can no longer succeed. One always has to be open, gain new knowledge and continue to learn…There is negativity everywhere and all around us. So, you always need to be positive inside and take the good that you have the opportunity to hear about. You need to value and appreciate good deeds and place yourself above pedantry and jealousy. To be a bigger person, you need to be able to see the grandeur of others and appreciate that. This is also one of the preconditions for the survival of the Armenian nation. We have to be very content with all the programs that the Ministry of Diaspora has organized for national preservation and appreciate the work that has been done. It is as if it is a dream. The only thing left to do is to open the door and enter.

Hayern Aysor: What is your opinion of the summer school program?

S. M.: The “Diaspora” Summer School Program has become the “seatbelt” of the field of education. It is necessary to use the potential of all Armenians for the empowerment of the Homeland. With the vision and perspectives of the respected Minister, the RA Ministry of Diaspora organizes joint programs with Yerevan State University in order to contribute to the preservation of the Armenian identity abroad. The training courses being held as part of the summer school program serve as the direct link that helps the participants gain knowledge and ask their questions that the Minister is ready to listen to and give solutions, even in spite of her busy schedule. A lot depends on the participants. They need to respond to those realities and place emphasis on them. There is a need for pledges for action. Today, the basis and goal of such programs is to attach more importance to good knowledge of the Armenian language and reinforce that. We need to love and preserve our language and our Homeland as the only one. Love will help overcome everything.

Hayern Aysor: Shakeh, you represent Radio AYG in Dubai. Let’s talk about the radio station. When was it founded? Who founded it? What topics do you discuss during your programs?

S. M.: It is an online, independent and non-profit radio station. I say “non-profit” because we don’t receive any profit. We run the station with our own resources and don’t even receive benefits from advertisements. We believe that if you serve the people, you shouldn’t earn money since service is a mission, and I am on a mission and must go as far as the Lord wishes and as long as I am healthy. The important thing is good will, dedication and love. The founder is yours truly. We established the radio station on September 21, 2001 and will soon be marking our 5th anniversary. I work with my sisters, and we also have volunteers who are unconditionally devoted to their job. This radio station is the only one in its kind since it is carrying out a mission for the nation. We broadcast in Armenian, report political and cultural news, discuss intellectual topics and mainly place emphasis on news from Armenia that we also receive from Asbarez Daily and Horizon TV so that Diaspora Armenians receive news about the events taking place in Armenia. If you take a look, you will see how busy we are. We are busy 365 days a year, broadcast political news from the Public Radio of Armenia once every three hours, broadcast news with Yerkir Media TV and have interviews devoted to political, cultural and religious topics.

Hayern Aysor: You said you receive news from Armenia. Do you provide news to Armenia?

S. M.: Yes, I provide coverage of every event devoted to Armenia and Armenians in the United Arab Emirates and send the news to Armenia. For instance, in addition to the main Armenian church of Sharjah, a second Armenian church opened in Abu Dhabi. I provide coverage of such events on our radio station and send the same news to the Public Radio of Armenia. I also have my own program called “Pages in History” during which I touch upon intellectuals, culture, the arts and revolutionary movements. We are not politically affiliated to any particular political party. Our principle is “if it’s Armenian, it’s an asset”.

Hayern Aysor: Shake, what is your profession? Have you ever worked by your profession?

S. M.: I have a couple of diplomas. I graduated from the Department of Languages at Yerevan State University and started working. I have mainly worked in an office and have completed administrative activities. For 18 years, I have worked for the regional organization of an American insurance company as Director of Human Resources and Administration. Later, I took courses on human resources and management at Cambridge and taught. Currently, Radio AYG is my main job that requires a lot of time and devotion.

Hayern Aysor: You said a lot about your collaboration with the Ministry of Diaspora. How long have you been collaborating with the Ministry?

S. M.: I have followed all the programs and activities of the Ministry of Diaspora since the first days of its establishment. Radio AYG is the first and only radio station that started collaborating with the Ministry of Diaspora from the start. I always read the news and articles devoted to the Ministry. In 2014, our radio station received the grand prize in the contest for best releases devoted to the Armenian Genocide. I respond to and disseminate every new program of the Ministry of Diaspora on my website and Facebook.

Hayern Aysor: Shakeh, where do your roots trace back to?

S. M.: My roots trace back to the Chmshkatsag village of Kharberd vilayet of Western Armenia. I would like to share a touching story. Losing the strength on the road of suffering and not being able to walk to Aleppo during the Armenian Genocide, my grandparents leave their newborn baby on the road. My grandmother always thought about this and passed away with that pain. This was the main reason for her death…It is the destiny and pain of an Armenian…

Hayern Aysor: It is truly a very touching story and an episode of the destinies of millions of Armenians…Shakeh, how would you like to see Armenians today?

S. M.: I am ready to answer this question. I would like for all Armenians to stay true to the calling of being a human being and be kind to each other. For me, this is the best type of an Armenian.

My interview with Shakeh Mangasarian, one of the representatives of the best type of an Armenian woman, ended with these wishes.

Karine Avagyan

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