Razmik Tamrazyan: “Without a strong Armenia, the Armenian Diaspora is doomed to fall”

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with President of the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society, Chair of the Austrian affiliate of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, engineer Razmik Tamrazyan.

The engineer, who has received a number of state and ecclesiastical awards of Austria and Armenia, mainly talked about the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society established in 1974, the affiliate’s activities and Austro-Armenian relations.

Let us only add that the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society has helped establish many permanent values in Austria, including the statue of Franz Werfel, a monument dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide (created by Razmik Tamrazyan), the Hovhannes Astvatsatur (Astvatsatryan) “Dio Dato” Grove, etc.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Tamrazyan, how would you describe the activities of the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society?

Razmik Tamrazyan: The scope of activities of the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society is defined in its plan/statute, that is, to present and introduce Armenian culture to Austrians and present and introduce Austrian culture to Armenians. To achieve this goal, throughout the 42 years of its existence, the organization has organized numerous trips, concerts, lectures, exhibitions and camping events for Austrians and Armenians, prepared films, presented books, placed monuments and organized shootings for films in Austria and Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: In your opinion, which stage are Austro-Armenian cultural ties in? At what level are those relations today?

Razmik Tamrazyan: The Austro-Armenian Cultural Society doesn’t have many members, but it does have many supporters who, like the members, are Austrian and Armenian intellectuals interested in the cultures of both nations. The Austro-Armenian Cultural Society is a member of the Austria-Foreign PAN Organization of Austria (Partner aller Nazionen/Partner of All Nations), which is chaired by the President of the country, and the vice-presidents are Austria’s nine governors.

Over the years, those relations have become strong and have been branched by the radio, television, cultural organizations and intellectuals.

Hayern Aysor: To what extent has the cultural organization been able to disseminate Armenian culture across Austria?

Razmik Tamrazyan: The Austro-Armenian Cultural Society has disseminated Armenian culture as much as it has been able to, be it through concerts and exhibitions, the film “3000 Years Armenia” broadcast on Austrian public television, or through the creation of the lay-out of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, the statue of Franz Werfel and the “Dio Dato” Grove.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Tamrazyan, to what extent is the cultural society able to consolidate the Armenians of Austria?

Razmik Tamrazyan: Although the Armenian community of Austria is small and only became large over the past decades, it has several structures and organizations that have their preferences, and this helps gather the society’s supporters. Consequently, the specific task of our organization is not to gather only the members of the Armenian community of Austria.

Hayern Aysor: Young Armenians of the Diaspora are particularly vulnerable. Do you think they are interested in Armenian culture, its preservation and dissemination?

Razmik Tamrazyan: As young Armenians follow the developments taking place in the world, they also aspire to be personally secure and successful and then make efforts for the nation, community or a particular organization. They are as interested in Armenian culture as much as they can. However, fortunately, there are still young Armenians who contribute to our community’s activities with a sense of national awareness.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Tamrazyan, I would like to ask you to tell us about the activities of the Austrian affiliate of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. What programs has the affiliate carried out in Armenia?

Razmik Tamrazyan: The Austrian affiliate of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund was established right after the establishment of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund in Yerevan in 1992.

Every organization of Austria has an authorized member who is a part of the affiliate. The board also comprises honorary members and four delegates selected by supporting members and the general assembly.

Since the Armenian community of Austria is a small community, we haven’t had the opportunity to carry out special programs, but since 1992, we have been transferring all proceeds to the bank account of the Executive Body of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund for assistance to the children of deceased freedom fighters and first-degree disabled persons of Armenia and Artsakh.

Thanks to the assistance provided by the board members, due to savings, the affiliate has neither an office nor paid officials. The member organizations cover other expenses (circulars, writing utensils, mail), while the participating board member covers the travel expenses to participate in the meetings of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Tamrazyan, do you visit Armenia often? What is the main purpose of your visits?

Razmik Tamrazyan: Yes, I have been visiting Armenia once or twice (sometimes three times) a year since 1975. Since 1975, I have been the correspondent of the Trip to Armenia Program of the Austro-Armenian Cultural Society and have been participating in the Armenia-Diaspora Conferences and the annual meetings of the Board of Trustees of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. I don’t have any businesses in Austria or Armenia.

Every achievement of Armenia serves as a stimulus for the survival of the Armenian Diaspora, makes young Armenians feel proud and sparks their interest in Armenia. If democracy reigns in Armenia and people are tolerant to each other, Armenia will become stronger and stronger every day and will become the guarantee for survival of the Armenian Diaspora. Without a strong Armenia, the Armenian Diaspora is doomed to fall.

Lusine Abrahamyan

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